My Journey to the Kielder Marathon – Ketogenic Endurance


Hey, lovely people! Before we dive into today’s epic tale, a quick shoutout to LEAKDRY for sponsoring this post. Click here to get an exclusive 15% off on all their products. Trust me; your feet will thank you!


Kielder Marathon and why I decided to participate.

Ah, the Kielder Marathon, dubbed “Britain’s most beautiful.” Now, that’s a title that’s hard to ignore, isn’t it? Set amidst the stunning Kielder Water & Forest Park, this marathon is a feast for the eyes as much as it is a test of endurance. It’s not just about pounding the pavement; it’s about soaking in those lush landscapes and crisp North East air. And let’s not forget, they’ve got a range of events from 10Ks to half marathons, and even gravel duathlons for the adventurous souls. It’s like a smorgasbord of outdoor challenges!

Now, why did I, a proud County Durham lad, decide to take on this iconic trail marathon? Well, it’s simple, really. Living in the North East, you hear tales of the Kielder Marathon whispered in hushed tones at every local pub and family gathering. It’s like the “Great North Run” but for those who prefer mud over tarmac. So, it’s always been on my bucket list, and I thought, “Why not now? Why not 2023?”

You see, I’ve always been a bit of an adventurer, aye? Whether it’s hiking up the Pennines or kayaking down the River Tyne, I’ve always been up for a good ol’ outdoor challenge. And what better way to up the ante than by running 26.2 miles through some of the most scenic trails in all of England? It’s like the universe aligned itself just for me, and I couldn’t resist the call.

So, there you have it. A marathon that promises beauty and brawn, set in a location that’s close to my heart. How could I possibly say no? It’s a match made in North East heaven, and I’m all in!

How I view Marathon Training

Alright, let’s get one thing straight: I’m not in this for the speed. Nah, I’m not one of those gazelle-like creatures who aim to break records or clock in jaw-dropping marathon times. For me, trail marathons are less about the stopwatch and more about the journey, the adventure, and the sheer joy of discovering new places. So, when it comes to training, it’s not about pushing myself to the brink of exhaustion; it’s about having a good time while staying active.

You see, I’ve always believed that life’s too short to not enjoy what you’re doing, especially when it involves something as grand as a marathon. So, my training mantra has always been “complete, not compete.” That’s right, I’m in it for the long haul, not the sprint. And let me tell you, training for the Kielder Marathon has been an adventure in itself, aye.

I’ve explored trails I never knew existed, right in my own backyard here in County Durham. I’ve watched sunrises that would make even the grumpiest morning person crack a smile. I’ve had encounters with local wildlife that ranged from awe-inspiring to downright hilarious (ever tried outrunning a curious sheep? Not recommended).

But most importantly, I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. Whether it’s a leisurely jog through the woods or a more strenuous hill workout, each training session has been a mini-adventure of its own. And that’s the beauty of it all; I’m not just training for a marathon, I’m collecting experiences, memories, and perhaps a few too many muddy trainers.

The Starting Line: Initial Preparations

Did I even train?

Now, let’s rewind a bit and talk about how this whole training malarkey kicked off. You see, I’ve always been a firm believer in staying active and going on adventures. It’s like me mam always said, “A rolling stone gathers no moss,” and I’ve taken that to heart. So, I’ve got this base level of fitness that lets me jump into pretty much any outdoor activity without much fuss. We’re talking about running, fastpacking, hiking, camping, and even those long walks with my dogs. It’s been a summer of non-stop action, I tell ya!

So, when it came to training for the Kielder Marathon, I didn’t have to start from scratch. Nah, I was already halfway there, thanks to my summer escapades. The initial steps were more about fine-tuning what I already had rather than building something new. It’s like having a well-oiled machine; you just need to make a few tweaks here and there, and you’re good to go.

The first thing I did was sit down with a cuppa and jot down a rough training plan. Nothing too fancy, mind you, just a simple outline to keep me on track. Then, I took stock of my gear. With all the running and adventuring, some of it was looking a bit worse for wear. A quick trip to the local outdoor shop, and I was all set with some new trail shoes and a couple of moisture-wicking tops.

