Monday, 28 July 2014

1 week down

Eleven weeks left to go.  I’ve done a little over 18 miles this week without any real ill effects so I think that’s probably got to be a success.  I have learned a few things so far though:


·         Training in the summer for an autumn marathon is harder than training in the winter for a spring marathon.  As you’re almost certainly aware, it is HOT out there at the moment and this has obvious impacts for anyone thinking of running middle to longer distances.  Plenty of fluids are a must so I’m lugging (at least) a litre of water around with me each time I go out.  The heat has an impact on my diabetes as well.  Insulin is absorbed more rapidly in the heat so it can lead to hypoglycaemic episodes if you’re not careful.  Basically, it means I can end up with too little sugar in my bloodstream and that can cause dizziness and disorientation – not good when you’re miles from home!


·         I am still embarrassingly overweight.  I tipped the scales at 199lbs this morning – now a good 12-14lbs heavier than I’d like to be.  This is bad for three main reasons.  Firstly there’s the unflattering sight of an overweight man in his (near) mid-30s lumbering about in a running vest.  No-one wants to see that.  Secondly, it’s obviously not good for your health to be overweight – avoiding some sort of heart attack while I’m running is fairly high up on my to-do list.  Finally, it’s a lot harder to run carrying a load of unnecessary weight.   I’ve resolved to fix this problem so hopefully I’ll be able to report a downward trend in my weight over the next few weeks.


·         I definitely need to pay more attention to warming up and cooling down.   It seems like an obvious thing to say but it’s something I tend to ignore for the most part.  A lot of that is down to time pressures.  Fitting in 3 runs a week around a job, family life and my commitments to the local Diabetes UK group mean I’m usually up against it so warming up is the thing that’s sacrificed.  I’ve felt a few twinges while I’ve been out this week and I’m going to be more diligent in doing some warming up and stretching before running now.  There’s no point in skipping on a warm up only to get injured is there?


This week will be my first 20 mile week for quite some time - at least 6 months if not longer.  I feel like I’m starting to get more mentally focused on what lies ahead of me which is good.  Towards the end of last year, I was running regularly and I felt a lot better physically than I had done for a while.  Hopefully I can drop a few pounds this week and string a few confidence boosting performances together over this week.


My ultimate target of a 4:30 marathon means I need an average mile pace of 10mins 18secs over 26.2 miles.  In 2012 I averaged 12min 35secs a mile so it’s a big challenge to come down by 2 minutes a mile.  At the moment I’m certainly in the right area (between 9:55 and 10:20 typically) but I’ve not done more than 10 miles for quite some time!  The next few weeks will be crucial I think.


Finally, another mention of the charity I’m running for.  Diabetes UK work tirelessly to support people of all ages with both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.  They run events across the country, offer risk assessments and support voluntary groups across the UK.  Whilst diabetes is estimated to affect around 1 in 12 people in the UK, Diabetes UK rely on donations to ensure they can continue to help people.  I’m trying to raise £1000 this year which would be enough to send two families on a Care Event weekend, allowing them to learn more about how to manage diabetes and understand the impacts it can have on family life.  If you can spare anything at all, you can donate at






Tuesday, 22 July 2014

286 to go

It feels a bit strange blogging back on Hoverboards.  I know it’s been a long time since I posted here, and whilst that hiatus was never planned, life and other things got in the way.  I do still blog at least once a month over on the Diabetes UK blog site, but I somehow never found the time to come back to where it all started.  Until now.


I’ve returned to talk about a familiar theme – running.  In just under 12 weeks, I’ll be lining up at the start of my second marathon, this time in my native Yorkshire as I put myself through the mill for 26.2 miles.  I realise that blogging about marathon training is nothing new here but I’ve returned to it for a couple of reasons.  Firstly, being able to approach this race with an element of hindsight after my endeavours in London in 2012 is helpful.  Surely I’ve learned something from that process right?  Secondly, whilst some of my battles remain the same (unsurprisingly I still have type 1 diabetes, I still struggle with my weight, I still get shin splints….) some of my circumstances have also changed.


For the time being (until December at least) I’m now using an insulin pump rather than my old regime of two separate pens for injections.  Overall I think the impact on my quality of life over the last 18 months since getting the pump has been incredibly positive and I’m hoping I can transfer that into my running.  I’m also starting from a different place physically than I was before.  Last time I hadn’t run for a long time and I was starting out with one mile runs to get up to a decent level of fitness.  This time I’ve covered just over 220 miles so far this year, having done 450 miles in 2013.


I’m also being a bit more ambitious with my target this time round.  I’d desperately love to run under4:30 (knocking an hour off my London time) when October rolls around.  I know that’s incredibly aspirational but it’s good to have it in mind while I’m training.  I know I’m not built to run quickly – my frame, weight and fragile shins mean it’s pretty much impossible that I’d ever run under 4 hours so I’m setting myself a target that is potentially in reach if everything goes well over the next 3 months.  This year is also the first year that I’ll have done both a half and a full marathon in the same year.  That’s not necessarily something incredible in itself, but for an average Joe, it’s something worth celebrating.


The title for this post relates to my training plan.  All being well I’ve got 286 miles to run between now and crossing the finishing line in York on October 12th.  By the time I get to the start line, I’ll already have covered the equivalent of 19 marathons this year (although mercifully that’ll be over 9 months!)  As before, this blog will really serve two purposes.  Firstly, it’s a great way for me to document the training journey and have something to look back on that stretches beyond logging numbers in a spreadsheet.  Secondly it’s to share the highs, lows, pains and successes that doing something like this will give you.  For every race there’s countless hours of training, and for every ‘perfect’ training run there’s an equally atrocious one that makes you wonder why you bother.  Being able to communicate those highs and lows is great motivation for me.


As I do every year, I’m raising money for Diabetes UK, with this year’s target being £1000.  Following on from my half marathon exploits earlier this year, I’ve already raised £115 which is very pleasing.  I also did the Fun Run with my 4 year old daughter at this year’s Sheffield Half Marathon.  I’ll also be doing the Great Yorkshire Run in September and (hopefully) the Sheffield 10km in October too.  Whilst I run primarily for the personal challenge/satisfaction and health benefits, I try and raise money as well – mostly because I don’t know how to do it any other way.


Anyone who knows me or has the (mis)fortune to chat to me on Twitter probably knows how important Diabetes UK is to me and millions of other people with diabetes of any type.   I’ve been fortunate to have the opportunity to get personally involved with the Diabetes UK voluntary group in Sheffield and I know first-hand how much of a difference the support of others can mean to people living with diabetes every day.  If you’d like to donate, then anything you can spare will be gratefully received.  Visit to make a donation.


Training starts tonight with a gentle 4.5 mile run.  The basic plan is to do three runs a week with one longer run included.  Anyone who followed my 2012 training will remember that there came a point when three runs a week became too much – I’m hoping that’s not the case this time.  My longest run so far this year is 13.2 miles but that’s all going to change in the next few weeks!


If you made it this far then thanks.  I appreciate that a blog about running and chronic illness isn’t the sexiest of combinations.  I’ll be interspersing it with the odd snippet of something else to try and keep it interesting.  Having lived in York for 10 years, I’m really looking forward to being able to do a marathon there so hopefully I’ll be here in 12 weeks’ time with a picture of a finisher’s medal as a reward.

You can find me lamenting my weight and extolling the virtues of bacon on twitter @broomowl

Take care