Haspa Hamburg Marathon Training Diaries Update 3: Highs And Lows

Six weeks to go until D-Day. The countdown clock has officially started and I am looking forward to the start of spring training, despite my training being hindered.

The ferocity of the cold, wintery days took me by surprise over the past few months. Does anyone else remember winter ever being this cold? A month ago, I went out for a long, slow run. It was, as like any other winter weekend, freezing cold. I was dressed in my winter running gear; a pink, snuggly hat, thick gloves, running tights and a jacket layered over a t-shirt, layered over a long-sleeved top. I was ready. Mid-run, I realised my hands were starting to feel cold, despite the gloves. Moving my fingers became difficult as they felt so numb. To cut a long story short, when I arrived home, I spent half an hour outside, attempting to warm up my hands, as I couldn't unlock the front door. Winter training is mentally and physically hard!


In my quest to find alternatives to gels,  I've been experimenting with a number of different foods during my Saturday morning LSRs. Peanut butter wraps were my first experimentation but I found it difficult to chew on solid food whilst running. My mind kept telling me to chew and run, but my legs kept telling me no! It was a bit like trying to rub your stomach with one hand and patting your head with the other! 

Whitworth Shots worked a treat on the LSRs. The size of the shots fit well in my training belt and my FitBelt, which I'll be wearing on race day. Normally, when I'm not running (aka #thelycralife ), I find dried fruit too sweet, but when I'm running I find my taste buds are completely different. Does anyone else find that too? I'd definitely recommend you to try them out as an alternative to gels, but as with anything running-related, try it before your race day so that there's nothing new on D-Day.

Whole bananas worked for me in terms of the energy boost, but again, like the peanut butter wraps, I found it hard to eat solid food whilst running. I mashed a banana and put it in a bag, but it browned very quickly and tasted too sweet. 

A photo posted by Mara (@mara_clickthat) on

Hold your horses and hear me out! Ella's Kitchen pouches are baby food but ultimately that's the same as mashing up a banana at home. The banana, banana pouch is quite hard to find in shops, but when I eventually found them, I bought as many as I could take with me! For my half marathon dress rehearsal last weekend, I used the banana and apple pouches and, oh my goodness, it unleashed a new bout of energy. Besides incurring a minor injury (and being so late for the start), the half marathon was wonderful. Hilly, yes (my gosh, the hills....) but I managed to get a new sub 2hour PB!  

My favourite gel alternative has got to be the Hi Pr
o Peanut butter energy balls I made. Not much chewing involved and they were so addictive!

A photo posted by Mara (@mara_clickthat) on


Throughout the past 3 weeks, I haven't done a lot of running. A pain across my left knee developed making it a real struggle to run or do any high -impact activity. After I rested and iced it regularly, the pain disappeared and I felt ready to run the half marathon last weekend. Unfortunately, around 15-16km into the race, I felt my right knee jerk outwards with the most excruciating pain. The pain shortly went away and I felt I was able to complete the race. When I finished and collected my medal, I realised I was struggling to walk. My goodness, the pain was unbelievable! I think people walking by me must have thought I was slightly tipsy, or even drunk. It was impossibly hard to walk up the stairs at my tube station, and walking down the stairs at home was horribly hard. At work, the next day, walking up and down six flights of stairs was the hardest thing to do. 

Luckily, I had booked a physio appointment at The Running Works when the pain in my left knee happened. Guess, what? Turns out I have the classic Runner's Knee in my right knee. (Sorry, I know that might be a slight anti-climax regarding my injury). My follow-up appointment is this week, and fingers crossed, all will be good. I think it will be as the pain has subsided but, I'll leave it to the professionals! 

It is quite frustrating though. 3 weeks without significant running, has meant that I am behind my training plan. By now I should have completed at least a 32km run. After my physio appointment on Tuesday, I am really going to have to step it up and work even harder. This will be the kick up my derriere. 

ENDING on a happier note

My new trainers have arrived! I've racked up plenty of miles in both my Mizuno Inspire 10s, meaning the time has come for me to retire both pairs. I have loved running in them so much, I can't bear to part with them. They have a lot of memories but alas, these things happen. My new trainers are by Mizuno and are the Wave Paradox from Spring 2015. "So last year" I hear you say. True, true, but I'm a size 8.5 in running trainers and finding suitable trainers in my size can be a mission. These trainers feel a lot more snug and supportive than the Inspire 10s. My overpronating feet are going to feel like they are in a dream world when I run in them. The timing of these trainers' arrival has never been better! Can we also quickly take a moment to fall in love with the design. 

All in all, there's been highs and lows. Now I need to push myself. How is your marathon training?

Don't forget, you can catch up with update one and update two.  

Mara xxx

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