Brighton Marathon 2024

By Ian Lay Join Me

My Activity Tracking


I'm fundraising for the future of hospitality.

I'm raising money for The Burnt Chef Project, an organisation set up to tackle mental health stigma in the hospitality industry. 

I’ve spent the majority of my working life in the hospitality industry experiencing the highs and the lows. I’ve loved and I’ve lost throughout this time and suffered myself from mental health issues. 

Raising money for the Burnt Chef Project will allow them to continue doing what they doing - mental health training, awesome merchandise, removing stigma and operating a helpline (plus much more). 

Running is a great stress relief for me (even before and after manic shifts) and I personally know that your donations can give a real boost to my training and performance. 

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My Updates

Marathon Day

Monday 8th Apr
I did it.  I bloody did.

I'm tempted to leave the blog as that but so much happened yesterday.  I know I promised to blog after every run, but I was truly physically and mentally exhausted that I had to leave it to today.

My knees are unbelievably sore today, and I am in pain, struggling to walk, struggling to digest food and struggling to do much to be honest.  But I fucking did it.

I have never enjoyed torture so much, and believe me when I say, it was torture.  You know my aversion to hills, and there were plenty of them, but I am pleased to announce I ran / plodded up every single one.  About from about four minutes I actually ran / plodded the whole route.  There were times were I just hit a wall and had to walk for a minute or two.

I am sunburnt as well.  Who would've thought that you can get such horrific sunburn at the start of April.  Its ridiculous.  What's more ridiculous is that I didn't even realise until after, and I was wearing a headband, so have a bloody crazy white stripe across my head.  

On top of being sunburnt, I have possibly the worst arm pit chafe known to man.  Lifting my arms is just not going to happen for a while.

My phone died towards the end, and the signal was shit, so people couldn't track me very well.  To the point that at one time, someone messaged to see if I had dropped out.  I had not.  It also meant my strava didn't record the entire marathon, but they have accepted it as a marathon.

I was dehydrated, being a cheeky sod getting two bottles of water at some of the water points.  I doubt I would've got around if I hadn't been able to drink so much water and get through far too many jelly babies.  Intermingled with haribo being handed out by lovely spectators and oranges.  Man I love sugar.  And I also told a lot of people I lopve them when they were giving me sugar and water.

I hit the wall at points and I struggled.  I have never struggled so much in my life and running whilst trying to hold back tears is fucking difficult.  Like I said it was torture.

I know I've mentioned about miles getting longer before, but it seemed yesterday, especially after mile 17, that each mile was a marathon in itself.  I'm convinced they weren't real miles and the organisers were putting them further apart just to fuck with the runners, but the maps prove me wrong.

I was pissed off at the end, as I hadn't reached my time.  I wanted between 5 hours and 5:30 and I missed it.  But after a few minutes, I realised that didn't matter.  I had just done a marathon in blazing heat, on roads worse than the trails I had trained on, up and down hills.  Time didn't matter (and I beat my dad's time by 28 seconds).

But ...

I did it, and although I wouldn't do the Brighton Marathon again, I would run again (maybe not for a short while though).  

The support from the crowds.  Seeing my family cheering me on.  Having my dear friends handing me sweets and sending me such beautiful messages throughout.  They were messages of encouragement and support that helped not just to push through the wall, but fucking demolition that wall.

I could've trained for another year, and the result would've been the same.  It was these supporters that made my marathon happen.  Made me get to the end.

The scenery at times was breathtaking, running along the coast and seeing the expanse of Brighton laid out ahead of you.  The energy of my fellow runners, smiling at you, shouting words of support.  Seeing others trying there best and I was cheering them on as well.

I should point out that the two pints after were also very very welcome.  I was meant to have a kebab as well, but struggled to eat anything as I was on such a major come down, so the kebab is actually my breakfast - somethings will never change.

It was torture.  But it was fucking incredible.

I am so proud of myself for getting through it.  I am so honoured to have been wearing my Burnt Chef running vest and raising so much money for them (£1650 at the time of writing).  I am so pleased with the journey I have been on.  And this whole 'adventure,' will stay with me for the rest of my life.

Thank you to everyone.  Genuinely.  Thank you.

Oh and 5:37:32 - Fucking get in!!!

4th April - My Way

Thursday 4th Apr
And there we have it ladies and gents, I have finally finished the physical training for the Brighton Marathon 2024.  It has been long, it has had its ups and downs and I finished it today with my shortest run to date.

I did slightly change my music today as I knew this was the last one and I thought that 'My Way,' was the perfect song to to start the final run.  I know it doesn't have the upbeat that I am so used to running to, but it just felt right.  I have taken some advice along the way, but ultimately, I have trained my way and I will complete this bastard marathon - my way.  

My muscles are still tight which is slightly worrying for Sunday, but I am hoping that two days of rest will help.  Along with carbs.  So many carbs.

Basically I have worked out that so much of the food that I love is full of carbs and I am going to make the most of it.  Pasta, rice, bread, potatoes.  Bring them the fuck on.  I cannot wait.  

As there is only one blog left after today (the big finale) I just want to take a moment to look at what the hell has gone on over the past 14 weeks.  In total I have run over 240 miles (that's me running further than from my house to my dad's house in Cornwall).  It has been done over 46 hours and 50 minutes (an average work week in hospitality) over 43 runs.  It has had its ups and downs and I have learnt so much.  Learnt about exercise and fitness (which I mostly ignore, but I have learnt about it), myself and mental health.

Running has certainly helped my mental health over the past few months.  It has been a stressful time at points and getting out running has either allowed my mind to go wild, and at other times it has just blocked the real world for a short time, and sometimes that is all that is needed.

I've discovered I can actually do something I was scared of before.  This again was a massive boost to me.

I've realised I have friends.  I have people that love me.  I have started to love myself and my abilities.  I have amazingly inspired people.  I never truly realised this before, and the fact that I am at that point in my life, learning that I am special and I can achieve it so fucking magnificent.  Its unbelievably incredible and ...


The messages I have received whilst going this journey has touched my heart and will remain with me forever.  

And all along the way I have raised £900 (at the point of writing) for an awesome organisation that has literally supported me at every point.  Thank you Burnt Chef Project.

Thank you to everyone that has sponsored me and sent me messages of support.  Thank you to my running expert, my running influencer, the runners that gave me a real smile when passing, my personal cheerleader and lift.  Thank you all so much.

I'm going to go now, as I'm getting emotional just writing this.  


2nd April - Bad Habits

Tuesday 2nd Apr
I cannot believe I am writing this, but I have actually completed my penultimate run.  One more and then its the big day.  I was going to add another run in yesterday, but the newsletter came through and said all I had to do was a 30 minute run and a 22 minute run.

Penultimate run and I have finally taken some advice from the professionals.  Yes it was because I was feeling lazy, but still I listened and adhered to the experts.  

It was also telling me I didn't have to slog it out (unlike on Sunday) so it was a win win.

I had an awesome pace, which I know I won't be keeping up during the marathon as it would literally kill me before halfway if I kept that pace, but it was 'fun.'

I say fun, because I actually don't know how to describe it.  It was short (brilliant), it was quick (amazing), it was wet (tolerable) and it was secluded (fucking marvellous).  Literally didn't pace a single person - mainly because no-one else is stupid enough to go out in this weather.

It was also quite cool being able to go for a run after work without needing the headtorch.  If only it had been that way the whole time and I would've actually trained better (maybe).  It was so exciting that I didn't even procrastinate - anything less than half an hour doesn't count anymore.

It was also the first outing of my marathon meggings (men's leggings) and they are colourful.  Seriously, you won't be able to miss my sexy legs when I'm out plodding the streets of Brighton.  Much better than my pasty white legs, which were threatening to make an appearance.

I know I've had my ups and downs on this journey, but I am actually proud of myself for what I have achieved along this journey.  But now is not the time to get emotional.  Now is the time to celebrate one more training run to go and my beautiful meggings.

30th March - Master of the House

Saturday 30th Mar
I did it.  I got to the final week of marathon training and it just so happened to be a long run.  I say long, but go back a month or so and that was the average run for me.  So to now call it a long run, is fucking crazy.  To know that my final three runs over the week are going to be tiny in comparison with the mileage I've put in.

The last time I will plod along seeing some of the sites.  The last time I swear because people are in my wild wee spots.  The last time I push myself so much in training and to be honest with you ... IT WAS BLOODY AWESOME!!!!

After God knows how many weeks (genuinely I have lost count - I found out at one point but then forgot again, and seriously counting them again is just something I cannot be bothered to do,) I was acknowledged by people.  Not just people getting out of the way for me - we all know that they just don't.  But acknowledged by runners.  Other people that think that Easter Saturday should be spent working up a sweat and doing this silly little thing called running.

For a change though, they were sympathy smiles, they were genuine actual 'you're a fellow runner' smiles.  And I got four of the fuckers.  Not just that one of them even waved at me.  Whether that was because I looked awesome in my 90's style headband, or because I looked like a fucking runner.  I was part of their community today.  And it was great.  It was a real boost.

Part of this whole madness, was to try and achieve something.  Yes running a marathon is an achievement in itself, but I also wanted to raise funds for The Burnt Chef Project.  I empathise so much with the work that they do and they actively encourage fellowship and community, and today it feels like I was accepted into an illustrious community or crazy folk like myself.

There are three more runs - possibly only two depending on whether I can be arsed tomorrow / if the lamb I am cooking goes through me the way it normally does - its Easter, its tradition, shut up.  

So close to this actually happening and in one sense I am glad to have got this far, but in a very strange bewildering way, I am slightly upset that this journey is almost at an end.  


Not quite, but almost.


29th March - I Wanna Be The Only One

Friday 29th Mar
I had wanted to run a few times this week, but I truly was not in the right physical or mental frame to do so.  Firstly I was very very very drunk on Monday at the Love Hospitality awards (hosted by The Burnt Chef Project - so obviously I went) and then on Tuesday, I could hardly stand up.  For some reason I just had an absolutely banging headache throughout the day.  I wonder why?!?!

But then I realised I'm not a teenager and the physical hangover don't go by three o'clock the following day it takes several days to recover.  And my God I needed to recover.

But then I managed to get out today.  Gone are the days of working on Good Friday.  Gone is the bygone era of eating too much and relaxing with family.  Hello and welcome to actually having to exert energy.  Thanks!  Thank you so bloody much.  It didn't help that my body clock thought I had work and decided to wake me up stupidly early.  But don't you worry too much I had the obligatory procrastination (about three hours today - I'm really rather proud).

The great thing about procrastination is that my washing up is done and the kitchen is spotless!

I could tell in myself that I had had a few days off running as my muscles were exceptionally tight at the start of the run, and it took a long time for them to start relaxing and warming up.  Obviously I didn't do a warm-up.  They take even more time and I just don't know what the fuck I am doing with them.  Plus, I look like enough of a dick when I'm running, I'm not going to make myself look even more ridiculous by trying to stretch and do actual real life proper exercise.  No Way.

Once I had warmed up it wasn't too bad.  Not my best, but 2.5km longer than I had planned (need to stick to the plan) and at points it was a proper slip and slide after the recent heavy downpours / storms.  Plus there weren't many people out, which means no-one was there to piss me off and get in my way.  Wooooooooo!!!!!!!