Next, I started incorporating longer runs into my routine, just to get used to the idea of being on my feet for an extended period. But let’s be honest, it wasn’t much different from a day of fastpacking or a weekend camping trip.

And there you have it, the initial steps were as easy as pie. Well, maybe not pie, but you get what I mean. 😄

The Training Regimen: No Pain, No Gain

My training schedule and regimen

Alright, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty: me training schedule and regimen. Now, as I’ve already mentioned, I’m not one for rigid plans or strict routines. Nah, that’s not my style. I prefer to keep things flexible and fun, just like a spontaneous weekend getaway. So, most of my training involves getting out and about in the great outdoors, soaking up the beauty of County Durham and beyond.

On a typical week, you’ll find me doing a mix of trail running, camping, walking, hiking, and of course, taking me dogs out for their daily dose of adventure. It’s a smorgasbord of activities that keeps me fit and ready for anything. But when it comes to actual running training, I’ve got a bit of a method to me madness.

Ever heard of the MAF Method? It stands for Maximum Aerobic Function, but don’t let that fancy term scare you off. It’s all about going on long, slow runs to build up your aerobic capacity. And let me tell you, it’s right up my alley. I love nothing more than heading out for a leisurely run through the trails, where I can lose myself in the sights and sounds of nature. It’s not just exercise; it’s therapy, aye.

So, here’s a rough outline of what a training week might look like for me:

  • Monday: Rest day (A lad’s got to rest, you know)
  • Tuesday: Long, slow run (MAF style)
  • Wednesday: Hiking or fastpacking adventure
  • Thursday: Another long, slow run, maybe throw in some hills for good measure
  • Friday: Dog walking and a bit of camping prep
  • Saturday: Weekend camping trip or a day of trail running
  • Sunday: Recovery walk and some quality time with me dogs

And there you have it! That’s my training schedule in a nutshell. It’s a bit unconventional, but hey, it works for me. 😄

Disaster Strikes

Ah, life’s a rollercoaster, isn’t it? One minute you’re on top of the world, and the next, you’re tumbling down faster than a pint of ale on a Friday night. So, let’s chat about the highs and lows of my training journey, shall we?

First off, the highs. Oh, what a summer it’s been! I’ve been out and about, exploring every nook and cranny of the North East. From the serene trails of the Lake District to the rugged beauty of the Northumberland coastline, I’ve seen it all. And let’s not forget the camping trips, the fastpacking adventures, and those endless walks with me dogs. It’s been a season of pure, unadulterated joy, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

But then, disaster struck. Aye, you heard that right. Just six weeks ago, I went and twisted my ankle like a right numpty. One misstep on a rocky trail, and bam! I was out of the running game, quite literally. Since then, it’s been a lot of walking and zero running. In fact, the first time I’ll be running since the incident will be on the day of the Kielder Marathon itself. Talk about cutting it close, eh?

So, what’s the plan? Well, I fully intend to walk a good chunk of the marathon. I know, I know, it’s not ideal, but as long as I beat the time cut-off, I’m not too fussed. After all, it’s about the journey, not the speed, and I’m still looking forward to soaking in the beauty of Kielder Water & Forest Park, even if it’s at a slower pace.

The Gear: What Worked and What Didn’t

Ah, gear. The unsung hero of any outdoor adventure, right? Now, I’m not one to get all fancy with my kit. You won’t find me decked out in the latest high-tech running apparel, looking like something out of a sci-fi movie. Nah, I like to keep things simple and practical.

Let’s start with tops. You know those same t-shirts and mid-layers I wear for hiking? Yep, they double up as me running attire. Rather than having specific hiking and running tops, they all just bleed into one. 

Now, the only real difference comes in the lower half. While I usually opt for trousers when I’m out hiking, it’s shorts all the way when it comes to running. I mean, who wants to feel all stuffy when you’re pounding the trails, eh? A good pair of shorts gives me the freedom to move and keeps things breezy, if you know what I mean.

