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Edinburgh Marathon – Phil Turner shares the details of his Marathon build and how it went on the day

I was fortunate to gain a free place via the club for the Edinburgh Marathon, a Marathon that I had thought about doing for a couple of years. Training had gone reasonably well with no major issues other than my eldest sons stag weekend , and wedding in April, which meant that alcohol was involved in my training, and the fact that 2 of my 20 mile runs were done in the hottest weather of the year.
Phil Marathon history.png
Compared to my previous marathon London as can be seen from my training Log my weekly mileage had been far more consistent however  perhaps because of suffering during my hot long runs, and the forecast being for a warm weekend I was prepared to aim for  a time around 4 hours.
Below is listed April’s training showing a total time spent training of 45 hours
Phil training spreadsheet.png
I travelled up to Edinburgh on the Friday with my wife, probably mistake number one was staying in an Hotel on the Royal Mile complete with Gym Pool and Sauna, this meant that rather than resting on the Friday and Saturday I spent it doing touristy stuff, along with swimming and time in the Sauna.
Sunday, I had breakfast at 7.30 in the hotel, sausage bacon mushrooms followed by porridge. Edinburgh was cool and misty, so mush so that the normal view of Arthur’s Seat was obscured, a good omen that the heat forecast was not going to materialise. The plan was too have a little SJ meetup before the start, I met up with Wayne, Sharon, Alison and Andrea at 9.15am (Karen and Erol had other plans) we headed down to the start together. There were two bag drops depending on your start wave, I was on the green start and was bag drop one. At this point we had a quick group photo and headed to our respective bag drops, this was accomplished in less than 30 seconds which gave me over 30 minutes of standing around in a vest and shorts in a cool misty Edinburgh. There were long queues for the toilets but the pens were not full, so I found somewhere out of the light breeze to wait for the start.
Phil Edinburgh Marathon
The pens were not crowded and as the race started we walked forward on mass, taking 5 minutes to cross the start line, then we were off up from the University, across Cowgate and down the hill towards the Scott Monument. We then headed back over Waverly Bridge along Market street and down the Royal Mile towards Holyrood House. It was then up Queens drive towards Arthur’s Seat, followed by a U turn, and back down again. The Course was pretty much down hill all the way to Portobello nearly five miles of descent, the next twelve miles then pretty much followed the coastline with minor undulations. Through Portobello along the promenade this meant meeting a brisk cooling breeze head on, the fog though had cleared along the coast and the sun was beginning to shine through
My first 10k was covered in 52.30, and first half in 1.51.40, the plan had been to go out at 8.20-30 pace to 20 miles, and then see what was left, so all looking good at this point.
Unfortunately just before 15 mile I could feel my left calf starting to tighten, I have had this a few times, on longer runs, and have found that it is normally a sign of cramp so if I flex my toes and fingers it tends to ease off, all OK, though a little slower than planned until the turn around at 17 miles. Here you head off up a gravel track through Gosford Park, the calf then felt like it had seized up, I continued to run but my pace was slowing further.
Back out onto the road back towards Musselburgh It was good to get a shout out from Wayne, followed by Karen, and then Andrea, then at 20 miles my calf made itself known. From now on it became a battle of wills. Fortunately it was at this point that the crowds that had been great all of the way round, now in the final 6 miles they really made themselves known and the final mile was more like the crowds in London with some great support
Despite not having the best of runs I found Edinburgh very enjoyable, and would like the opportunity to run it again, what I can’t quite work out is why I had issues, as my training whilst slightly different to both Abingdon and London, I had hoped would produce a better time.
I have been suffering from DOMS for the last 2 days particularly in the quads, which I put down to the amount of down hill, and whether that is also why I had calf issues I will have to be discovered on another training cycle.
The next marathon training cycle will be for London next year what changes will I make? I have been swimming, and cycling each week, so only 4 days running. I will add in a gym session and aim for 5 days a week. Hopefully I can build back in an interval session and will aim for a few more 50 mile weeks plus perhaps a 60 mile week.
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