It dawned on me whilst I was running however, that I have made it part of my life.  It is a chore having to do it, but a nice chore (if there is such a thing??)  I think this is why I am not getting a runner's high after my runs.  And losing that high is actually making me lose a bit of motivation.  I need to get it back as I only have four more runs before the big day.  

I know that on the day I'll be fine because you feed off everyone's energy (plus I have jelly babies and boiled eggs handed to me throughout plus the most cheesy playlist to put on during the final 10km).  But up until then, it is just part of my life and I need to try and sort that out.  My body works better with some anticipation and nerves and excitement (and I know I shouldn't use the word 'and' like that).  

Maybe another good sleep before tomorrow's run will help.  Maybe knowing that tomorrow is my final long run and it isn't even that long.  Not compared with some of the stupid distances I've lugged my ass around over the past four months.

Maybe.. Just maybe.

We will see. 

24th March - Don't Stop Believin'

Sunday 24th Mar
So knowing I had to get another run in this week, I did something known as a 'Recovery Run.'  Beforehand my running expert and running influencer were both messaging me about it and I'm pretty sure they've mentioned these things before, however, its never sunk in.

I think this is because in my mind - which as you know is just amazing - the words running and recovery do not fit into the same sentence.  And if there is such a thing as a recovery run, then why is there not such things as: recovery sleeps, recovery sits, recovery lie downs, recovery walk to the pubs or recovery curl up in the corner cryings.  I genuinely did not think they existed in real life, but they do and they're quite a big and important thing in the running community.

Who knew?

My muscles were tight after yesterday's run and I wasn't overly looking to put more strain on them, but again, in the running community this is what you do.  

The point of the recovery run is to put your ego aside (what ego, I hear you say) and aim for short and slow.  In another context I've experienced short and slow before, this was much more agreeable and with much less pain on my knees.  If I had actually listened, I'm pretty sure I would have done them previously.

Despite it being slow and short, my pace was actually better than some of my other runs and easier than some of the runs.  It was almost a win win situation.  Plus, for the first time other runners actually smiled at me when they passed me.  It wasn't the kind of smile which reads as 'you poor sod trying to lug your ass about,' but a smile that said, 'respect - you're a runner.'  This part was thrilling.

It was also the first outing of my marathon vest.  I was saving it until the marathon, but again was advised to wear it on a run, to make sure it firstly fitted and to also ensure that I still had nipples left afterwards.  I can assure all of you, I have nipples and it fits (beautifully).

Today was another first for me - I'm pretty sure that with only two weeks to go I shouldn't be doing new things - as I normally just walk about as my warm down.  I threw in some stretches today as well.  I don't know how effective they were, or if I was even doing them properly, but what does it matter.  I tried (half-heartedly).

I still don't do proper warm ups.  I still don't know how to.  I probably won't know before the actually marathon, but hey ho.  I've gone this far without them, and if its not broke why fix it (oh yeah because it could sodding break me - bugger).

Two weeks until the big day, but on the plus side, less than two weeks until carbs, carbs and more carbs.  Fucking bring that shit on.

23rd March - Scandalous

Saturday 23rd Mar
So there we have it, my last proper long run during the training period, and I needed that run.  I am sore now, well not sore, more just tight, but the demotivational run from the other day has been pushed away by today.  

Today also took me over the 100km mark for the month!!  Just madness.

This time in two weeks, I'll be carb loading in Brighton, where I have to really focus on whether I go for Italian carbs (pasta) or Chinese carbs (rice)?  Its a tough decision.  But I know that it is one I will put my whole heart into and be happy with the outcome.  And realistically, if I can't decide then I'm going to do both.

But anyway, today's run.  I had procrastinated for about three hours before I was ready to leave, when, it decided to piss down.  Ten minutes later, the skies were clear and I was off.  My mind was all over the place and it was an actual delight to just put one foot in front of the other and rediscover that lost bit of my mind.

I even saw some random animal around the weir.  Absolutely no idea what it was.  Black, fluffy, scurrying around.  Not a rat, beaver, otter, stoat or weasel, so answers on a postcard please.  But then it happened.

Out of nowhere it didn't just start to piss down, it started to hail.  I mean seriously hail.  Running in the rain is bad enough, but when you have the ammo of the Gods shot into your face, it is not a delight.  Plus it meant that every other person that was out, started taking cover.

This cover was where I was going to go for a wild wee.  That's not possible when everyone is around.  But it was during this time, that I thought to myself, that it would be grand idea, to try a new route.  The new route allowed me to actually relive myself (running is so much easier on an empty bladder) and it was quite pleasant.

It was quite pleasant running on tarmac, rather than the usual trails and something I need to practice on.  However, when dickhead did completely cover me with water as he drove through a puddle.  I'm sure he heard exactly what I called him afterwards, and if he didn't then he should've used his rear view mirror to see the hand gesture directed at him.

Despite training for far too long, I still don't know what is powering me and what is getting me through all of this.  I did eat chocolate beforehand, and boiled eggs, but my mind was freer.  Maybe its the fact that the only time I am running further than this distance is in two weeks and I have eight hours to get around the course (I will be slightly annoyed if it takes me that long - as will everyone that comes to watch).

Two weeks, that's all that is left and now I am on short 'easy' runs to just keep the body moving.  When I say short, its not like when I started struggling with a 5k - though they will feature (heavily) but I'll barely do anything above 10km.  Which is still crazy that I consider 10k short.

What has happened to me?  Like seriously, this is happening and I am going to do it.  Ian.  Running.  Same sentence.  Apparently so!

20th March - Superstar

Wednesday 20th Mar
To be honest, that was completely demoralising.  It shouldn't have been as I am still technically recovering from my long run at the weekend, but nonetheless, I am demoralised.

I have a feeling it was one of my slowest paces on record which takes me back to being a bona fide plodder.

I knew it wasn't going to be the best of runs, but seriously?!?!

Usually after the procrastination, I can get myself into some sort of running frame of mind, but tonight (having got home after 12.5 hours of working and commuting) it was a slog.  I managed to get out eventually, but within 1km I was already regretting not parking my ass on the sofa.  

Things didn't really improve.

The route I took was an extension of one I normally take, but I haven't done part of it in the dark before and when I say the trail kept getting longer and longer, and just would not get to the bloody end, I am not kidding.  In the day, I'm sure its a lot shorter, but tonight was unbelievable.

Then on the way back I realised that I could have actual made a 5km run end at the pub.  This may have helped with the whole 'I genuinely don't want to be out running / plodding' mentality.  But then I remembered, I didn't have my wallet, I would still have to make my way home, I needed to eat, but more importantly I was wearing lycra legging.  No-one in their right mind should enter a pub in lycra leggings, especially when its your local.  


So I just had to plod the rest of the way home.  Before I checked my strava and plodded for an extra 150m so that I could hit the 6km mark, I was pleased with the fact that I had gone out, but then I saw my average pace.

I think this is what has knocked me.  To be fair, if I can maintain the pace in the marathon, I will hit the 5:15 target, but it just felt too slow.  I've amazingly put in a lot of work for that and although 5:15 is a great marathon time, it just feels that my body and mind is giving up at the final hurdle.

There's not long left.  In one sense, it means this torture is over soon, but in another sense I could do with another few weeks, just to make sure in my mind I can get round the whole course.

Oh well, I have officially started week 12 aka week 'please let this be over.'

16th March - S Club Party

Saturday 16th Mar
That was long and hard and not in the fun sexy way.  I just ran 32km - 20 miles for those that prefer the imperial measurements (which is actually preferable).  I managed to drag my ass through and actually completed my longest run yet and on a positive note, I don't have to do another run of that length until the actual day.  This if absolute bloody music to my ears.  It also allows me time to focus on my running diet.  Currently, with what I am eating, I get pissed on three pints (if anyone is offering, then yes I am a cheap date, but as evidenced from this blog ... I go the distance).

Currently, I am struggling to stand up let alone move.  All I want to do is sit on the sofa, but instead I have to be at my computer blogging.  Damned telling you all about my running experiences.

Yes it was long and hard, but it was also physically and mentally draining and also quite frustrating.  I knew it was going to be difficult, but didn't realise how difficult it was going to be.

I had planned my route for the long run, but fucked up somewhere along the way. Meaning that when I should be 1.25km away from my place, I still had another 4km to go.  This wasn't just demoralising, but it was just pure shit.  Literally, the last 2km saw me singing the words to Six, to regulate my breathing and telling myself - out loud - that I was able to fucking do this, and calling myself a c*nt and to move my ass.  To be fair that part worked because I managed to end the run.  However, I do apologise to anyone that heard my singing and obscenities.

Mentally, I knew I was doing my longest run yet, and I thought I had prepared myself, but I was wrong.  Even before I got half way I started struggling.  It was beautiful to get messages from two friends encouraging me on.  I don't know how I am going to prepare myself for the actual day, but I need to find a way and practice.  I
 wish I had focussed more at my GCSE maths, as the only way I was getting through this bastard was breaking down each section into manageable distances.  I knew I could do 10km, so I just had to focus on that, though doing maths whilst running is not something I would recommend.

As for the frustrations, there were two major factors.

Firstly, Surrey / West Byfleet and the surrounding area parents are complete dicks.  I'm glad that you are taking out your little children, and encourage them to get fresh air and exercise, but when little Penelope Bingworth-Brown the Third is throwing a temper tantrum in the middle of the footpath, blocking the whole damned path with her sparkly rainbow unicorn push bike.  Just move to one side for God's sake.  Its not hard, and you may find that people actually appreciate it - you absolute bunch of fucking plums.

Then you had similar with actual grown adults enjoying the fact that the M25 was closed, so blocking the pavement, pushing people into on coming traffic so you can take a sodding picture.  Sorry but its a fucking road, get over yourselves, and move out the fucking way.  They are the ones that I genuinely do not apologise to for swearing and being a dick towards.  And it is because of them, that I am punishing you with a picture of my pasty white legs!

Generally, I am not that popular, but today it seemed everyone wanted to contact me, whilst I was running.  Two of them wished me luck and pushed me on - Thank you - the other was for a general chat or a pint.  I'm sorry guys, but when you are my size, my weight and with my absolute inability to exercise, then you are not getting my attention.  Please send your messages at a more appropriate time, because as much as I like hearing from you - it was bloody annoying. (I still love you)

It was difficult, but I need to look at the bigger picture.  Realistically I start dropping down with my miles now, which is beyond fantastic.  I also got a £300 donation, which is not just amazing, but absolutely fucking beautifully cock suckingly amazing (thank you) and I did it.  I did it in a great time (sub 4hours) and the best 30km I have ever run.

Its not long now until the big day   (22 days to be precise - I think), and all I have to do is find the energy to do another 6.2 miles.  Bring on the jelly babies, and the cider / mimosa's at the end.

Yes  it was difficult (as are so many things), but taking it one step at a time - like I did and it we got there.

14th March - Can't Get You Out Of My Head

Thursday 14th Mar
I knew I had to run tonight.  I almost didn't but luckily plans fell through and I was able to get out of the door.

This is going to be a short post, a bit like the run.  

Ultimately, I aimed for a very short run (5km) and ended up doing 6km.  My pace was similar to all my night runs and I know I could've gone further, but I'm tired, and wad wanting to watch The Apprentice.

I didn't fuel properly as out of chocolate - or at least I thought I was, until half way around the run when I remembered I keep an emergency supply in the car.  Bugger.

Realistically it was a run.  It hasn't made me feel better, it was just plain.