Ah, speaking of trails, let’s talk footwear. Since most of my running is done on trails, I’ve got a soft spot for trail running shoes. They offer the grip and support I need when I’m navigating through muddy paths and rocky terrains. And let’s face it, in the North East, you’re more likely to encounter a bog than a pristine running track.

So, to sum it up, my gear philosophy is all about versatility and comfort. I don’t need a separate wardrobe for each activity; I just mix and match and make do with what I’ve got. And you know what? It’s worked out pretty well so far!

The Revelation: Discovering Waterproof Socks

How I discovered waterproof socks

Ah, the British summer, a season of unpredictability, where you’re as likely to get a sunburn as you are to get drenched in a downpour. And let me tell you, the summer of 2023 has been a proper letdown, even by English standards. We’re talking rain, rain, and more rain. It’s like Mother Nature decided to give her watering can a good shake over the North East, turning our lovely trails into muddy slip ‘n slides.

Now, I’m no stranger to a bit of mud; it adds character to a run, doesn’t it? But this year, oh boy, it was something else. I found myself splashing through puddles more often than not, and let’s just say, my feet weren’t too chuffed about it. Soggy socks are about as pleasant as a cold cuppa, and I had had enough.

So, what’s a lad to do? Well, I did what any self-respecting adventurer would do: I hit the internet. A quick search led me down a rabbit hole of outdoor forums, gear reviews, and scientific articles. And that’s when I stumbled upon the concept of waterproof socks. Aye, you heard that right, socks that promise to keep your feet as dry as a summer’s day (not that we had many of those this year).

Now, how do these magical socks work, you ask? Well, it’s a bit like a sandwich. Imagine your standard sock as the bread, right? Now, add a layer of waterproof material in the middle, and you’ve got yourself a waterproof sock. This middle layer is usually made of something like ePTFE or PU, materials known for their water-repelling properties. But here’s the kicker: they’re also breathable. So, not only do they keep water out, but they also let sweat escape, making sure your feet stay dry and comfy.

I was intrigued, to say the least. Could these socks be the answer to my wet feet woes? There was only one way to find out. I ordered a pair and waited with bated breath. The day they arrived felt like Christmas morning, and I couldn’t wait to give them a test run, or should I say, a test splash.

And let me tell you, they did not disappoint. It was like walking on air, or better yet, walking on water. I went out on a particularly rainy day, just to put them through their paces, and I came back with feet as dry as the Sahara. It was a game-changer, a revelation, a foot-based epiphany!

So, there you have it, the tale of how I discovered waterproof socks. They’ve become a staple in my running gear, and I can’t imagine hitting the trails without them. It’s like finding out about sliced bread; once you know, there’s no going back.

Why LEAKDRY became my go-to choice and how it improved my training

Click here to see the waterproof socks I own

Alright, gather ’round, you adventurous souls! I’ve got a tale that’ll make you want to click that affiliate link faster than you can say “FOOT DRY.” Aye, that’s right, I’m talking about the game-changing, foot-saving, absolutely brilliant LEAKDRY MrMudWiser Ultra Compression Knee High Socks.

So, how did I stumble upon these beauties, you ask? Well, after a summer that was more like a monsoon season, I was on the hunt for something to keep my feet dry. I’d already discovered the magic of waterproof socks, but I wanted something that was the bee’s knees, literally and figuratively. Enter LEAKDRY.

Now, let’s talk about these MrMudWiser socks, shall we? First off, they’re not just waterproof; they’re mudproof too! Designed with a three-layer composite waterproof technology, these socks are the real deal. They offer superior protection from mud and wet conditions, ensuring your feet stay dry and clean. And get this, they’re breathable too, with a breathability rating of 38,000 g/m²/24h and a waterproofness of 14,000 mm. That’s some serious tech packed into a pair of socks!

But what really sold me was the ultra-compression feature. These socks hug your legs like a warm embrace, offering the kind of support that makes you feel invincible on the trails. And the knee-high design? Perfect for wading through those muddy puddles without a care in the world.

