How I Ran Sub-4 Hour in my First Marathon

My London Marathon Training header

This time last year I was in full panic mode at how on earth I was going to run 26.2 miles around London in a time I was proud of. I don’t just ‘try’ things. If I start something I’m getting it done properly. London Marathon 2019 was no different.

By the title of my blog it’s pretty obvious I’m not a runner, so it was my first marathon as well as never having actually done a running event before. From so much cycling you’d maybe think I’d find swapping my bike for running shoes a breeze, but I quickly found out it was a whole different type of fitness. A good 3-4 hours on my bike could match a 2 hour run effort-wise. It was a steep learning curve that’s for sure.Β That steep learning curve also means this isn’t a blog post for seasoned club runners, just those who jumped in the deep end like me feeling like a rabbit in headlights.

I owe a lot of my training inspiration to Rachel Ann Cullen, who is the author of ‘Running for my Life’. Her story was amazing to read as a lot of my previous reading was from athletes like the Brownlee Brothers. My head was full of speed sets when in reality I just needed to get miles in my legs. Rachel’s gone on to do London multiple times now, so she’s certainly moved to the seasoned runner category!

So how did I accomplish a sub-4 hour London Marathon simply?

From the start of October when the ‘Congratulations’ magazine dropped through the letterbox I only had 7 months to go from cyclist to runner. After reading Rachel’s book I streamlined my training plan drastically and here’s a little example of how it went.

LM Blog

So rather than having weeks broken down into a strict training plan, I had simple milestones to reach before the big day. For me it was a training plan that was realistic with a job where I’m on my feet all day. I had injuries along the way, but I think if I’d tackled London with any more training I would have had a DNF or even a DNS.

After running the Half Marathon in 1:51 I had a rough idea of what I could run London in, which was under 4 hours. From then on it was just a case of continuing to up the miles and try and stick to around 8 and a half minute miling.

Lucys Marathon

For the 20 miler I clocked a time of 2:52.

Then smashed London in 3:57.

The point I’m trying to put across is that tackling London Marathon doesn’t need to be complicated. If you have a coach, then fab listen to them. If you still feel like a rabbit in headlights, then I have a few little rules to follow:

My LM Rules

Got your own tips and tricks for training for a marathon? Feel free to drop them below in a comment!

Want to read more about my London Marathon 2019 training? Then hear’s my training in blog posts:

#InternationalWomensDay

International Womens Day

8th March marks International Women’s Day and rather than a long rambling post about equality amongst other things, I thought I would keep things positive by sharing a few women that inspire me to lead the life I do.

#1 Leena Gade

Since I ventured into the world of engineering, Leena’s achievements have definitely helped encourage me along the way. In the ‘man’s world’ of engineering, a career in the industry can sometimes be a little daunting.

#2 Lucy Charles

Whilst the thought of doing some of her training sessions makes me shudder, I love following Lucy’s training for Triathlon and Ironman competitions. If she’s not swimming she’s cycling, and if neither of those she’s probably running. Then there’s her gym work too. It makes me tired just typing it all!

#3 Jazz Carlin

I met the GB Swimmer when she came to my local gym for an event with Speedo and she is one of the most down to earth people I have met. Keen to help people with their swimming! I am always jealous however when she posts about training camps from somewhere much hotter than the UK.

#4 Joanna Rowsell Shand

I’ve been lucky enough to meet this incredible athlete at a Time Trial her and her husband organised in the West Pennines. I certainly didn’t expect to see her marshalling on the side of the road in the pouring rain warning us about a rather big pothole! With a big involvement in British Cycling’s Breeze programme, she’s doing more work than ever encouraging people to get active by riding bikes.

#5 Claire Rose

I met Claire at the Isle of Man in 2017 in the hours before she won her National TT Championship title. Her relaxed personality was a breath of fresh air from the ‘serious athlete’ personalities that were in abundance on the day of the big race. With a big team change this year, I’m looking forward to seeing how her season turns out!

Happy #InternationalWomensDay !

Who are your inspiring role models when it comes to being a #girlboss ? Leave them in the comments below!