Though it was raining at the start but then stopped and warmed up and made me sweat even more than usual!!!  Oh well, not long now until this is over and just one more long long crazy fucking distance run before that.

The end is in sight.

12th March - Sorry

Tuesday 12th Mar
I was nervous about that run.   Actually no, I was anxious about it.  Since I started this whole training thing, I have been consistent and getting out a few times week, but last week I only went out once, as I was physically and mentally too tired to drag my ass around Surrey.  I was also hungover on two of the days so they definitely weren't going to see me running.

I knew I had to run today.  I knew I had to get back into it, as I have less than a month to go and cannot afford to lose all the hard work I have put in.  

I had no idea how today was going to go.  I was still tired and wanting to just slump on the sofa, but I knew I had to get out the door.  It was slow, possibly one of the slowest runs I have done.  But I don't overly care about that.  I knew deep down that it would be slow and if I thought I could go faster, I would've been deluding myself.

But then when I was out something absolutely magical happened.  My 'I'll just go for a 5km run to get back into it,' turned into a 'fuck it I'm quite enjoying this, lets do 10km.'

And I did.  I did 10km.

But the question is ... when in this madness did 10km turn into one of my short runs?  At what point did I think running is good for you?  What has happened to me???  Seriously where is the cider and diet coke swilling, pub crawling, sofa slumping Ian?  Oh Friday night, that's where he was!

I genuinely am proud of what I have accomplished so far, and how far I have come, and tonight's run, despite the pace was quite frankly AWESOME!!!

Though I feel we need to add some more rules to those previously mentioned (see earlier blogs).  And they are:

1)  All puddles are to be removed before people run in the dark, they are annoying and just get it the bloody way.  I want to run, not do a sodding Olympic long jump!

2)  If you are out in the dark, where lights.  You scare the shit out of me when you are just walking along in flip flops on a dark canal path.  Fucking plums!

3)  Gates and stiles are to be removed from all pathways.  I'm pretty sure it was navigating the two gates and stile (twice) that made my time so slow this evening - nothing to do with me!!

4)  Days are to be made longer with immediate effect so I can see where the Hell I am going.

There we are.  The running world is now sorted.  Next stop Prime Minister.  Oh wait no.  That would be shit.  Let's just try and enjoy my next run as much as I enjoyed this one.

Week 11 of training has started and I am ready for it!

5th March - Day and Night

Tuesday 5th Mar
I was really looking forward to this evening's run.  Knowing I have just over a month until the big day, but then it happened.

I had got myself pumped during the day, knowing that I was going to do a gentle 8km, before dinner and a new series on Sky.  Running with my new trainers without the threat of puddles.  But then totally forgot to put the oven on before I left for the run and struggled to hit 5km.

This was actually worse than when I first started my training.  I was slower and my body was not allowing me to actually do a gentle plod.  In one sense I think I may have started too quickly (I'm not going to check my times in case I am totally deluded) but it was hard.

I'm not sure if its the come down of my long run at the weekend - last time I ran that far I didn't train for another two weeks, and last time I ran further I didn't run for another nine months.  It may have been today's diet, yes I carbed up at lunch, with a bloody delicious carbonara and salad, and have got through a multipack of wispas in the last 24 hours.  But I genuinely could not go any further.

Its St Piran's Day, so was quite disappointed not to pre-run fuel on pasty (not a single pasty today because in London they don't sell them before 8am - even in the West Cornwall Pasty Shop - fucking rude).

Look, I could sit here beating myself up about not going as far as I wanted, or as fast as I wanted.  And part of my mind is telling me that this evening's plod was truly shit and utterly pointless.  But at the same time, I managed to get out for a run and the fact that I did it says a lot.

I know I should look at the positives, and have commented / ranted about the difficulties of training before, but right now, it has brought back the nerves that I need to do over 8 times that distance in just over a month and made me question my ability.  I'm not saying this for sympathy, just actual realisation of the utter stress I am putting myself under to complete a marathon.

But there is always next time, which may be better, or may not.  

The main thing is ... I went for a run.

2nd March - Murder on the Dance Floor

Saturday 2nd Mar
There comes a time in every man's life (ignore the rest of the quote), and that time was today.

Today marks seven years since we said a final farewell to my mum.  I don't remember much from that day, as I was fairly numb on the inside, but I do remember 'Camborne Hill,' being sung by a choir and the entire church being packed to the rafter.

Although I have said that I am doing this marathon for me, I have also agreed with myself that I will always run on poignant days.  Today was one of those days, but rather than looking at the negatives, I chose to look at the positives.  Making my mum proud.

I managed to get some new running shoes today (thank you to Fitstuff in Guildford and apologies for how uneducated I am when it comes to plodding along) and despite ignoring some expert advice I then wore them whilst running 25km.  They were so beautiful when I started the run, but for some reason, they are now brown with mud.

It was a long run.  As you know my brain normally goes all over the place when I'm running, but I have no clue what I was thinking about today.  It was also enjoyable (I never thought I would say that on a long run), but the pain came after.  My thighs are tighter than a tight thing (yes I rehydrated with my special spend of apple juice), its certainly talcum powder season (if you know you know) and I even managed to get chafing on my armpits.  However, I did manage despite all of this manage to get a personal best on my half marathon time!  

I also felt like a proper runner.  There was bounce in my step and I was wearing my bumbag and even an 80's style headband.  I was proper rocking the whole 'I know what I'm doing look'.

I started off slow (of it felt slow) but maintained quite a steady pace and was shocked when I realised I had achieved a PB!!

I'm not sure if it was because of the amazing new shoes, or the new running diet - I have now added boiled eggs to the pre-run and nibble on jelly babies as I plod along.  I had forgotten how incredible they taste!  Or was it the fact that I actually (despite not really knowing how to) paced myself and was happy with my performance?

Who knows and quite frankly who the fuck cares? I did a long run which I genuinely didn't think I would be able to do.

Something I did realise today though, was that running after its been raining is difficult in daylight.  Surrey want to charge me extortionate rates of council tax (even with my 25% discount), but can't maintain their footpaths or pavements.  Come the fuck on.  The puddles were ridiculous.  To the point that I had to change course at one point because the river had burst its banks (this was at Brooklands the home of racing, though I doubt I would've qualified) and I was sliding all over the place trying to avoid them - I failed at that part.  At least in the dark you consciously know you are going to hit a puddle or two, but when you can see them (and not see the bottom) it becomes a bit of a ball ache.

I don't know how I am going to feel tomorrow (excluding the hangover), but I am so pleased with today's performance and from the run, along with it being a special day, I am pleased to announce officially that I will be aiming to complete the Brighton Marathon in less than five and a half hours, but actually aiming for five and a quarter hours.

If I succeed in this, then I will be fucking chuffed, if not then it doesn't matter as its still a god damned marathon that I will be completing.

My next long run will be interesting, but I am pleased with today and over the moon that week I've lost count is over.

29th February - Want To Want Me

Thursday 29th Feb
I have wet feet.  In one sense I'm tempted to leave the blog at that, but this evening there is sooooo much more to say.

No longer am I just training for a marathon tonight (having done another long ass day at work) but I am now a multi talented athlete.  Almost Adonis.  Almost.  A little way to go.  But let's not focus on that.  Tonight saw me running, dancing, long jump, hurdle, dive and do acrobatics all within the space of just over an hour and 10km.

I was glad that it had stopped raining, but the ground was awful.  Literally if could avoid a drought this summer if we collected all of the water that was on the paths.  I was running at a surprisingly good pace for a night run in the dark with a fading headtorch (I still haven't plugged it in to charge), but then trying to long jump over some puddles, high jump over some of the lose branches (and then doing dives and acrobatics, when I didn't get jump high enough, and throw in a bit of dance as I quick stepped around anything else that got in my way.

It was fun.  

Though despite having done this for far too many weeks, I still need to prep myself properly.  Yes I had the usual weekly allowance of chocolate before the run, but I need to do a warm up - as opposed to walking an extra mile to get to the train because of some shit happening at Charing Cross.  I need to dress appropriately, not just quickly get changed from work and head out of the door.  Despite never wearing running socks in everyday life, unless I'm actually running, they do (I found out this evening) definitely give extra support to your ankles and and extra thickness to keep your feet dry.  I also need to remember what the hell I am doing.

I actually left the house without my water bottle.  I have never run without a water bottle in my hand, or knowing where a water stop is.  Apparently staying hydrated whilst running is essential.  But I stupidly left without it and only realised about 2-3km in and by that point I sure as Hell was not going to turn around and start all over again.

Tonight's run already meant I had to watch The Apprentice (best comedy show in the world) on catch up and eat dinner at stupid o'clock at night!  But despite all of that, I really enjoyed the run.

To add to that, as soon as logged my run on Strava, it turns out that during February I completed over 100km.  Thankfully its a leap year and a half marathon certainly helped, but I genuinely didn't think I would achieve that with my couple of not so productive weeks.

I feel it will only be one more run this week and I am going to make it count!

26th February - Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

Tuesday 27th Feb
Well the girls may wanna have fun.  I wouldn't mind having fun either, but the priority at the moment is finding the time to do anything.  Socialising takes time, work takes time, running takes time, commuting takes time, sleeping takes time and shopping takes time (thus my cupboard are emptier than Mother Hubbard's - google it if you don't know the reference.)

But I did manage to squeeze in a run after work.  When I say after work its after the commute home having woken up at 6am to go to work.  It was just under 9km and the time wasn't great, but the sense of accomplishment after was.

Running in the dark really isn't the easiest, especially after the rain.  But after a few slips in the mud, which I genuinely thought was the dry patch, I got into the swing of it and did the run I wanted to do.

Although it isn't the easiest running in the dark the wildlife you encounter is phenomenal and totally makes the run worth while.  Foxes, rabbits and deer are all bloody quick animals which scarper away from me as I get close (apart from one deer that just stayed lying down by the footpath watching me go along thinking questioning my sanity) but their eyes gleaming back at you in the reflection of the headtorch is almost magical.

I did almost shit myself up at one point when I saw a reflection on the ground not moving, thinking it was going to be a killer frog just waiting to pounce, but no it was an actual reflector which had fallen off someone's bike.  I felt like a dick at that point.

Though the actual shocking part of the run was that, not only was I actually running, I ran to the pub.  I have never done such a thing before.  Walk to the pub - yes, get a lift to the pub - yes, drive to the pub (and not drink or leave the car) - yes, but run to the pub.  That has to be a first.

The soul crushing part however, was the whole running passed the pub.  Not stopping for a cheeky pint and a catch up with friends, but actually running passed.  

What the actual fuck has happened to me.  This is not the lazy ass, cider / diet coke swilling Ian.  This is the whole having to make actual adult choices Ian.  The one that has to sometimes accept that there are not enough hours in the day and just get out there and do something.

Bugger me!

I'm not sure how much of a fan I am of this Ian, but he will do at the moment and to be fair its only going to happen for another six weeks.

24th February - Habit

Saturday 24th Feb
So I realise how quiet I have been on blogging recently.  This is partly because I haven't run that much and also because I have been so tired.  But I don't have long left until the actual marathon and its time to start pushing myself again (without over doing it).

I did do a run on Tuesday evening, but I didn't blog, as I was absolutely knackered and more importantly I was bloody starving and needed to eat.

