Turns out training is the hardest bit so far.
As previously mentioned, I had compared some marathon training plans online and decided on one from ….. that promises to make you run faster by utilising only 3 intensive training units per week. This sounded perfect to me as I also wanted to keep up my mountain biking and other activities.
The 3 units per week consisted of a tempo interval run, a tempo run and a long run on the weekend. For the first time I had to watch my pace properly, something I usually tend to ignore somewhat as I like to run for fun. However, I’m always up for trying something new and stuck vigorously to the plan.
The interval runs felt kind of short in the beginning, I’m not used to be finished with a workout in 30mins. The increased pace made it that extra bit harder so I appreciated the shorter distances. The tempo runs were fine, a bit more breathless than usual, as were the long runs on the weekend. Training was progressing fine.
I started to get problems in my left upper leg/bum which made running after about a mile very painful. I put this down to the left being my weaker side and the more intense training. Joining the gym sounded like a good idea at that point.
And I got bored of road running and really missed the trails. I always run more road in winter, because of it being dark after work, but usually hit the trails on the weekend. With the increased mileage and pace, I wanted to stay on the road and simulate the actual marathon conditions. This is when I started losing the joy of running a bit.
After my Christmas break back home (with lots of good German comfort food), I made some new year’s resolutions:
- Finally join the gym and improve my overall fitness – done.
- Ditch the training plan and focus more on getting the mileage in and not worry too much about pace and times. My highest priority is to be able to run the marathon distance injury free. Speed comes later. I also have to acknowledge the fact that I’m not 20 any more and many of the online training plans might not be right for me – done.
- Get my love for running back and hit the trails more often – progressing.
Overall, I have to admit I do less running sessions per week now. I tend to hit the gym once a week for some cardio and light weights, go mountain biking one weeknight and maybe once on the weekend and do a long run on the weekend too. If the weather is bad, I’ve started to use the treadmill in the gym, not for an actual long run but at least a couple of miles. So far the furthest I’ve run is 17 miles. Still a long way to go but I’m getting there. It feels like I’m getting my mojo back.
I’ve also started to look at my nutrition more closely; it’s not perfect yet, but I pay more attention to what I fuel my body with and eat more home cooked food. We’ve got a bit of a cooking thing going in the office which is great as it helps eating healthier and I get to try new things. Turns out we’ve got some hidden cooking talents at my workplace. I will post some of my favourite recipes in a later post.
Will this be enough to prepare me for the marathon?
I don’t know, I guess I’ll find out. As long as I can enjoy myself during the event, I’ve achieved my goal. If I can run it all, great; if I have to walk some stretches, so be it. Overall, I’ve got a more relaxed view on it now.
I will post my training diary (yep, still keeping track) after the competition to either show you how it can be done or how better NOT to do it…