Now, how have they improved my training? Well, for starters, I can now wear trainers on the trails without worrying about wet feet. That’s a game-changer, let me tell you. No more heavy, waterlogged shoes dragging me down. And less chance of foot issues like blisters, which means I can focus on enjoying the run rather than nursing sore feet.

But it’s not just about the practical benefits. Wearing these socks has given me a newfound sense of freedom and confidence on the trails. I find myself taking on challenges I would’ve shied away from before, all because I know I’ve got the right gear to back me up.

So, if you’re still on the fence, let me give you a nudge. Click on that affiliate link and get yourself a pair of LEAKDRY MrMudWiser Ultra Compression Knee High Socks. Your feet will thank you, and you’ll be supporting this blog too. It’s a win-win!

The Final Stretch: Last-Minute Preparations

Ah, the final stretch, the taper week, the calm before the storm—or should I say, the calm before the marathon? Now, you’d think this would be the time to go all out, to give it the ol’ one-two, but nah, not this time. You see, my ankle’s been giving me jip, hasn’t it? Twisted it six weeks ago, and let’s just say, it’s been a bit of a party pooper.

So, what’s a lad to do when he’s got a marathon on the horizon and a dodgy ankle? Take it easy, that’s what. Aye, I’ve been swapping out my long runs for leisurely strolls, just enough to keep the blood flowing but not enough to aggravate the ankle. It’s been a bit like a staycation for me feet, a holiday from the usual pounding they get.

Now, you might be thinking, “Isn’t that risky, taking it easy right before a big race?” And to that, I say, “Well, aye, but sometimes you’ve got to listen to your body, don’t ya?” Besides, me aim’s always been to complete, not compete. So, as long as I cross that finish line before they start packing up the water stations, I’ll consider it a win.

But it’s not all been feet up and telly. I’ve been doing some mental prep too, visualizing the race, imagining myself splashing through puddles in me LEAKDRY socks, crossing that finish line with a grin as wide as the Tyne. And let’s not forget the gear check, making sure everything’s in tip-top shape for the big day, especially those game-changing socks.

So, there you have it, me last-minute preparations, or lack thereof. It’s been a time of reflection, of listening to my body, and of getting mentally psyched for the adventure ahead. And who knows, maybe this laid-back approach will be the secret to my success. Only time will tell, eh?


Well, there you have it, folks, the ins and outs, the highs and lows, and the muddy puddles of my journey to the Kielder Marathon. From the moment I decided to take on this iconic trail marathon, it’s been a rollercoaster of emotions, experiences, and yes, even a few setbacks (looking at you, twisted ankle).

We’ve talked about my training philosophy, which is less about breaking records and more about breaking a sweat in the great outdoors. Whether it’s hiking, camping, or just a leisurely walk with my dogs, staying active is what gets me going. And when it comes to actual running training, it’s all about those long, slow runs, soaking up the beauty of County Durham and beyond.

Gear-wise, I’ve kept it simple and practical, relying on me trusty hiking attire and trail running shoes. But the real game-changer? LEAKDRY’s MrMudWiser Ultra Compression Knee High Socks. These beauties have revolutionized my trail running experience, keeping my feet dry and happy, come rain or shine.

And let’s not forget the final stretch, the taper week, where I’ve been taking it easy, giving my ankle a much-needed break. It’s been a time of reflection and mental prep, gearing up for the adventure that awaits.

So, as I lace up my shoes and pull on my LEAKDRY socks, I can’t help but feel a sense of excitement, tinged with a bit of nervous energy. But one thing’s for sure, I’m ready for whatever the Kielder Marathon has in store for me. And who knows, maybe I’ll see some of you there, splashing through puddles and living life to the fullest.

The Kielder Marathon is on the 8th October, and no matter what, I will be doing another blog post and a cheeky YouTube video. So, be sure not to miss those. 

Don’t Forget Your LEAKDRY Discount!

Before you dash off, remember to snag your 15% discount on all LEAKDRY products. Just click here and make your next adventure a comfy one!


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