Monday saw me start a new job in London, which means I am now getting up at about 6am.  Well actually I'm getting up after that but my alarms (of which I set about five) start going off at 6am and generally I don't get home until about half seven in the evening, so trying to run during the week is difficult.  Yes I could do some evening runs, but if you've read any of this blog, you will realise that I have every excuse under the sun not to run in dark.

But ultimately, this week the main excuse is ... I couldn't be arsed.

However, and please realise I'm off to the pub for a ten hour shift in a minute, I did manage to get a 10km run in this morning.  Due to time constraints I actually didn't have time to procrastinate and to be honest I didn't even have time for my usual pre-run nourishment.

Well I did have time, I just completely forgot, because what twat gets up at 7am on a Saturday morning and heads straight out the door to go for a run?  Oh that twat would be me.

I was only planning on doing a short 5-8km run as I'm out of practice and didn't want to injure myself (or that's what I'm telling myself despite knowing that the aim was because I didn't want to run further) but ended up doing 10km.  It was almost only 9.6, but as I got back I realised the distance and managed to make up the final 400 metres by running up and down my drive.  If any of my neighbours saw me, they must have been laughing, phone in one hand with me running up and down our drive sweating all over the place!

It was surprisingly a really nice run.  A good average pace and only a few puddles to dance around.  It was bloody cold when I left, but the sun came out very quickly and it was beautiful just watching the steam rise as the frost melted away.

What is worrying though is that I have to do over twice this distance tomorrow.  In other words I need to stock up on chocolate!

I am also quite surprised with myself.  I have run properly for a week, I've been having very long days and using my brain again, and then was able to get out the door and actually run.  It was freeing and just like when I started my mind was able to wander.  At one point it even took a little adventure to the Battle of Hogwarts and I honestly have no fucking idea where that came from!!!

Maybe its the exercise itself.  Maybe its the new job.  Maybe its my body saying 'yay you're not sat on your ass eating chocolate' (I don't just save chocolate for running - what crazy fool does?)  But realistically I don't care what it was that made today's plod enjoyable because I truly and absolutely friggin' loved it!

I'm sure it'll be a different story tomorrow after my long run, but for today, that is all that matters.  Just like running where one foot goes after the other, I will just take each day as it comes. 

16th January - Glad You Came

Friday 16th Feb
I officially didn't procrastinate before running today, which in one sense is highly impressive, however, I was ridiculously hungover so just physically could not move.  I have decided that lying still until the world stops spinning when you close your eyes is definitely not procrastinating.

However, today's run did not go to plan.  As you all know, today was the day I was meant to push myself to 24kms, but having drunk the equivalent of an entire cider factory followed by a bottle of prosecco whilst being a miserable shit, meant that a long run was simply not feasible.  Knowing that I was out last night, I don't even know what was going through my brain when I thought a long run was a sensible idea.

I am impressed that I managed to run at all and I'm pretty sure that the gallons of sweat pouring out of me had quite a high percentage, but the hangover has now subsided (which is awesome).  

As much as I enjoyed last night, it didn't end on a high and the run today, didn't clear my head like it normally does, which is frustrating.  I'm sure that things will just blow over and the next run will be back to usual, but running with things on my mind didn't help.

What was also infuriating was the realisation that it was a bloody nice prosecco that I wasted last night.  

It's time to stop twatting about and start focusing now.  I have less than eight weeks until I do this marathon and because of last night I now have to find the time over the weekend to do a long run.  If that fails it would be two weeks without doing one and that will completely throw my marathon time and training.  Yes I will still have the 'occasional' cider, but may refrain from wasting wine and start putting the training needs first.

There's nothing with letting your hair down, and the majority of the evening (being surrounded by people I consider mates and a few true friends) was good but at the same time, did I need to rush to the bar for last orders?  Probably not!

So what happens next?

I have absolutely no idea, but it looks like I might be doing my favourite thing of getting up at stupid o'clock to run and then go and do a long ass day at work.

Let's do a marathon.  Let's properly train.  It'll be fun.

Right now ... NO!!

15th February - I'm Outta Love

Thursday 15th Feb
There are two main problems with going for a run before work.  Firstly, its running and secondly its before work.

I don't overly like running on a time limit so knowing that I have to squeeze in a run whilst still finding tome to blog, get up, have breakfast and have my usual faff around is slightly frustrating and effects the run itself.  Usually I know roughly how far I am going to run, but today I had to keep checking my distance to see whether or not I had time to do the extra distance and whether I had done an acceptable amount of running.

To be fair, it was only one of my short runs (it still baffles me that I now consider five miles a short run), but it just doesn't feel right.  I generally don't do a warm up - because I really don't know how to - but the wondering around aimlessly at least gets some movement in me, but running before work removes the procrastination.

It also removes the much needed nourishment needed to sustain the rigorous exercise.  Not a single piece of chocolate passed my lips before the run and barely any diet coke was drunk.  

Some may say I could've risen earlier, but when my bed is so comfortable and I am an innately lazy creature then getting up early (especially to go for a run) is not a realistic option.

As for the running itself.  Today was slow and bordering on sore.  No warm up and no food saw me plodding along with a shin splint and at points it felt like I could walk faster than I was actually running.

It probably didn't help that I may have had a feast last night where I ate my weight in very rich and very unhealthy food (I think there was as much butter as there was steak).  But it was necessary yesterday night as it has become a tradition that on Valentine's Day I have a meal for two just to myself.  And it was a fucking great meal.

Now I have to get ready for a day at work followed by a leaving party and all that is going through my head is when am I going to eat, when am I going to get to the shop to buy more diet coke (unbelievably I have run out) and how the absolute Hell am I going to do my long run tomorrow after attending a leaving do this evening.  Again, some may say don't go to the leaving do, or if you go just don't drink.  But these people obviously don't know me!

Ultimately, I managed to get one of my short runs in, I just have absolutely no time management skills and need to stop typing and get my ass out of the door and on with the day.

By the way the views were lovely today, with the daffodils coming out, squirrels running up and down the trees and a heron thinking I was getting to close so flying about ten metres in front of me repetitively for about 300 metres.

I have to go now.  Damned running before work!!

13th February - Black Magic

Tuesday 13th Feb
Week 6 of marathon training was basically a write off.  I only did about 15km, but physically and mentally I just felt that I couldn't run and every once in a while you need to take a break, listen to your mind and body and rest.

However, today I started off Week & of my marathon training with an extremely special run.

Today marks seven years since I said goodbye to my mum.  Seven years since I last held her hand and seven years of having a huge gap in my life.  Even writing this is making me choke up a bit.  If it wasn't for her I wouldn't have done that moonlight memory walk and from that I wouldn't be doing this marathon madness.  But it's more than that.  She wasn't just my mum, she was my friend, my confidante, my mentor, my inspiration and influencer.  She was and still is a huge part of my life, in everything I do.

So to commemorate her, I ran for 63 minutes:

A minute for every year of her life.
A minute for every tens of thousands of lives she touched and still touches.
A minute for every million of opportunities she gave me.

Today I ran for my mum, and I know that she was with me in every plod I took.

Tomorrow is Valentine's Day.  A day where people express love, but why not help commemorate my mum's life by messaging those you love and care for today.  You never know they may need to hear from you.  They may need an affirmation.  They may need that boost.

And I know, and always reflect on this day, that you shouldn't wait until tomorrow, because it may be too late.

This run was for you mum.  Thank you so much for everything xx

9th February - Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

Friday 9th Feb
I went for a run and officially (according to me) it is Spring.  Seeing the daffodils coming up and only running through a light drizzle was delightful.  

I have been particularly lazy with my running this week, but after today's plod I'm hoping to be back on it.  It did also take me a bloody long time to get out the door, but I did in fact finally go for a run.  I've had plenty of opportunities of the past two days to go for a run, and knowing that its a drop down week should've made it easier, but in all honesty getting out today was the hardest its ever been.  This is to the point that I changed into my running stuff three times.  This officially makes me a running procrastination expert.  At least I am excelling at something in the running world.

I'm glad I did go for the run though.  I had a great pace (again my pace isn't a major influencer) and I went almost 3kms further than I originally intended, but the ground was good, the air was great and the run was amazingly enjoyable.  

Also, in running news / news of Ian doing another bloody marathon, I submitted my predicted time for the Brighton Marathon today.  I have pushed myself with this time, but it means the chances are I will be in the pub earlier than planned, which is to be frank the end goal of a marathon. 

And that predicted time is ... like Hell I am going to announce that with over eight weeks to go and put and additional pressure on me.  Plus it means you'll have to come back and read more / donate more.

Especially as I have asked everyone who is coming to support me to ensure there is cider ready for when I get there.  I have even asked one friend to book a bar so that I have somewhere to sit and drink afterwards (you know who you are please don't let me down).

I was slightly concerned when I was putting in my predicted time, as they have stated that the marathon must be completed within 8 hours.  I know I can walk it in this time, but adding that time restriction on has slightly worried me.  What if I twist my ankle and have to hobble to the finishing line?  What if something happens that puts me beyond this time?  I'm sure that if I start taking the rest of my training seriously this won't happen, but it is a bit of a concern to me.

Again, I have rehydrated with juice, both apple and grape this time and again they may have both been dangerously spiked with alcohol!  Or maybe I just had a bit too much wine and cider, but it was bloody tasty and bloody lovely and bloody needed.  Though this running stuff has made me a complete lightweight / a cheap night out.

Going out for a run today has enthused me, as although the sky was grey, it was fresh air and time to be me and I felt like an actual runner again.  I cannot wait for a couple of weeks where I will get to dart through the daffodils and cross country through the crocuses (yep I came up with them whilst running - see how my mind wanders) and enjoy the longer day lights.  Though I feel that tomorrow's run may see me sweating out a full brewery's worth of alcohol!

6th February - We Can't Stop

Tuesday 6th Feb
I had totally prepared myself to not run today.  Convinced myself that I could fit in my runs throughout the rest of the week as its a week full of short runs.  Then sat down comfortably after work I get an email from Burnt Chef Project asking how the training is going.  Well I couldn't exactly email back saying, 'it'll start going great again when I can actually be bothered!'

So the email spurred me to get my running stuff on and get the Hell out the door.  (Possibly the best motivation to actually run).

I'm still quite tired from the Half Marathon at the weekend and some of muscles still ache - I wish I could tell you which muscles, but my anatomy knowledge is rather lacking.  

I knew it was only going to be a short run, as that is all I am doing this week, a maximum of 8km on one of the runs, before the grind starts all over again next week.  But this is week 6 of training and the perfect opportunity to keep moving without having to push myself.

I am however bloody glad that I did get out.  Yes I was a sweaty mess again (chocolate pre-run is great, salt and vinegar crisps not so great).  It was freeing, I had my music blaring.  No-one in my way (you know how much I appreciate that).  Bounce in my step and I felt like an actual runner.  

I could feel myself actually running like someone who was good at it and knew what they were doing.  It was phenomenal.

I was concerned that I was going to have a dodgy ankle, but I didn't even need the support on it.

I bloody loved it.

I know this is a short post, but it was a short run and I am so pleased that I got that email.  (Memo to self: must reply to email)

3rd February - Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!

Saturday 3rd Feb
Dorney Lake, the home to British Olympic rowing.  Set in the grounds of 'the ever-so accessible' Eton College, where fellow Cornish person Helen Glover won a gold in the 2012 Olympics.  Renowned for the athletic prowess was once again the site of another athletic achievement, one that is almost unbelievable.  One that will go down in the personal history books.  


