Marathon training has been a huge leap for us, particularly in terms of distance per week. Looking back at my Strava I can see the progression from 20km/week to 45km/week and this will likely only increase until tapering. Despite the slight niggles that have plagued us on our runs, I’m quite happy that we have managed to increase the distance without injury… I think that one thing that really helped us with making this transition was running through the Christmas holiday. We stayed in Yorkshire for a week with Clinton’s family and went on some lovely trail runs through Studley Deer park.

Run through Frosty Studley Deer Park (13km)
Wednesday 28th December 2016. Time: 1h12. Pace: 5.32/km
Written by: Jess

This was a beautiful crisp run through the Studley Deer Park.  The scenery was breathtaking, which was such a contrast to London streets. We started out from our village over the fields before reaching the deer park.


Winksley Frost

The lighting was surreal over the frosted ground and it had dropped a few degrees to below freezing overnight so that the muddy patches were more icy and uneven than actual bogs.


It felt pretty tranquil running over the frosted grass and seeing deer cross your path.


We had run further than this before, but we don’t typically manage such a long distance during the week. And it really marked the beginning of marathon training for us, and gave us confidence that the marathon was “doable”, even if we hadn’t finalised our training plan at this point.

Yorkshire night run (and hills) with head torches (6.3km)
Monday 26th December 2016. Time: 36min. Pace: 5.48/km
Written by: Jess

We also went for a run in pitch dark with my father in law, Mac. We had just arrived from our long drive up from London and we wanted to get the blood pumping through our legs again. We used the head torches we’d purchased for the Deerstalker race to light our way, which was great at showing us the trees and fences… but not the bogs! Pretty sure we also got lost half way but Mac maintained that it was all part of the plan so we could fit in some extra distance! Being on holiday away from work meant we could really take our time and enjoy our runs.

Winksley Sunset

We ran more often, longer than our usual runs and at a slower pace. Mostly slowed by the hills, bogs and uneven terrain. Since we usually run on tarmac this was a really nice change. You could feel that there was less aching after runs, allowing us to do more.

I’d like to say that I’ve always loved trail running, but that is far from the truth. I’m generally terribly slow on trails… mainly because I always feel like I’m going to trip, particularly when going downhill, and when going through bogs I feel like a five year old running through a ball pit. I still have terrible memories of when my shoe got stuck in the mud (literally, like in the Bridget Jones’ Baby film…) and another time when I slipped literally just after jumping over a 1m wide stream (although Clinton insisted that it was more like a 1m wide wet patch)! I think there was even photographic evidence but I made sure it was well buried before it saw the light of day…

In the few weeks after Christmas, the marathon seemed a whole lot closer, and this was when our distance really started to increase, and I think it’s only because of our long slow trail runs we were able to do this. We had managed to get our bodies used to running further and longer and this had made the transition just a little bit easier.

My final point to encourage holiday running is that you really do have the luxury to pick exactly which time of day suits you. No interference from work or rotas. So you can get really lovely light for your runs! A perfect example is the stunning photo below, taken as the morning sun peaks into the valley of the seven bridges in Studley Deer Park!