Preparing for a Marathon

Debbie Apostilides shares her experience training for the Brighton Marathon.

Marathon Training Diary

Boxing Day. A good a day as any to start training. Zoe, (daughter) Dexter (dog) and I head off to Wimbledon Common for our first joint training run. It’s not as early in the day as I would have liked but it is the Christmas holidays. Using my running watch we clock up 4.2 miles which is ‘once’ round.

27.12.14 To Wimbledon Common again – this time ‘twice’ around. We put Dexter in the car after the first circle and are happy to have doubled our normal distance. However it feels hard and the common is muddy and slippery. I forget to stretch before getting back into the car and arrive home very stiff. 8 miles – we have a long way to go.

29.12.14 To Wimbledon again. As before, take Dexter round just once and do the 8 miles. We debate as to whether we should add on another mile or two, but when we get near the car we decide against it! Feel tired after two longish runs in just a few days.

2.1.15 To Wimbledon again – this time we go three times round which puts us up to 12 miles. We are both really happy about this as we know that once we are both back to work we will find it much harder to fit in the long runs especially the long runs together. Both of us feel that we are better prepared than in 2011.

Zoe photo

At Kew Bridge


13.1.15 Working really gets in the way of marathon training, so I decide to fit in a long run once the children in my class have gone home (against the advice of others who say it is too much to work and then do a long run). I leave school at about 3:30 pm and head to the Embankment running along the river, mentally crossing off the bridges as I pass each one. I feel really tired at Tower Bridge so nip into a branch of Pret for a coffee, water and a fruit bar. Chris calls me and we arrange to meet at The Windmill on Clapham Common. We work out what time I am likely to get there. When I cross Tower Bridge I feel the wind really against me and my watch tells me that I am not keeping the same pace. It’s a real slog. It’s dark and raining and my rucksack is heavy on my shoulders. I can feel myself getting slower. When I pass the London Eye Chris calls me again and says that he is early and not to rush but he is at Clapham Common. I work out that I can’t get to the Common for another 35 to 40 minutes or so so we arrange to meet at Nine Elms Sainsburys. Thank goodness! That was a very hard run I forgot to let my watch pick up and load satellites properly before I started so it basically didn’t work. I work out though, that I ran about 8 or 9 miles – so frustrating.

20.1.15 I didn’t manage to fit in a long run at the weekend (I blame the PCC away day and going to church) so again against good advice and previous experience I decide to do another long run. This time I set my watch up properly and eat a sandwich before I leave. I sneak out of school at 3 pm and head straight for the river and Battersea Bridge but this time I cross the bridge and then turn immediately left along the river path. Apart from the detour at Battersea Power Station I am able to stay right by the river virtually all the way to the Tower. I feel really happy when I cross the river again and head back to school. Clock up 14 miles.

31.1.15 At the end of last week I came down with a sickness bug so this stopped me training until I got my strength back. Zoe and I need to run together so I drive the car to Chiswick and then catch the tube to Southwark. We start our run from there and run along the river bank. We get slightly delayed in Battersea as we bump into two sets of friends. We run to Kew Bridge and then up to the car in Chiswick. 15 miles. We are both so happy. We know that we are on track for April 12th.

At Hammersmith Bridge

At Hammersmith Bridge

7.2.15 We do a strange long run together. I park at Zoe’s at 7:30 am and run along the river to Putney. Zoe then runs back – so she has done 16 miles. Rather than run back from Putney I jump on a Boris bike there and zoom back to Borough to pick up the car and then drive to Shirley where I am playing netball at 11:45. We win but I wish I had got to 16 miles too.

15.2.15 Zoe is away and I am on half term. I run to the river then turn left and run to Kew Bridge and back – clocking up 19 miles in 3 hours 10 minutes. Have a sweet cup of tea and a nap!

Training continues… We are running the Brighton Marathon for Mind the mental health charity on April 12th. If you would like to sponsor us please visit Please do think of us on the day.