This is how I ended my week 5 training and spent the final day of my annual leave.  Yes, I got up at 6am on a Saturday (because that's what sane people do) and went and ran a bloody half marathon.  I only beat my PB by just over two minutes, but a win is a win.  And (although with running its the taking part that counts - unless I ever win) I did not come last.

However, it was so fucking daunting.  I was panicking before it started.  I was unsure whether I was going to even make it round.  I was surrounded by proper sports people - Oxford and Cambridge Uni were competing at a duathlon and when I stood by them ... I moved away very quickly.  In the lead up to the run, you would overhear almost every other runner telling their anecdotes about this being just a jog to them, or not even questioning their physical or mental ability.  It was beyond daunting!

Everyone set off at the same time and it was difficult to set my own pace, but I eventually got into a smooth pace, which improved just over half way after I realised that running with an empty bladder was a lot easier that running desperate for a pee.  (My running expert also took part and she was so pissed off that she didn't realise there was a portaloo half way around the course).

As per usual my warm up was almost non-existent (I am including wondering around as warm up - without this the warm up was completely non-existent).  It took me 3-4km until my muscles started working.  And frustratingly from about 19.5km my ankle decided to start being a dick causing a lot of pain.  But being so close to the end, I decided to just shout at the ankle and myself.  Telling myself to behave and just keep going.  I think the abuse I was hurling at the ankle may have been a bit excessive - but I got to the end (and I wasn't last - can you tell I'm quite pleased with that fact?)

I am please with today, but I still have a long way to go.  In the next nine weeks I have to double that distance and keep that pace and the way I feel right now, it is beyond worrying.  I also need to learn my distances - 100m away from the finish line I shoved my Strava in a marshal's face saying 'do I have further to go?' as I thought a half marathon was longer than I had run - I didn't have further to go).

I need to sort out my running diet.  Chocolate was good (as was the peanut butter and marmite sandwich - don't judge until you've tried it) but it sure as Hell did not sustain me and I feel I may have eaten it too early.  Diet coke may also be part of a Kingly breakfast but my God did I need to pee.

The last thing I need to do and possibly the most important part of my training is to stop myself from comparing my effort with others.  There were probably over 300 hundred actual athletes there today and I need to remember that at some point they could've been in my position.  They didn't think 'oh what the Hell is he trying to do,' but smiled as they lapped me and cheered as I passed the finish line.  The young athletes commit themselves to their practice probably daily and compete, it's a totally different story.  Even my running expert has a different story and a different pace, but we all have the same goal, get to the fucking finishing line (which felt like it kept bloody moving)

I have to remember I am doing this marathon for me.  I am bloody proud of my time today (as I should be) and I am sure my confidence will come with every mile I run. 

1st February - We Like To Party

Thursday 1st Feb
I went for a run.  Not a long one, but I managed to get out the door and actually do it.

The weather was much more accommodating today (no need for three layers and a beanie and gloves and thermals) and although I am convinced it will take me about three hours to finish the half marathon on Saturday, I am pretty sure I am actually going to convince it.  And do you know what I am so looking forward to running on proper surfaces and eating far too much afterwards.  (I'm pretty sure I demolished about 20,000 calories on my rest day yesterday).

Despite having a few new tunes to run to, it actually felt as if this was real training today.  Running not for the sake of running, or to clear my head, but rather because if I did not run then I would not get anywhere and my legs would turn to stone.

Is that meant to happen?  Should it feel like training, or should it be more enjoyable / less enjoyable.  I honestly have no idea, but ultimately I went for a run.

I would like some new routes though, but don't think that will happen unless I drive somewhere to start and finish the run.  But then if I am driving places, why not just stay in the car.  It would be a lot quicker (provided I avoid the A3 / M25).  Maybe its something I could look into next week?

One of the great things though is that I have been training for exactly a month.  In that time I have run (or at least plodded) 131.5kms.  That's just over 80 miles.  80 fucking miles.  That's more distance than when I did the London Marathon (attempted) training last year.

Yes today's run was just a run, but to look at how far I have come in that past month, it incredible (or at least I think so).  Maybe that's what I should focus on.  Not each individual run - especially the sort ones - but the journey I am taking.  

Part of the journey I am taking is raising funds alongside the running for The Burnt Chef Project.  An organisation that raises awareness of mental health issues in the hospitality industry and I think that may be part of a mental health process, looking back to see where you have grown, see where you have developed and learning from the mistakes you have previously made (such as rehydrating with cider - I am pretty sure I will make that mistake again).

Today I went for a run, but today I noticed my journey, the distance I have gone (physically and mentally) and the goal at the end.  I have found my healthy outlet and all that from a 6km (ish) run!

30th January - Lady Marmalade

Tuesday 30th Jan
Kicking off Week 5 of marathon training with a 6km run.  Listening to Lady Marmalade which saw me strutting my stuff on the street.  Though it was more like strutting my stuff on the uneven pavement, golf course and footpath and when I say strutting my stuff it was closer to plodding my ass along.

Yes, Week 5 has officially started and the plan is to end it with a half marathon.  Technically it started yesterday, but as its a week off I decided to have a rest day (which saw me walking almost five miles.  (Note to self - must look up the meaning of rest day).

One of the good things about ending the week on a half marathon is that my runs before hand are short ones.  Today was 6k, and I'll add in an 8k and a 5k.  Simple.  This is completely up my street as it means I don't have to actually run as much.  It plays into my wheelhouse allowing me to spend more time sitting and lazing around.

These short runs are actually taking me less time to complete than it does to procrastinate, warm down and also tie my running shoes.  Though, today I realised (after my run) that I must have been fairly distracted during prep time as my running trousers were on back to front!  What a great start!

It was a simple run on tracks that I have run before, and people (very kindly) got out of my way quickly and efficiently.  I think this was a first for me and I truly appreciated it.  I even had a little old lady move completely out of the way for me and then smile at me whilst I passed.  This was lovely.  Thank you to my new favourite little old lady, you made my run.

The other highlight of today was wearing my brand spanking new running T-Shirt from The Burnt Chef Project.  It looks awesome and was actually really comfortable.  I also have one of their running vests, but I have decided to save this until the actual marathon.

The bad thing about running a half marathon at the end of the week is the sheer fact that I AM RUNNING A HALF MARATHON.  Five weeks into training and I am pushing my body to run over 13 miles (only just over 13 miles but still).  My running friend said it was completely normal to be anxious before a big race and my training plan for the week was spot on.

But ...

It's not a fucking race, its just a long run.  I just have to get to the end (no offence, but if this were a race I wouldn't bother joining in - no fun in coming last).

Anyway, I still have another two short runs before then, and as long as I don't seize up (which I haven't yet) it'll all be fab.  

28th January - Keep on Movin'

Sunday 28th Jan
A rather apt song for the run today.  It was meant to be a gentle jog finishing off Week 4 of training and ensuring I keep to my four runs per week.  But for some reason it was possibly the hardest 5km I have ever run.  That includes trying to achieve that distance for the first time and its crazy that I struggled with something that should be so easy these days.

Why did I struggle?  I'm honestly not sure, but feel it could be one or all of the following reasons:

1) The amount of pre-run chocolate was minimal.  I thought it would be a good idea to slow cook a ham over night and it tasted amazing, but there is a high chance that ham is not the best nourishment.

2) Its a difficult day mentally, as it would have been my mum's birthday today and she is no longer here to celebrate it.  Being miles from family may have left a slightly empty feeling in me.

3) I have become cocky and complacent.  Mentally, its only 5kms and I know I can do that, so I did not prepare myself for it.  Physically my body is used to doing over that distance so I also did absolutely no warm up.  Possibly a big mistake.

4)  Its just one of those things.

5) I'm lazy.  I didn't want to go out for a run (partly because of the confidence of running in front of people - training is very different to running in front of people whilst doing the actual marathon) and therefore I didn't perform as I wanted to.  Its my first day of annual leave and I want to sit on my ass doing what I do best - nothing, but had to run.

Having had the hardest gentle jog known to man I have however, officially finished Week 4 of marathon training.  This is awesome and if you look at what I was like a month ago, a year ago, a decade ago, then doing four weeks of running training and following a plan (loosely) it is almost like I am a new person - I'm not and cannot wait to go back to lounging around - and have a certain sense of self-satisfaction.  

Roll on Week 5 which will include a half marathon (Fuck My Life), lots of R&R and a return to the 'Ian Approved Exercise Diet.'

25th January - She's So Lovely

Thursday 25th Jan
To be honest with you, whilst I am writing this I am slightly pissed.  Its not my fault at all, but rather a need to rehydrate.  We all know that apples are good for you, but then rehydrating with apple juice - alcoholic apple juice - was just what was needed. (OK it was cider but let's go with my view of health and realise this was healthy and needed during marathon training.)

I was dreading today's run.  I knew it was going to be the long run of the week (and thank God I am only doing one long run per week) but jumping from 13km to 17km, for some reason seemed unfeasible and totally and utterly unreasonable.  But after (a very small amount of arseing about - it didn't even amount to procrastination) I made it out the door and completed 17km.  It was a grueling run.

Firstly, when I do long runs I need to ensure I have mapped out the route properly rather than just winging it.  If I had mapped it out properly I would know how far I was going and be able to set myself some goals.  This is opposed to my 'fuck it just get out there' attitude.  This would also help when I am deciding to just go home or keep going - it was the keep going option today.

Secondly, I need to stay hydrated whilst running.  I know that gels do not work for me, and supplements make me pee too much, so I need to ensure that I am drinking the water that I have taken with me.

Thirdly, I must stop swearing under my breath at people who piss me off whilst I am out there, putting myself on stage for the world to see.  Guys, its is hard enough to try and run this far. If you have my confidence and 'unique' physique, it is difficult.  Get out of my way when I am running.  Keep your dogs on a lead (not trying to yap at my ankles) and don't start some bullshit about my running route - sorry golfers, but your golf club has public footpaths across it, so screaming at me only means I will go to membership and report you for being an absolute dick weasel.  I don't know if the next step is to stop swearing under my breath or to just vocalise that you have pissed me off!

Fourthly .. there isn't a fourth and I have lost my train of thought.  Bugger.

Oh wait - I saw some awesome graffiti / street art.  Really like it and wondering how people get to these places with a canal / river in the way.

On a side note I was really pleased that I got out of the door and ran the furthest I have run so far this year and the furthest since last April.  Music was awesome, weather was great and apart from members of the public it was just about pleasurable.  I managed to get my second fastest time at a 10k and 10 mile run, which is just an added bonus.  I do however, need to invest in some kind of headband as the sweat rolling into my eyes from 4km onwards was not the best.  It actually felt like I may have lost half my body weight in sweat today - we are definitely looking at talcum powder season (if you know, you know).

I am completely stiff now and not looking forward to having to move but I bloody did it.  Chocolate was a saviour for breakfast (though I did add a peanut butter and marmite bagel into the mix).  It was also an absolute hero after the run.  I can highly recommend the chocolate fudge brownie from Waitrose.  It hits every spot - literally.

I know I have rambled today, but that is not my fault - blame the people that served me alcohol.  I did a great run with a great time and next week when I do my half marathon I am going to approach it with some confidence.

Today was - quite frankly - friggin' awesome.

24th January - I want You Back

Wednesday 24th Jan
That run was definitely not an Eeyore run.  It also wasn't a Tigger run.  It was an epic Harry Potter just killed Voldemort slaying run.  I fucking loved it.

