Should I do the Brighton Marathon as a training run?

I’m now half way through my 24 week plan for the Marathon des Cote (MdC). And I feel great. Last week was an intense week (so the coming seven days are about recovery – see below). I ran just over 62 miles, some  on the MdC route on the stunning Pembrokeshire Coast Path in West Wales. I feel so great I may have done something silly: I’ve taken a mate’s place in a proper, organised marathon.

Should I do the Brighton Marathon as a training run?


I don’t doubt I can go the full distance on 15 April’s Brighton Marathon. Training has been progressing well and the long miles seem to be passing more easily at the moment. Saturday’s long run on the Pembrokeshire Coast Path ended at mile 17 because my brother (my running partner for the day) had strained his knee, but I felt I could have kept going further (see below).

The biggest risk, as I see it, is that I will get swept away by the atmosphere on the day, push myself too hard and end up injured. Brighton is my home city, and the whole place turns into one giant carnival for marathon weekend. It’s great running through streets usually thronged with shoppers and passing familiar faces in the crowds along the course.

But I’m going to have to fight the urge to try and beat my time from the 2016 Brighton Marathon, which still rates as one of the best runs of my life. It wasn’t particularly fast (4:23) but the perfect weather and having friends and family there to support me made it a perfect day. But if this year’s marathon were my final goal, I could probably do it faster.

Thing is, the Brighton Marathon isn’t the end goal. In fact, neither is June’s 186 mile MdC or September’s Snowdonia Ultra 100. I have to remember two things: this is all practice for the 2019 Marathon des Sables (that’s six days of running 150 miles in the Moroccan Sahara) and 26.2 miles can take one hell of a toll on your body.

I discovered this to my cost in 2016 when I was forced to pull out of the beautiful Angmering Bluebell Trail Run a week after the Brighton Marathon with a dodgy knee. So I’m going to have to hang back next month and try and view the marathon as a steady group long run (a bloody big group; about 12,000 people did it last year).

And a chance to get a nice new shiny medal of course.

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