...but no rest from the training!

The month of August began up in Keswick, where Feba was once again exhibiting at the annual Convention. Since 1875, Christians have gathered in the picturesque town in the North Lakes for an event that from the very beginning has aimed 'to help those wanting to know God better and to live godly Christian lives'. Alongside and woven into the teaching and worship programme, there is a strong mission focus and it is therefore a great opportunity to let people know what God is doing through Feba today.

The Lake District also offers a plethora of options for running routes across varied terrain, and almost invariably with breathtaking views. The weather is notoriously unpredictable but frequently damp / often very wet, yet it is always stunning. 

A riverside path near Portinscale, in heavy rain

During a pre-breakfast run close to home on 10th August, I hit a milestone: I passed the 1,000km mark for 2022. I have set myself an informal goal of covering at least 1,600km (1,000 miles) this year and at the moment that seems achievable. As with everything else, however, that is of course dependent on staying fit and avoiding injury; I'm not being pessimistic at all, but the truth is that many people do experience such setbacks when pursuing these sort of distances, especially as novices - which I most definitely am.

Our family holiday was spent in Suffolk where we stayed on a small campsite on a working farm. The 26 acres of orchard were planted with a variety of apples for eating and drinking, and we actually saw some being juiced whilst we were there; we were later given a bottle of the fresh juice - less than 48 hours after the fruit had been picked. Not surprisingly, it was delicious!

The absence of hills in Suffolk was something of a relief, given that our stay coincided with another heatwave. We found ourselves shuffling chairs around the perimeter of the field seeking whatever shade we could find, and the prospect of running any significant distance in such temperatures really didn't appeal. The ground was extremely dry and hard underfoot, with some quite sizeable cracks clearly visible through the stubble as I ran through nearby flat fields.

Suffolk summer stubble

The final day of our stay on the farm looked set to be a fraction cooler (but still plenty warm enough!), so I deferred the scheduled long run (i.e. normally completed over the weekend) to that Tuesday and plotted a course from the campsite to my in-laws, where we were to stay for our last night. It was virtually all on small, quiet roads through sparsely populated areas, but I was thankful for a village pub to refill my water bottles and neighbouring CoOp where I bought some apple juice; a second water refill came later, when I spotted someone receiving a courier delivery and asked if I could use their outside tap. It is possible to carry a certain amount of food and drink in a running pack, but there is a limit - and the less one has to carry for the duration, the better!

Loaded up for a long run (31.5km / 19.5 miles)

Over the course of 3hr 15min, I drank the best part of 2 litres and ate more than 20 jelly babies plus most of a bagel and a piece of flapjack! At the same time, my Garmin watch calculated that I burned approximately 2,225 calories, so I don't feel too bad about my otherwise excessive snacking. Fuelling for these training runs - and the marathon itself - does require some thought, in order to avoid the sort of depletion and exhaustion that can so easily cause someone to come to a grinding halt.

My wife and I also had a couple of days in St Albans in late August. The weather broke quite spectacularly and there was heavy rain on the first morning, which left me thoroughly soaked to the skin. The run itself, however, was generally pleasant and a good opportunity to explore a bit, including a stretch through woodland where I spotted sloes and some very autumnal-looking leaves. Time is undeniably marching on.

An autumnal path on a sloe run

So, in the month of August I covered a total of 249km (about 155 miles). I now have just three longish runs left in the training plan - including the maximum training distance of 32km due on 10th September - before the period of 'tapering', when the focus switches to conserving fitness and energy ready for the big day. It is all starting to feel very real...

Whether or not you choose to sponsor me, thank you very much for taking time to read, and for your kind words of encouragement and prayers too. I can assure you that I'll keep going as best I can, and will update you again at the end of September if not before... by which time it'll be really close!

By the way - if you are planning to be in London on 2nd October, or would like to follow the event from elsewhere, then there's some useful info and advice on this dedicated official webpage from the organisers.

To sponsor Bob's double Marathon efforts, please click here

To read more blog posts about his preparations, please click here

Banner image: Lake District - north of Keswick, looking south towards Derwentwater