Still running in my set distance, for the first time I felt like an actually runner.  There was a spring in my step, my music was blasting into my ears and for the majority of it, it was just me and the footpaths.  I really enjoyed it and have surprised myself with how good it has made me feel.

To be fair, there were points where I struggled and wanted to walk.  I knew I wouldn't just stop and I would have to keep moving, but I pushed through and ended up setting 4 personal bests, and achieving my second fastest time in a 5k.  Obviously I had the runner procrastination which I am getting exceptionally good at - to the point I am now procrastinating on my procrastination.  But I finally got out of the door and achieved what I did not think was possible.

I know I have said that time doesn't matter to me, its the stamina and the distance, but when you see how fast you went (snail's pace for some proper runners and healthy people) and the personal bests, you can't help but feel a certain sense of accomplishment.

The weather was lush, a gentle breeze keeping me cool (it didn't stop the gallons of sweat) and the sun wasn't too hot.  I couldn't have asked for more.

I was however thinking that maybe if I sorted out my diet I would do even better.  But then again, half a bar of dairy milk fruit and nut (nuts have protein and fruit is always good for you) before the run and to slay that 5 miles was amazing.

So basically, if its not broke, don't fix it.

What also helped with today was finding out that so far this year I have run over 100kms.  I'm pretty sure this is roughly the distance I ran for the entirety of my training for last year's marathon.

I know this is a much shorter post than usual, but I don't have much to say from today's run, apart from the utter elation I feel from completing it!

I am fucking chuffed.

23rd January - All Rise

Tuesday 23rd Jan
This morning's pre-work run was a bit of an odd one, but it officially kicked off Week 4 of training!  It was meant to have started yesterday but I had run out of chocolate and diet coke, and as we all know these two things are vital pre-running nourishment, so I put it off until today.

I would just like to point out that this 24 hour delay does not count as 'runner procrastination,' as I have scientifically proven the necessity of chocolate and diet coke.

Today was a first for me this year.  I went out without my beanie and without my coat on.  It was actually warm enough, though about five hundred metres in I kind of regretted that decision as it was at that point the rain started coming down.  I have no issue with running in the rain (I actually quite enjoy it) but would prefer to have been forewarned - and no I do not check the bloody forecasts.

Overall it was a bit of an odd one today.  The running was not as far as I had planned, but I needed to get back and traffic was stopping me from crossing a road (that is the lamest excuse ever, but it works for me).  It felt like my pace was faster than usual, but it turns out that was roughly my average pace.  It felt easier today but then the warm down took almost twice as long.  Then I ended up questioning why I am training in kms, but aiming to run 26.2 miles?

Having said this it was lovely to watch the Canadian Geese mingling with the pheasants.  They are fast as well!  Much faster than me!

Like I said it was an odd run, but I am glad it happened.  I was bloody starving afterwards, but it just so happens I am regularly starving and regularly eating - so no change there.

This week will see me (hopefully):
1) Procrastinating less
2) Eating more chocolate
3) Completing 8-10kms twice
4) Completing a 16-17km run

Its going to be a tough week, interspersing training with work, but I have already completed one run and my chocolate consumption is on the up.  

Come On Week 4 - Let's Go!!

20th January - Mambo No.5

Saturday 20th Jan
Last night I had a message from my friend - who doubles up as my running expert and triples up as the person who will be in the pub before me after the marathon - informing me that 'Runner Procrastination,' is a real thing.  Apparently, unless you are a seasoned professional all runners procrastinate before a run and most even factor this time into their running.  This was a massive relief with how well my time wasting is going.

However, this morning was very different.  not only was I not going to be running in minus temperatures (an absolute godsend at 2 degrees) but there was absolutely no procrastination.  No way.  Not at all.  Not even five minutes deliberating how to get out of the run.  Don't get used to this.  I had been so lazy during the week that I needed to get the run in before work and as I haven't run 13km in God knows how long, I need to give myself some extra time!

Lesson learnt.

Writing this after one of my long runs, followed by a 10 hour shift on my feet resulting in almost 40,000 steps today is a killer and I will do my damned hardest not to put myself in that position again.

Having said that, today was the run I needed.  No more Eeyore (or at least not today).  I am craving to run on a flat surface rather than trails, as I think it might be more comfortable on my poor little feet, plus I am curious to see how it effects my time and pace.  This isn't really an option at the moment, so I guess I will plod on.

You could tell the weather has improved by the amount of people that were out.  Runners, walkers and obviously dogs not kept on leads!  One runner even smiled at me when he passed (twice).  I think the first one was a genuine friendly yay you're running smile, though have a sneaky suspicion the second time he passed was a 'well done on plodding,' smile.  Doesn't matter, he was one of those proper runners that knew what they were doing and a smile is a smile.

This was the run I needed this week (I just wish I had done it earlier.)  My mind was all over the place again, which is something I love about running and I'm really pleased that not only did I do 13km in a decent time, but also ...

Week 3 training is complete.  Roll on Week 4

January 19th - Breathe

Friday 19th Jan
Another day and another delayed run - I'm starting to make Heathrow airport look good with these delays.  Although I had yesterday off and aimed to go for a 13-15km run, eating lunch and lazing around took a priority, meaning I had to somehow get my lazy ass out of bed this morning and embrace the winter weather.

To say it was cold is an understatement, but when I finished I checked the temperature and it was -3.  It was certainly colder than that when I set out and guess which idiot forgot their running gloves.  I think it was around 3km in that I started to get some feeling back in my fingers.  Or they had stopped stinging from how bloody cold it was.

It certainly was another Eeyore run, one where I just had to get it done.  No great achievements but I did push myself.  

In hindsight I know I could've gone further (I doubt I could've gone faster - but time doesn't matter too much) and achieved the distance I wanted, but to even get to the almost 9km this morning I did have to push myself.  On numerous occasions I wanted to just turn around and head home.  A run is a run after all and apparently something is better than nothing.  But it didn't feel this way.

I'm sure some psychologist / psychiatrist (I really don't know the difference) will say that I did well in pushing myself to get the distance that I got and for not giving up earlier, but to be honest this is of no solace to me.  I still need to do my long run this week and it means I now have to do it tomorrow before I go to the pub and do a stupidly long shift on my feet - oh the joy.

It may have helped if I had realised earlier that I was starting work half an hour later that I thought and that may have spurred my on to make it a long run.  But no, this idiot can't think that far ahead, meaning tomorrow - a Saturday - I will again be up at stupid o'clock to go and do this ridiculous thing called exercise.  At the moment, I feel it is totally overrated.

The joy that I got running over the past few weeks is starting to fade slightly, though I do still find pleasure in looking at my distance and times.  My mind is not wondering as much on the runs - and the wondering mind was what brought me some happiness.  Whether this is the overwhelming stressed of everyday life or the awful temperatures I am having to endure (please let it warm up soon, I want to go out in a t-shirt to run).

Oh well, it was another run and I have to stick with the plan.  One more run to complete Week 3 training and hopefully start afresh on Monday.

Someone please send me some positivity, or motivation or energy, or all three.  I still have 11 weeks to go!!!!  (failing that please donate)

17th January - Lady Marmalade

Wednesday 17th Jan
Years ago I had to write an essay on the use and structure of people in business.  This was for an HR course I was on and having come from a creative background, I thought I would keep the creativity in place and completed the essay with a full analogy of the characters in Winnie The Pooh.

Having set off on today's run roughly 26 hours late (yes it was meant to take place yesterday) it turns out it was a very Eeyore run.  Everyone knows who Eeyore is (bestie with Winnie and the rest of the gang) but let's just explain why today it felt like being Eeyore today - and its not because I look like an ass when I'm running.

Everyone assumes that Eeyore is a manic depressive, but lets look at the other facts.  He is always around and just gets on with things - whether he likes it or not.  He's happy to follow guidance and then just do it.  He doesn't celebrate when something has been completed, but probably (and there is no scientific basis for this) has a certain sense of achievement afterwards, and if he doesn't he knows that it is a task completed and completed properly.

I genuinely did not want to go for my run today - I also didn't want to go yesterday, but I finally went.  I did achieve a few PRs but they were insignificant.  It was a steady pace.  It was what was required by the training plan.  The task was completed and completed properly.  Unlike, all my other runs, this did help me escape for almost an hour, but the endorphins weren't released, the music was not intense enough and I'm just glad that I got through it.  Thus ... an Eeyore run.  

The real world should not be allowed to encroach upon my running!

Its only week three of training, and I already want to take a week off.  There is nowhere in my training plan that states I should sit on my ass for a week eating shit food and therefore I can't really just take a week off.  I now have to look at the rest of the plan for this week, which is another long run tomorrow.

For this, I am truly hoping that the music is louder and the chocolate breakfast hits the mark.  I feel like I need a Tigger run to make up for today.  Tigger, the one that always tries, but doesn't always get it right.  The one that learns as they move forward.  The one that can pick themselves up and get on with it.  The one that can find joy in almost everything.

If it is a Tigger Run tomorrow, then I may have to celebrate with doing a Winnie and putting my head in a jar of honey.

Fingers crossed!

15th January - What Makes You Beautiful

Monday 15th Jan
What a great way to start Week 3 of marathon training?  A great 6km run.  Yes it was cold, but by the end my fingers weren't feeling it anymore, whether they were completely numb removing any sense, or whether the blood was pumping to keep them warm, or whether the weather had improved - I have no idea.  Though the ground was still covered in frost by the time I was finished.

Again, I had a good pace and set another achievement.  Thinking about this I realised I had set great efforts on the last three runs I had done.  This I have decided is down to one of the following things:

1)  I'm really lucky
2)  I'm actually getting better as this whole running shit
3)  Chocolate is a vital part of the running diet.  

Over the past three runs I have had chocolate in some form before heading out.  Therefore I think chocolate is a great running fuel.  To add to this chocolate does come from cocoa, which is ultimately a bean and beans are good for you.  (This is how my brain works when I am trying to justify things I know just don't work in real life).  Chocolate my blessing!

Yesterday was a rest day from running (despite doing almost 20,000 steps during work - Love Sunday Services), but looking on insta, someone I follow posted a picture of herself after a run with a caption similar to, 'how do these influencers do this and still look so good?'  Personally I think anyone that is willing to get out there and push themselves in anyway is beautiful, so fuck off influencers in your beautiful make up!  This only came to mind again today, when the first song was the banger from 1D.

However, I then had the realisation of how fortunate I am.  I am pushing myself doing this marathon.  I'm pushingn myself trying to stick to a training plan (at 40 years old this is completely new to me), but then I realise I am part of a community.  

A community that will support me in what I am doing.  Giving me kudos on Strava.  Providing me with advice (the insta poster helped me with my strava yesterday and I haven't seen her in over ten years!).  Giving me a kick up the ass when I need to get out.  But most importantly, showing me the support I need to get me through this Hell.

I thought it may have been the endorphins, or the escape from reality, or the blaring music that made me enjoy my runs.  But maybe its being part of a community, and playing a part in something much larger.

I am a lucky guy!

13th January - Wannabe

Sunday 14th Jan
So Week 2 of training is officially over, and it was the usual short run, but it felt different.

Not only did I achieve my second fastest 2 miles, I was really pleased with the pace I set myself.  If I can keep that pace on my short runs then I'll be a happy chappy.  Though it means my hip is in a lot more pain (probably not helped by doing a further 22,000 steps at work afterwards).

