Lessons learned on the long slow run

I learnt a few lessons on today’s long run. As I sit here writhing around in pain, alternating between the foam roller, yoga mat, and pan of leftover roast potatoes in the kitchen, I’m still learning them now.

It was a stunningly beautiful run beneath a clear blue sky along the clifftops and up through Telscombe to join the South Downs Way. Up is the operative word here, folks. Some of those hills were just proper beasts. I cycled the same route with hubs on Valentine’s Day the other way around so I knew what was coming and let me tell you, they are MUCH easier on two wheels.

FitBits - South Downs Way - RunBrighton - Brighton Marathon Training

But, I guess we already knew that. And if running marathons was easy, we wouldn’t do it, would we? So I’m banking those horrendously difficult miles (even the bits walked because my knees were telling me to), and am gonna share with you the varying levels of joy/disgust/hatred/elation at the situation throughout the run:

Warm up: 
Shit, RunBrighton are warming up in 40 minutes. What happened to my “I’ll leave at 7:30 to give me enough time to get there”? Bloody Twitter. Quick – do a few leg swings and lunges and then get going.

Mile 1: 
My knees hurt, maybe I should’ve done a few more lunges to warm up.

Mile 2: 
Knees still not happy. Stop – get on those lunges. Calf stretch. mmmmm… The sun’s coming out and I have three layers on…

Mile 3: 
Really quite hot now, this jacket is coming off. Ooh! Legs happy. YAY. What’s the time? Shit, RunBrighton are leaving the cafe in 10mins. Better pick it up.

Mile 4: 
Ooh this is a bit fast for the beginning of a long run. There they are, coming out now. Just in time. Phew! These New Balance trail shoes are great on the road. Hope they don’t give me blisters again, think that was just because they got wet on the trail.

Mile 5: 
Ah, I love running along these cliffs, look at this weather, look at this view, we’re so lucky. I love running. I love lamp.

Mile 6: 
I really don’t mind these hills, they used to kill me last year, but I’m much stronger now. This is gonna be a great run.

Mile 7-8: 
Cross the road and turn into the trail. This hill’s OK too. Sort of. Head down, get on with it. Oh no! I forgot to take my first gel! *takes gel* Wish I did find my water bottle this morning, this tastes like poo. Ah, down into Telscombe. Such a pretty village.

This one’s gonna be a bitch to run back up, I remember cycling it.

FitBits - South Downs Way - RunBrighton - Brighton Marathon Training

Mile 9: 
And back up out of Telscombe. Oh this is the bottom of that hill that me and hubs rode down and had to politely part the cows. Looks so different in the sunshine. Oh… it’s the bottom. Shit. The ambassador is opening the gate.

I don’t want to go through, there’s a hill through there.

No thank you.

FitBits - South Downs Way - RunBrighton - Brighton Marathon Training

Oh bloody hell go on then.

FitBits - South Downs Way - RunBrighton - Brighton Marathon Training

Mile 10: 
Up. Up. Up. My knees hurt. Oh it’s so pretty up here. My feet hurt. Ahhh we’re so lucky to live here. Blatant blisters. I want to stop. Can I get a lift from here? These cows have got the right idea. *takes photo*

FitBits - South Downs Way - RunBrighton - Brighton Marathon Training

Mile 11: 
Can we turn yet can we turn yet can we turn yet YAY turn point!! What goes up…

Mile 12: 
…must come down. Ouch. Actually. Ohhhh. And back up… And then down again. My knees. ARRGH. Oh bum it I’ve forgotten to take another gel. *takes gel*

FitBits - South Downs Way - RunBrighton - Brighton Marathon Training

Mile 13: 
I hate running. I hate marathons. I can’t do this. Ouch. My knees hate me. Sod everything. Ooh quick – look happy and smiley for the villagers of Telscombe heading to church. *grimaces*

Mile 14: 
Ahhhh, sort of flat/gentle down hill. I can see the sea. YAY. *picks pace up* Definitely got blisters. Ouch. These shoes aren’t gonna cut it for Fort William.

Mile 15: 
Saltdean. Ooh yay the ambassadors brought water at the gate. *picks one up* YAY 15 miles! Argh my legs are fooked. Down hills killed the knees. Ou est le bloody cafe then? It was closer to here on the way out.

My feet/legs/soul hurt.

Mile 16: 
I swear they’ve moved it. Where’s this bloody cafe? Can I stop running yet?

Mile 17: 
WHERE’S THIS BLOODY CAFE DAMMIT?! Ahhh there it is. YAY 17 miles! My legs are screaming. I hate running. I hate marathons. What’s that, Michele? “Sprint finish?”

Oh, bloody go on then…

FitBits - South Downs Way - RunBrighton - Brighton Marathon Training - Tess Agnew

Lessons learned

So then, boys and girls. A few lessons learned for me today:

  1. If running to meet the RunBrighton group, leave enough time for a proper warm up. 
  2. Find water bottle the night before, don’t faff about trying to find it in the morning. 
  3. It’s Spring. You don’t need 100 layers any more. 
  5. These shoes gave you blisters last time and you thought it was because it was wet. It wasn’t. These shoes are evil and you need better socks / Compeed / everything people on Twitter have recommended. 
  6. Get straight in the ice bath when you get home, no faffing. 
  7. The foam roller is your friend. No, really. 
  8. So is the yoga mat. 
  9. Running sucks. 
  10. You’ll never, ever stop though. 


What lessons are you learning on your long slow runs and how do you deal with the confidence knock?