Monday , January 27 2020

Marathon Training – The Journey So Far

I am now into the ninth week of my sixteen week marathon training plan and it is about time that I took stock of how things are going. On Sunday the 5th May 2013 I will be running my second marathon, following my marathon début at Brighton in April 2012.

The Parable of the Wise and the Foolish Builders

In January 2012 I started to follow a 12 week marathon training plan following some occasional runs during November and December. I was the foolish builder trying to raise my marathon edifice on a bank of sand only to see it washed away by continual bouts of illness.

In October 2013 I joined the Sunday Eagles long run and accompanied autumn marathon runners as they tackled 17+ miles. I then raced in tough winter cross-country meets while adding parkrun each Saturday and a minimum of 10 miles every Sunday. I had turned into the wise builder by putting in the tough foundation miles across winter before starting a 16 week marathon training plan in January. My friends and work colleagues succumbed to the inevitable coughs & colds but I remain fit and illness free.

speedracerSpeed Racer

I run long. I run easy. I also run fast. I know that I can run the magic 26.2 miles but I want to reach my potential and run under 4 hours. Now I realise that this cannot be achieved by plodding endlessly at the same pace so I run intervals, I inject fast finishes onto heavy legs at the end of the long run and I throw in mile repeats as part of my easy runs. My 5k, 10k and half marathon PB’s have all tumbled over the past 3 months as a result and I know that I still have scope to run faster.

Enter Sandman

Were you one of those people who, back in their younger days, would start a conversation with “I had a really weird dream last night…”? Well, I was the person standing nearby rolling my eyes wondering what kind of self-indulgent psychobabble was going to follow next.

I am a deep sleeper, always have been. I rarely dream and if I do then I only recall brief moments. I have always been able to sleep well the night before a race until I reached the half way point of my marathon training plan but I am now almost guaranteed to sleep badly on a Saturday night. If I have a race on the Sunday then it’s a nightmare about  over sleeping or forgetting my race pack or if I have a scheduled long run then I dream about arriving late to find everyone has gone without me.

On top of that, my long runs are getting longer and longer so I have to get up earlier and earlier each Sunday to make sure my running does not put too much strain on my family.

As a promise to my teenage self – I promise not to talk about dreams again!

Augustus Gloop

Augustus Gloop is the gluttonous boy who falls into the Chocolate Room’s chocolate river in Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. I am not quite in that sort of shape in terms of diet but I have plenty of excess baggage around my waist and I was certainly open to various snacks and fizzy drinks.

I made the easy decision to cut 99% of the junk out of my nutritional intake, to carefully watch what I eat and to completely remove fizzy drinks from my diet (Pepsi Max was my weapon of choice at the time).

I did suffer for a couple of weeks at work as my body craved sugar during the afternoon and I had a couple of unpleasant headaches but I now feel a lot better. If I try some of my old diet choices now, I find that I cannot eat very much as they are so laden with salt. As a result of these changes I am now 4kg lighter and I know this has had a profound effect of my running and general well-being.

If you gaze into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you

Hand on heart – I am so full of love for my marathon training. I head out 6 times a week and I have enjoyed nearly every single one of them so far. My head & heart expects to be out there nearly every day and my legs no longer ache, no matter what type of run I demand of them.

I now gaze into the looming abyss that starts on Monday 6th May 2013 – what happens the day after I complete the Richmond Park Marathon? Sure, I have plenty of other races lined up throughout the year, including an autumn marathon – but what happens to my training?

Unfortunately I do not know the answer at the moment but I suspect it involves me finalising my training plan for Abingdon in October and sliding in another plan for the summer.

Family Ties*

The seemingly endless bouts of training, the early morning runs and the times I vanish for the day to attend a race – none of it is possible without the support of my family.

I am fully on board with the concept of ‘running credit’ and I am constantly building up my balance so that I can head outside running.

Mrs Dan needs to work late or on a weekend? I am home looking after The Son and supervising his homework. The Son has arranged to go play with a friend or has an out of hours school commitment? I am there straight away to act as a taxi.

The majority of this takes place at the weekend immediately after my planned runs – yeah, I am tired but my family supports me so I support them right back.

* I do not have a beard** plus it’s only me, Mrs Dan and The Son. I just have a mild man crush on Michael J. Fox and wanted to use his picture.

** Although if I did have a beard, then I would look awesome.

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