By Jess

Only 27 days to go unil the London Marathon! Last week I clocked up a total of 40 miles which was my largest total in a single week so far!

Yesterday was my long run day and I took part in Gade Valley Harriers’ 20-mile marathon training event which runs through the Ashridge Estate and the surrounding area in Hemel Hempstead. This was my longest ever run and I ran at a really good pace, on track to beat 3.30 for the full marathon.

In training for the London Marathon, one of my biggest concerns has been injuries and the fear that it might prevent me from training or getting to the start line, so being able to run a 20-miler just a month before the marathon gave me a real confidence boost.

Initially I wanted to take it easy given that the longest run I’ve done was 17 miles, but after a couple of miles of taking it easy I felt strong and felt like I could run at race pace. With so many people to push me along I ended going at 5 min/km!

The run started from outside the Boxmoor Cricket Club and quickly joined onto the Grand Union Canal. The towpath was a bit muddy, uneven and slippery so I had to watch my footing. At around 4 miles I went up a killer hill that went on for at least a mile, followed by a few more miles of undulating scenic country roads and woody footpaths.

At 17 miles I heard some noise behind me, it sounded like they wanted me to move out of the way but it turned out to be Clinton cycling by, offering me some water! At this point we were going down a steep hill – I was very jealous as he simply freewheelled down whereas I had to constantly break to slow myself down, but at least it was better than going uphill!

Check out this elevation!

Considering this was just a training run I was pleasantly surprised by how well organised it was. There were lots of marshals, mile markers and water stations along the way, as well as a jelly babies stop (at mile 17) and tea and cakes at the end! An absolute bargain for just £10 entry fee!