On your marks…

Here’s my sticker chart, haven’t I been a good boy.

I’ve been meaning to start documenting my running & health journey more regularly but the usual trifecta of imposter syndrome, motivation and knowing what to write got the better of me.

The thing I have been  most self-conscious about is being another selfie and inspirational quote merchant who doesn’t add that much value. Given my sometimes very unmotivated mental state it felt hard to come up with original content that might be useful for others.

Finally, I’ve decided to get my finger out and JFDI.

To start with I’ll simply document what I’ve been up to and summarise any key takeaways or learning points in the hope that something I write is useful for others.

Working from home

With my remote team settled and things ticking over nicely, the office was looking like a waste of money so I’m getting rid of it. Whilst we get it mothballed and all the lease stuff sorted out I have started working from home again.

This is challenging to say the least when the kids are home for school holidays and I’m defaulting to providing basic childcare. Thankfully they are older  (youngest is nine) so it’s not a huge overhead to give them some lunch. It’s more the noise and inevitable interruptions I get as well as them generating such a huge amount of mess!

Marathon Training

With a base fitness of 20 injury-free miles per week over the past 6 months or so and following me getting a cracking time at a very tough trail half over the Long Mynd, I decided to make a second attempt at 26.2 miles. This time I have a firm goal of coming in under 4 hours which means me working to a target pace of 8:45 minutes per mile.

For perspective that’s 26 miles back-to-back, each at around the same pace I ran my first Parkrun at 😱

I’m following a 12 week plan and things are going very well so far, everything crossed. The miles have ramped up to more than 40 per week and my legs are handling it. I’m also managing to fit all the runs into the rest of my life as well as be prepped in terms of pre and post run fuelling (that’ll be food to you).

I am very tired, though. It’s not unknown to have ran 30 miles in 2-3 days.

My rest days are like a little holiday.

Most importantly, I can handle the pace as well as the distance. Every few weeks the plan dictates a long run with some of it at race pace. Doing 17 miles recently, mostly at marathon pace, was a huge confidence boost. When I was training for London just doing the long run distance was the challenge.

At the time of writing I have 6 full weeks of training left before the Chester marathon on 8th October.

Physio report

I ‘fessed up and told him I’m training for a marathon.

“What! You said you’d keep it light, just some halves over the summer” (etc)

Turns out I’m getting away with it so far. I’m flexible with great movement and most importantly: there are no shin issues – through over-training I had the beginnings of a stress fracture on my right shin during my previous marathon training (amongst various other injuries).

I got a glowing health report and am to continue all my stretching and rolling but should not – at pain of death – do any speed or hill work.

On plan races are OK, yay.

Things I’ve learned*

* I’m not cheating here, this is just in the past few weeks.

Autumn Marathon training is an order of magnitude easier than a spring training

It stands to reason.  Would you prefer to do a 17 mile long run in the freezing rain and snow on a dark February morning or on a mild July afternoon with some cloud cover?

There’s also simply more time. Even in late August it is light early and sunset isn’t until 8pm.


Be good to your feet

This is pretty obvious, sure. But really be good to them, pamper them.

If you do any mileage you’ve probably got at least one runner’s toe, a black nail or bits hanging off. This doesn’t have to happen. Try and pad your shoe or tape some toes together, see what works.

There are different ways to tie your shoes

Not one or two ways, lots of ways.

There are specific exercises just for feet and toes

I’ve got calf-raises in my workout and I have a special roller for my feet but I had no idea there were so many exercises for feet & toes.

Moisturising your feet is a thing

As well as the hard skin at the back of my foot I started getting bits of hard skin building up on the side of my toes. Physio has told be to work on this. File it down and – a completely new one to me – moisturise my feet.

It would never have occurred to me that feet moisturising was a) needed or b) a thing.


I kept it light this first post to ensure I press publish.

Marathon training is going well and I’m on track for sub four hours in six weeks. No pressure.


6 responses to “On your marks…”

  1. Mark Chadderton Avatar
    Mark Chadderton

    Really good post! I came across it whilst looking for some shortcut keys on the internet! I too am a forty something man who is/was a little too unhealthy. I found running a few years ago and have completed several half marathons since then but never the 26.2.
    I don’t do anything to look after my feet and after getting up to around 30 miles per week in training a few weeks ago, I started to get blisters (unheard of for me!) So thanks to your blog I am now going to start looking after my feet. Look forward to the next instalment. Good luck with the Marathon training.

    1. bealers Avatar

      Thanks Mark, appreciated.

  2. Ant Heald Avatar

    JFDI really needs to become my motto. The fact I’m making this comment at all is a start. Really I’m jut checking in (you came up in a search about OneNote – can you assign a file to a *new* notebook when uploading from the ipad app? It seems not) to acknowledge reading your blog and to say keep it up. I too came to running in middle age and suffer from imposter syndrome and lack of motivation, so it’s nice to read something that isn’t all motivational bollocks, product placement, or obsession over stats and labyrinthine training plans.

    1. Hi Ant, thanks!

      Regarding your OneNote query, do you mean when using the web clipper from your browser? If so, no, you can’t send to a new section/notebook, I know this as it was something I attempted to do last week (but that was from my desktop machine)

      1. Ant Heald Avatar

        That is what I meant, yes. I’m trying to work out a sensible work-flow and without that functionality I don’t think OneNote can be central to it, but I can’t find any adequate way of saving different resource types (pdfs, html pages etc) from the web in iOS direct to storage that can be organised on the fly. I’ve been more or less exclusively hooked in to the Google ecosystem for years, but recently got an Office 365 home subscription so with 1TB of storage thrown in it seemed to make sense to stop paying for GDrive and throw my lot in with the MS apps, but I feel awkwardly caught between various wobbly stools at the moment! I love Gmail’s inbox app, and don’t want to abandon it for Outlook, for instance, but can’t attach files from OneDrive within the Gmail app.

        Anyhow, should I ask how Chester marathon went?

        1. Hey. I wonder whether you could do something with IFTTT or Zapier to trigger a new notebook or section being created based on changes in a OneDrive folder. Might be worth some investigation.

          I smashed Chester, thanks. 3 hours 39!

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