Week ending 26th July: 18 miles total, longest run 8 miles
Week ending 2nd August: 20 miles total, longest run 10 miles

When I signed up for the Brighton Marathon a few weeks ago, I found I was more excited by the training than the race. I like going out for long runs at the weekend and building up the distance I can manage. I could do long runs without the marathon but having the goal of a race helps motivate me. I’m looking forward to building up my stamina until I can run 26.2 miles in one go.

I've been running for just over 18 months. I'd not run at all before then, apart from huffing and puffing at the back of school cross-country runs. I always wanted to be fit but never got round to it. In 2007, as I entered my 30s, I promised myself one last attempt. If it didn't work then I'd stop feeling guilty and enjoy being out of shape. I started out with slow single-miles round the Level, working towards a 5K race in December. I discovered two things: that I was no longer the lumbering slow-coach I was at school, and that I loved running.

My favourite runs are those of an hour or more, something I never expected when I started. If I'm doing a short distance I'll be impatient to be done, wanting to shower and do other things. If I know I'll be running for an hour then I need to be patient, to take my time and conserve my energy. Since I have to relax I find long runs very calming. I listen to my mp3 player when doing 3 or 4 miles for something to do, but I'll often run half an hour or more of an hour-long session in silence. The first mile of eight can feel a chore but overall it's often easier than running three miles. When I was injured earlier this year I missed these long distances most.

I live on the seafront and have two regular running routes. For short runs I’ll travel west to Hove Lagoon and do a few laps of the water. For longer distances I’ll run east as far as I need to and turn back. I enjoy seeing the little changes and events on my regular route. This weekend was Pride. I made my long run first thing on Sunday morning and passed various stragglers still partying from the night before, and the remnants of the rave at Black Rock. I love these little details, the changes and events on a route throughout the year.

While it’s over eight months until the Brighton Marathon I have some shorter races coming up in the meantime. The first of these, on August 16th, is the Morecambe Cross-Bay Half-Marathon, which goes across the bay at low tide. I entered last year but the race was turned back half-way due to a rising tide. I’m hoping this year the run will complete the crossing, which will be my first half-marathon, an important milestone on the way to the full marathon.

If, before October 2007, you told me how much I'd come to enjoy long-distance running, I would have thought you were mad. When people told me how great running felt I thought they were trying to persuade themselves that wasting hours exercising was worthwhile. I'm not a natural runner and I most certainly don't look like one. That's one of the reasons I love the idea of running a marathon - it's such an unlikely thing for me to be doing.