Today starts the first day of the rest of my life. Alternatively, the first day of Marathon Training.
Oh Running God, high on the fluffy track clouds in the sky, please let this training cycle go better than my last. Please let me not get injured and miss weeks of training. Please let things go smoothly. I don’t mind being tired or bored or fed up. I don’t mind getting up before 6am to run. I don’t mind getting rained on, running in heat, wind, or snow (it’s Britain, who knows). I don’t mind getting blisters. I don’t mind gaining weight with excessive food consumption, more muscle (fingers crossed) and water retention. I don’t mind getting insatiable runger.
I just want to train. Yes I am fully aware it will be tough but I am mentally ready. I don’t think though that my mental state can cope with another injury. Niggles, aches, tiredness – fine, I can deal with those. But a proper injury. PLEASE NO.
Got that Running God? Good. Now let’s get down to business.
This time around it’s going to be a bit different from my last plan for Paris. Well, the plan I had aimed to do but never actually because I got injured and had to slapdash a lot of it. Clearly I am an injury prone runner (*cringes*). To tempt fate with running very long runs is probably not a good idea for me. I know it’s important for ‘time on your feet’ but honestly I think it’s just going to push my body over the edge. In the future, when I’m more experienced and my body is stronger, then fine but not right now. I also don’t think I need to run 18+ milers to calm me psychologically. I know I can run a marathon now.
I also won’t be doing big weekly mileage. Ideally I top out at 37 miles but I’m also happy to lower that depending how things go. My plan is more about consistency than pushing my body to the limit.
Maybe this plan sounds fairly basic and ‘beginnery’ but at this point, after all my stupid injury issues, I think this is the best way forward. A cautious approach, if you like.
As you can see, there’s between 4-5 days a week running depending what I’ve got going on. A fair few races as well (RR10s and half marathons). I wanted to make sure I had two strength sessions a week as well. These are 45-60 minute weight sessions focusing on glutes, core, hamstrings, calfs/shins, etc. This is to aid injury prevention (here’s hoping).
I’ll do a speed-specific session on Tuesday (either with the club or on my own), a tempo run Thursday mornings and Parkrun on Saturdays (but not necessarily racing them). My Sunday longer runs and anything in between will all be easy paced (except for my goal half marathon in Maidenhead).
There’s no cross-training in there. I don’t want to overload my body. I found spinning with running a nightmare mix and just made me more inclined to get injured. Maybe the odd bike ride or swim will appear but nothing crazy.
My longer runs top out at 16 miles. But I will be running fairly medium distances the days before so this should (in a bastardized Hansons method approach) tire my legs, replicating what it will feel like in a marathon. I didn’t want to go the whole hog with the Hansons method because I’m not ready to run six days a week and the mileage goes higher than I’m comfortable with. So I dropped the Monday run and lowered some of the other runs.
Another main change for me will be not running with the running club on Thursday evenings. The majority of my runs (apart from Parkruns) will be solo runs in the morning. As much as I love my running club and love the Thursday night sessions, I find that I stop listening to my body and run faster and further than I should. By running on my own I can stay in tune with any niggles and pace my run exactly how I need to (hold certain tempo paces for a certain time for example). I’m sad about it but I know it’s for the best. Plus I love running in the morning rather than the evening.
None of this though is set in stone. My main aim for this marathon training is consistent injury-free running. So regular sports massages will hopefully happen as well to keep things in tip top shape as much as possible.
Whew. So that’s it. Who knows if it’ll work. I do have a time aim in mind for Berlin, but I’ll keep that to myself for the moment. It’s nothing dramatically different to Paris. Paris has given me the confidence that I know I can run a bit faster because I felt so comfortable all the way and finished without feeling like I was at death’s door. But we’ll see!
Anyone else training for a specific race or marathon?
What are your top tips to staying injury free?
What have you learnt about your body over the years when it comes to exercising?