It was very pleasant not having to navigate around any dogs or children for a change - maybe that's what helped my pace?  The only people I actually saw were other runners, all of whom looked between 10 and 15 years older than me, and all of whom looked to have a better pace than me!

Honestly, I am stressed in my personal life at the moment and running is one of the few things that relieves the stress and when the song wannabe came on, it made my mind wonder.  The stresses in life made me think I 'wannabe' one of those proper adults.  The ones that can always have the washing up done, get through work without wanting to cry, actually want to exercise and don't have a diet of eating anything and everything.  This then led into my mind considering storage space in my living room - that's being a grown-up!

But as much as I want it, I've come to the conclusion that I am never going to be one of those grown-ups.  So I've decided that if I just plod on, then eventually I will get there.  I am good at plodding on, and with a marathon I think plodding on is completely acceptable.  More than acceptable its basically what I will be doing.  So screw adulting, let's just plod.

Plodding through Week 2 training managed to get me a load of personal running achievements, which is ace, but the thought of upping my game of for Week 3 is slightly daunting.  I'm aiming to run four times again, but including a 13-15km run, one 5km run and the other two closer to 8km.  It's going to be an interesting week!

11th January - Rock DJ

Thursday 11th Jan
As per usual, today's run did not go as planned.  It was harder than usual to get out of the door and took about two hours of just sitting there trying to psych myself up.  It's been a year since I left Cornwall and waking up to reflect on this and how I feel I have gone backwards rather than progressed was really playing on my mind.

The original plan was to do a 15km run as my long run of the week, but having taken expert advice (experts being people who get actual enjoyment from exercise and do it regularly) I adjusted it to aim for 10km.  

So already it had changed according to what I wanted, but then I finally managed to get out of the house and started the long plod.  

I have already mentioned keeping dogs on leads, but what I discovered today was that children should also be controlled.  One little nipper decided to use me as target practice whilst throwing pebbles around on the trail.  The 'grown ups,' with said nipper just laughed.  However, their laughter stopped when said nipper learnt a new word!  This really pissed me off and running is meant to set my mind free.

Despite the arduous start and those that should have been in daycare / school, the run wasn't too bad.  This was apart from the hill I encountered.  Ok, maybe not so much a hill but a slope, or maybe it was just a small incline, but still it felt like I was climbing bloody Everest.  Ridiculous.  However, I did get to encounter tarmac and concrete under my feet which was a pleasant relief.

I did the run and it ended up at just under 11kms, which was pleasing, but then to get my notification from Strava really changed my perspective on the run.  I could feel myself going faster at some points, but I didn't realise the amazing pace I had set for myself and ultimately achieved my second fastest 10k ever!  That along with six other achievements.  I was not expecting that!  Its not what I thought was going to happen, but I'm pleased that it did.

The run then ended with me agreeing to do a half marathon at the start of February, meaning I actually have to up my game and start taking this whole running thing seriously.

Like I said, today's run was not what I had planned!  

9th January - Can't stop the moonlight

Tuesday 9th Jan
I would like to dedicate this evening's run to the man or woman who invented running gloves.  The special kind that protect your soft dainty hands from the horrid weather whilst still being able to use your phone.  They are amazing and I think the whole run would have turned out very differently if my hands were subjected to the absolute zero temperature I was running in.  Ok, maybe it wasn't absolute zero, but it was bloody cold.

Having now invented the running glove, could you please sort out running lighting?  I do appreciate my head torch, and I wouldn't be able to do half the runs without it, but it would be so much easier if you could sort out some decent lighting.  Maybe you could just change time?  Maybe you could invent a second moon that shines down?  Or maybe, just maybe, you could stop me procrastinating.

I'm pretty sure that had I not arsed about for an hour, I would have been able to complete the whole run in almost full daylight.  But no, doing the washing up was actually more appealing.

Another day, another run.  My pace isn't improving (not that I'm too concerned about that) but it is consistent, which I feel is a positive.  When I say consistent, it is slower in the dark (still) and only slightly faster when its daylight.  However, it did take my mind off the stresses of work for a short while - a massive relief - and I was able to hide in my own little world yet again.  It has also put a smile on my face and inspired me to cook a proper meal  - vegan cottage pie.  Home comfort style food but packed with nutrients which apparently are good for me.  But don't worry I still have a gammon cooking in the slow cooker and ample crisps and chocolates if the vegan food tastes like shit.

I am changing my schedule though.  I was planning on the long run tomorrow, but really feel I need a day off to recover.  This means that this week it will be two days on, one day rest, two days on and two days rest.  Its not really rest when you're working and on your feet, but it certainly isn't plodding about the paths.  It also gives me time to work on my warm ups as I think that is what might be doing my knee in.  Any advice is gratefully received, but please don't be offend if I ignore it (remember I am still lazy at heart.)

I'm glad I endured tonight's run, but even gladder (again is that a word) that it is a rest day tomorrow.

8th January - Love at first sight

Monday 8th Jan
Whoever came up with the notion of running before work either had one or all of the following:

1) An extremely uncomfortable bed with the worse possible bedding.
2) A job which involved sitting around doing absolutely nothing all day (including no human interaction) and one that involved minimal brain power.
3) A sadistic nature of such magnitude that Satan himself / herself would be jealous.

It was so difficult finding the willpower to get out of the house this morning.  Getting out of bed was its usual struggle, as was tying my shoelaces, but leaving the house was almost torturous.  It was grey and cold outside and when you know you have to go to work after, you mentally question whether you have time to fit the run in.  But, after three slices of cheese, numerous facebook messages and a can of diet coke (yes my lifestyle is that healthy) I finally managed to set off.

Ultimately, I am glad that I did.  The paths have dried up becoming firm enough to run / plod with some confidence.  It wasn't busy and most other people that were out were also partaking in this ludicrous activity - some even smiled (mostly out of sympathy) as I passed them.  There was no breeze in my face and the music was blaring.  Overall a lush run.

It was also great to start my Week 2 of marathon training off with just under 7.5kms.  I knew I wanted to up my short runs from 4-5kms, but to start the week on this ... AWESOME.

It put me in a great mood.  Ask my colleagues how annoying I was when I got into work (which means I had lots of the happy hormones firing through my brain).  I was quicker on my feet.  I was smiling - genuinely.  Until the afternoon came along.

That's when I hit the wall and I just wanted to curl up on my sofa and go to sleep with a hot water bottle on every muscle and joint.  Bloody annoying that this was not possible.  It probably didn't help that it had started to snow at that point and all that was going through my mind was ... how the frig am I going to run in the snow (if I even got home before that)?

It's not settling yet and I'm not planning on running until after work tomorrow, but it'll be 'an experience,' if I have to get tomorrow's short run done in the snow.

I like a challenge but ...

5th January - S Club Party

Friday 5th Jan
You know that feeling when you have achieved something (almost immense) but don't feel you can celebrate it because of other factors?  That's how I feel about today's run.

Today's run was slow and painful, but made me complete Week 1 of marathon training.  I've now run four times this week - which I don't think I have ever done before ... EVER!  And by doing those runs I have covered just under 25kms.  This is impressive and anyone looking at the stats would congratulate me, but I genuinely do not feel like that.

On the way back from the run there was a sign saying 'DEAD SLOW,' I don't know if it was referring to my pace or if its was an instruction.  Either way it hit the nail on the head.

My knees are exceptionally sore and my head just could not get into it this evening.  Running through puddles yesterday was just about bearable but tottering around floods as deep as an olympic pool is something else.  Really slowed down my progress and meant that where I would normally run on a secure surface I had to run on sand and mud.  The impact is what slowed me and hurt me.

I also ate properly today, not just stuffing a few things in before the run, but an almost balanced diet for breakfast and lunch.  However, it felt like I had no energy and a persistent stitch for the whole run.

I'm sure someone out there would tell me to forget the negatives, my knees will heal and things will get easier and maybe I should listen to them, but right now I am looking forward to not running over the weekend.  

Next week is the second week of training and although I will push through and complete it, this is now looking like a much bigger challenge than it did at the start of the week.

4th January - Bootylicious

Thursday 4th Jan
Today's run was one of learning and achievements.  

I managed to run 10km after work (yes it was a short shift) and it made the run the longest so far this year.  I know we are only four days in, but hey ho, its still the longest and I managed to get through it.  I also achieved this whilst wearing my running clothes, when it would have been far more appropriate to wear either a wetsuit or 22 layers of waterproofs and wellies.

In other words it was wet.  And when I say it was wet, I'm pretty sure I dried off in the shower!  This did make it slightly harder as my trainers were getting heavier and heavier with every step I took.

The other achievement from today was becoming the Strava Local Legend on Galloping Gibby.  Honestly, I have absolutely no idea where on the run this is, and it is highly possible that I am the only person who runs on this part.  But still at this point in the marathon training I'll happily take any achievement going.

So what did I learn today?

1)  I am as quick as a greyhound style dog.  If you don't believe me ask the two that were running alongside.  (OK maybe they weren't going full speed, but at least they were beside me, not tripping me up - put them on leads people!).
2)  I am faster than the M25 (most people are, but worth putting it down).
3)  I am a lot faster than the A3 during the commute (again not difficult.)
4)  Puddles are really cold.  I don't mean cold like walking into a freezer or going outside on a bright spring morning.  I mean screaming expletives every time the -40 degree water seeped through my trainers.
5)  My trainers are not waterproof.  I already knew this, but seeing as the majority of the time I have worn them before it has been dry I had forgotten.
6)  Apart from my knees being a bit sore, I could've gone further.  Physically I had more in me.  Mentally, I was well on my way to Brighton.  The only reason I didn't push it today was that I am intending to run again tomorrow and have a training plan in place. (yes, fellow runners I am actually following some sort of plan).

Again, this run has put me in a great mood and (don't tell anyone) I am starting to enjoy this whole running thing - especially the food after.  It may be the challenge, or the exercise or any number of factors but I hope it keeps the smile on the face and the darkness at bay.

2nd January - Simply The Best

Tuesday 2nd Jan
Writing this now I have been up for just over 15 hours of the day and it has been a long hard slog to get through it.  An extra three hours at work, amber weather warnings (with what feels like a hurricane outside) and general January blues has made it drag.  The only bit of joy I got was going for a run.

It was a simple 5k on a route I have taken many times (well about three or four times before).  I'm not sure if it was the wind pushing me along and keeping me cool, or the blaring music in my ears, the actual endorphins created by doing exercise or a mixture of the above.  Who knows?  But it was actually a pleasurable run.

Come to think of it, it could've been the music mixed with the solitude.  My arms were going wild as I ran along to the signature track from Six - The Musical (which I put on repeat five times).  

I was close to putting the run off until tomorrow, but like so many things in life you just have to get on and do it.  You know things like going to work, doing the housework and putting a smile on your face when its the last thing you want to do.  

As much as I enjoyed the run, I wish I could've kept going and continue blocking out the real world.  My training plan has come through for the marathon, which means very little to me as it assumes you do not work in retail or hospitality thus throwing me into a bit of turmoil and questioning whether to just keep going and do my own thing or adapt work to fit around my new found running life?  If I had kept running I would've not stumbled over the kerb behind my house, possibly twisting my knee.  If I had kept running I could also have avoided a phone call which I made in as much trepidation.

As much as I want to keep this blog upbeat and focussed on my running performance, I also think it is important to highlight what other factors are going on in my life and how running might actually start seeing the light a bit more easily.

