My Battle to get to Loch Ness Marathon

October 01, 2022

T-minus twenty four hours until I run in my first marathon in three years. Phil Knox on getting back to marathons

I wrote a blog post 12 weeks ago at the start of my training regime, but didn't publish anything since. It's a bit of a gap alright. Motivation can be tough sometimes. But let me tell you it's even tougher when you hit your mid 30s and you are marathon training for the first time after a long lay off. And for shits and gigs I got a bad case of the flu and a hellish dose of covid that prevented me training for two weeks. It's not been easy. 

The Loch Ness Marathon

So what's the event? The Loch Ness Marathon. It is easily the most beautiful and picturesque marathon in Scotland. Or perhaps in the UK. It often features in a lot of these top ten fixtures that you see in running magazines that are constantly republished to fill up page space. Not that its place is undeserved (going by the feedback of others). More feedback includes that the first half is downhill and there's an awful uphill stretch near the end (apparently). Interestingly it's a point to point marathon, so we'll be bussed out to Loch Ness from Inverness in the (very early) morning and then we will run into and finish back in Inverness. I haven't had to do that since the Connemara half in 2012 so it should be an interesting experience.

My Marathon Training

So how's training going? It's going. I had a few long runs up to 12 miles before the aul coronavirus hit and I've struggled to get back to even 10 miles. But I've been running 5 times a week and it's been from 5 to 8 miles per run. Which sounds OK in terms of mileage but my pace has been awful. Like super slow and it wasn't even great before I got covid. So you can imagine what it's like now. So yeah marathon training is going. I have lost a good bit of weight too which is a bonus though. Am I aiming for a time? Not really. It sounds a bit cliché but I'm just aiming to finish the race. My training has been far from ideal and I haven't achieved from it what I had hoped to achieve. If I'm to put an exact time on it I'll say 5 and half hours, just to be safe.

The Marathon Countdown

So what is to be said about the final 24 hours before the race? Well I've forgotten about what a military operation it is preparing for a marathon. There's a long checklist: running shoes, clothes, GPS watch, energy gels, hip bag (more commonly known as bum bag), hat, thermals, earphones (bone conducting of course), vaseline etc etc. My transport plans to get to Inverness are also thrown into disarray by the Scot Rail strike meaning I'll have to get a slow cumbersome regional bus to Inverness that will take double the time of its rail counterpart to get there. Not ideal but I won't let it bother me. It is best to stay stress free and relax in the twenty four hours before a big race. Once I arrive it's just a matter of picking up the marathon number and checking into the guesthouse. I also have a reservation with the better half for a reasonably fancy Asian fusion restaurant later on in the evening.

Aims for tomorrow? Run the marathon, finish the marathon and enjoy the occasion. Oh and have a well earned pint of plain.