By Dave Pickstone, a Beanstalk marathon runner.

I’ve wanted to run the London Marathon for several years now but, due to unsuccessful ballot results and injuries, it has never happened. So when the opportunity to run it for Beanstalk arose, I jumped at the chance. 

I’ve worked in the fitness industry for over 10 years but training for a marathon was completely new, so I was very thankful for the great support I received from Alexis at Beanstalk. The training pack she put together was exactly what I needed to start my journey (…a whole 17 weeks ago!), and the fundraising pack gave me some much needed advice on how to reach my fundraising goal.

I started my training just before Christmas so I struggled to find a running partner at such a lazy time of year. To counter my lack of running partner, I decided to use the guys I train as a means of accountability – they definitely wouldn’t mind seeing me suffer for a change. I created a blog for them detailing every run and promised them that they would receive 3 updates per week (3 runs). As soon as I missed one, the deal was for them to question my motivation. This turned out to be a great way of motivating myself as there were many nights and mornings that I flirted with dodging the tarmac, but the thought of getting bombarded with abuse at work motivated me to brave the weather! 

The training has been a challenge. The first 8 weeks were fun, it was great seeing my fitness and speed increase – as was knowing that I’d be home after 90 minutes. But as April hit, it turned into one of the biggest challenges I’ve ever had to face. Thankfully, I had great encouragement from the guys I train, Alexis, and my wife, which really kept me going.

I’ve now got just under a week to the marathon, I’m nervous but I’ve trained hard and feel in good shape for it. Completing such a tough event will be incredible, but part of me can’t wait till I go for a drink afterwards with my family and the people from Beanstalk who have offered me so much great support over the last few months.

Over the last 17 weeks, there’s 8 things I’ve learnt about marathon training:

  1. Starting with the absolute basics is critical
  2. The feeling after a long run outweighs the fear beforehand.
  3. Good running shoes are essential – never Converse!
  4. Nutrition is key – you can’t out-train a bad diet.
  5. Eating an hour before a run is a mistake.
  6. Injuries happen, but they’re not always an excuse to give up.
  7. Vaseline is your friend.
  8. There’s going to be days when you don’t want to train, this is when you need people to push you out of the door!

Doing a challenge event in aid of Beanstalk has been fantastic, if you fancy pushing yourself I highly recommend doing one!