Anyway, I'm torn between another 5k or a longer run tomorrow.  I'll decide when I wake up.

Oh and I've run out of diet coke, which is also causing me a shit storm!

New Year's Day

Monday 1st Jan
I genuinely cannot remember the last time I woke up on NYD without a thumping headache - or even waking up sober from the night before.  Generally, if I was working, I would turn up in such a state, I would end up either throwing up or crying or trying to leave early or all of the above.

This year was completely different.  Having hit the sack by 11pm (but not sleeping until after the firework celebrations - was a 45 minute display really necessary?!?!) I manage to drag my ass out of bed and get out for a run.  In a turn of events, I was only twenty minutes later than planned.  

How to start a New Year.  

Today's run was - to say the least - pleasant.  I wasn't in pain.  I can still move.  But most importantly, it was soooooo quiet.  I think I passed three people and a dog throughout the entire time.  It was lovely having the footpaths to myself, and really running just for me.  I didn't have to jump in hedges to avoid people.  I managed to keep a decent pace throughout and overall it put me in an amazing mood.

The mood even continued into the long ass shift that followed.  The physical side of me though had me wanting to curl up in an armchair by 5pm.  If ever, you fancy going out on NYD in the future, please don't.  Especially if your server has done exercise beforehand.  Actually, just don't go out, because even without the exercise, the chances are your server is not in the mood.

It was so odd enjoying the run and feeling great afterwards, and its runs like this that will help me get back out there tomorrow. (Fingers crossed)

Happy New Year!

29th December - Since you've been gone

Friday 29th Dec
Once upon a time, many many years ago there lived a man called Philippides.  Philippides was a messenger who during one big battle saw some ships change direction and needed to spread the news, so he ran and he ran and he ran a bit more.  He took of his clothes to make him lighter and kept running and running and running until he eventually reached a magical land called Athens and declared 'We have won.'  After this he promptly collapsed and died.  The End.

Though it wasn't the end, his running inspired many people to do something called a 'marathon.'  To many people he was and still is considered a hero.  Personally I think he's a bit of a nob.

Firstly, a marathon is a long distance and no-one just runs it without training - which quite frankly is becoming a bit a ball-ache and I haven't even started training properly yet.  Its no wonder he collapsed and died.

Secondly, he was probably running without shoes on.  This is cheating as he didn't have to worry about his shoelaces coming undone (twice this evening on my run) and the mud was probably quite cooling on his feet (it just added instability to me).

Thirdly, he was stripping to make himself lighter.  Sorry but have you been outside recently, it freezing and if I stripped not only would I get hypothermia, I'd most likely be arrested.

Fourthly, I'm sure even in the olden days, there could've been an easier way to pass on a message - jump on a horse or send smoke signal.  I don't know, but did he really have to run all the way??

Fifthly (if that's even a word) and finally, I doubt he had just done a whole day's work beforehand (the story says he was just out watching the ships) and mostly ate food that would support him.  I found out this evening that two mince pies and a handful of pringles is not the best pre-run sustenance (that was a bugger of a stitch at 3k).

However, because of that bastard Philippides I am setting the goal to run all the way in April when I do the marathon, but the only message passed on at the end is, 'Get me a cider.'  I'm also hoping I don't follow his lead with the whole collapsing and dying thing.  

On another note, it was a slow run this evening.  I tend to run more slowly in the evening, because I am relying on a headtorch to see and usually I am tired and completely malnourished.  However, I did get to see some pretty lights from Wisley and it took me to 20k in total this week.  Not a bad achievement, in my personal opinion. As yet I'm not sure if I will go for a run before work tomorrow (which should be interesting before a ten hour shift on my feet)

28th December - One Day More

Thursday 28th Dec
So ... going for a run today was really rather difficult.  Still stiff from two days ago, tired and enjoying the warmth of my bad far too much, I ended up going two and a half hours later than planned, without having a proper breakfast to support the exercise I was about to do.  (Though two very delicious chocolates is still a breakfast.)

Stepping outside of my front door ready to go, it turns out that we are at the tail end of a bloody storm meaning it was wet and windy.  Part of the training advice is to start your run into the wind and end it with the wind behind you.  The issue with this is ... its a bloody storm meaning you are hit from every angle bloody possible.  But I had taken long enough to get ready (most of that time is putting my trainers on) so off I went.

In one sense the rain was good, as it cooled me down and hid the sweaty mess.  However, by the end of the run the sun decided to shine meaning I was a tired sweaty mess.  

It ended up being quite a good run, and my second fastest 5k without even realising.  Something that was potentially helpful with that is my slight insecurity over training.  Whenever people are around, I tend to go a bit faster so I don't look so feeble!  This works most of the time, but please if you see me running on a narrow footpath, please get your damned dogs out of the way.  I'm heavy.  I have momentum.  Its going to hurt! (The signs also ask that they are kept on a lead so bloody read the signs).  I also increase my speed when I pass work in case any of my colleagues see me.  I'm sure I'm not the only one who does this and if I am I don't overly care!

The other thing that got me through was the amount of 'Les Mis' songs that I accidentally put on repeat.  These set a great pace for me, and as I try to sing along to them, it helps regulate my breathing.

Despite feeling like absolute shite before the run, it has really helped me with today.  I'm happily typing this waffle, I'm looking forward to doing some housework now that I am enthused, and I'm treating myself to a cheeky pint later on today (a day where I could happily avoid all human interaction).

I'm hoping my Burnt Chef beanie comes in the next few days as it'll be a pleasure wearing it when I'm out on my runs (and hides the fact that I am in desperate need of a haircut.)

Today, I can honestly say my mental health is in a good place, so if anyone is looking for some inspiration, please do go out and get some fresh air, try doing something active, or just set yourself a goal.  Even if that goal is doing the washing up, you can achieve it!

I hope I can walk tomorrow.

Boxing Day

Tuesday 26th Dec
Whilst everyone is feasting on their leftover turkey, playing their family games or getting over their Christmas hangover, I thought it would be a good idea to go for a run.  Not just any run, but my final 10km run of 2023, and the first 10km I have done since April.  I'm glad to announce that I did survive it!

I had intended to start my training plan on the 7th December, giving me four months to train before the Brighton Marathon, but then life got in the way.  Not only did have to do the whole going to work thing, I have also had to fight off an infection, stop fainting, stop the random nosebleeds and recover from calcification on the shoulder - which is beyond bloody painful.  All this life stuff pushed my training back by over two weeks.

But now we start again.  This week, I will mostly be just telling myself to get the hell out there and bloody run.  It doesn't matter how far.  It doesn't matter about pace, and it doesn't matter about time.  Just get the hell out there.  

For those of you reading this, you may think this is a simple thing to achieve, especially when you don't have a distance or time goal, but getting out there is the biggest hurdle for me.  Firstly, its not the warmest.  Secondly, I'm lazy and enjoy sitting on my sofa - I'd go so far to say that sitting on my sofa is my favourite hobby and one I truly excel in.  Thirdly, running takes effort and I am constantly knackered.  So yes getting out there today was a massive achievement for me.

But I did it.

Physically, I am sore and it will be very interesting at work tomorrow if my body decided to seize up.  I did try warming down etc, but that really doesn't mean I will be fine.  I also need to buy new running trainers and my feet are not my best friend at the moment.

Mentally, I feel great.  I wasn't sure if I would get to 10km, and there were points in the run, where I was very tempted to say f*ck it and turn around.  But I did it. 

Running also helps my brain.  Putting my headphones in and listening to cheesy pop music mixed with some show tunes lets me escape the thoughts of the real world and concentrate on me.  No work.  No bills.  No phone calls.  No nothing.  Just me and my tunes - today was especially good when 'Livin La Vida Loca' came on.  I didn't even care about the random looks when my arms start dancing to the music or I try to sing along.  Running is me time and a great boost to my mental health.  

Its exactly for this reason that I'm doing the Brighton Marathon 2024 for me and The Burnt Chef Project.  Its my challenge, whilst helping to challenge the stigma associated with mental health in an industry I have committed my working life to.

The other amazing thing about going for a run is that you can basically eat whatever you want afterwards (this is not professional advice - I'm pretty sure experts would argue with me).  Post run nourishment today is Boxing Day Pie and sandwiches and crisps.  I'm sure there is some kind of veg in the pie so it counts as healthy - not that I need to justify it!

As you may have seen from this my blogging skills are not the best, but I intend to do more of this, and so will hopefully improve.  If you want to read more, keeping popping back and see how my progress goes.  And if you're feeling generous, feel free to give a little sponsorship.

Thank you to my Sponsors


Chef Brwa Ahmad


Oxford And Cambridge Club

From all the members and staff at the Oxford and Cambridge Club sending best wishes and good luck for your marathon.


Alistair Telfer

Good luck for your marathon, we will be cheering you on in spirit!


Manuel Cerrone

We are very proud of your work for this very important charity. We send our very best wishes for a good marathon for you.


Karina Turi

You inspire me everyday! Mental health support is so important! You got this! And I don't think it's wrong to run to the pub for a pint, I bet the run home was fun 😂 keep up the good work.


Val Benney

Go Ian! Wishing you a successful run x


Vicky Vellidou

Good luck on your marathon this Sunday 😁 . Great work in supporting this vital cause!


The Hahntinis

Good luck E! Glad you’re enjoying it, fingers crossed for a PB xxx



Go Ian Go



Had to one up meow


Tom Cunningham

Well done mate!!! My hero 🦸


Lucy Crowther

Incredible Ian, such a huge accomplishment. Well Done. You should be very proud.


Stephen Lay

Damn. You beat my London ‘22 time. Sponsorship doubled as a result!


Caroline Mantle

You’ve smashed the training, and I know you’ll smash the marathon. It’s a great cause! Do it for both of us x


David And Mimi

Champion x


Jill Meyerhoff

Hi Ian good man enjoy and keep up with your fabulous footwork .. have fun Cheers Jill🌈💃


John Monday

Cheering for you all the way Mr Lay 💪 Taking on the challenge is something to be proud of and I know you’ll take it even further to cross that finish line. Well done Ian 👏❤️


Tom & Maddy

Well done, Ian


Chey Greer

Well done xxx


Tracy Horlock

Hey Ian, still can’t believe you doing this but so proud of you keep it up xxx


Julie Mc

Well done with the training Ian and best of luck for next week. Your Mum would be so proud xx


Kerry Cole


John And Jo

Great effort Ian! Enjoyed your blog x



Good luck x


Colin Mackie

Go for it mate


Is No1

Good luck



You’ve got this sausage!


Julia From The Anchor

Better late than never. Sad I can’t be there to cheer you on but I’m so proud of you!!! Xx


Jake & Sarah


Helen Hocking

Soooo impressed Ian Good luck


Elizabeth Rowe

You have trained hard, now enjoy.


Jackie Mcquarrie



Well done mate, I’m proud of you.


Kerrie Brewer

Well done Ian! What a fab achievement!


Robert Thackery

From the gents on Table 31


Katie Hopkins

smashed it Ian



congratulations! You are amazing and inspiring!


Alexander Fookes


Mr Ian Lay


Mr Ian Lay


Joe Upton

love you ian keep going x been watching the whole time!


Verity Hastings


Francesca Vincent

Good luck for the marathon! You’ll do great ☺️ (hopefully) - Sorry I couldn’t donate more but broke uni student

My Team Members