Paranoid, insecure runner alert

I won’t lie, I’m nervous about how comparatively little I’m running. I’m training for a marathon which is about nine and a half weeks away and I feel…calm.

(Apologies, this post is a bit of a brain dump!)

I don’t feel like my training is that difficult. OK I know the mega long runs haven’t happened yet but I can’t help feeling I’m cheating the system by not feeling exhausted all the time or sick with fear for the upcoming long runs. Everything is just kind of ticking along without issue (OK now I’m really tempting fate). I’m not saying that I should feel awful or exhausted, but I just don’t feel like I’m training for a marathon.

What I am finding is still having the same enthusiasm for my gym visits. So far I’m keeping my heart rate up by jumping on the cross-trainer for a three minute burst, then running back to do my strength routines, repeating that three times and then doing some focused single-leg and core strength work. All in all totalling an hour and getting a good sweaty workout. Now I’m wondering if I should lessen the gym visits – or at least condense them into something more efficient (i.e. no more cross-trainer and superfluous strength moves), and run a bit more.

This is dangerous territory.

Currently I do three or four gym sessions a week (one of those is either entirely steady state cardio on the rowing machine, or 30 minutes on the rowing machine and 30 minutes strength). I’m considering changing this to two full strength routines (hitting all the strength moves that I think are a priority to maintain injury-free running) and four running sessions. So dropping the rowing and making the strength training just about the strength.

But I don’t know if this is sensible. Running four times? I need my long run, I like parkrun for a short social speed session and I really like my hill session (not at the time mind you!) – do I need anything else in terms of running??

And if I run four times, where do I place my runs and gym visits? Here’s what I was considering:

  • Monday:  Strength training
  • Tuesday:  Recovery run/short hill session?
  • Wednesday:  Off
  • Thursday:  Medium length tempo/hilly run?
  • Friday:  Strength training
  • Saturday:  parkrun
  • Sunday:  Long run

As you can see the runs and strength training might not complement each other at all. Any tips or advice would be greatly appreciated – I’m just a bit confused right now. It doesn’t help having everyone around me suffering (enjoying?) marathon fever right now and talking about their training!

While we’re on the subject of running, I ran last night and it was a brilliant run. The weather is fantastic so the guns were out!


Pre-run selfie in the bathrooms because I’m weird

I didn’t fancy doing my usual 10k speedy hilly run as I felt an immense amount of pressure (from myself) to maintain my trend of running this same route consistently faster each week. I decided instead to do a longer run, but more of a relaxed tempo than an aggressive speedy run. I ran a one mile warm-up to get my legs going, then did the usual 10k route, then enjoyed a two mile cool down. Interestingly it didn’t feel like nine miles as I had split it up in my mind exactly as that: warm-up, 10k, cool down. It was a great longer hill run.

(7.38mins/mile average)

image image

I removed my gloves on the second mile (my route loops back a lot because the amazingly beasty hill sits right next to my office) and threw them off the path. My faith in humanity was boosted when I finished the run and went back to retrieve them to find them still there.

IMG_0283 To be fair though they don’t look like anything you’d want really

Annoyingly though I had slightly misjudged the distance and had to run a few loops round my office car park. Luckily most people had gone home…I say most. One man looked at me like I was mental as he headed to his car. I looked meaningfully at my watch a few times though to sort of demonstrate what I was doing (though this was probably lost on him…non-runner!).

IMG_0285 Post-run selfie – feeling very happy

Annnnd my mind goes back to my training…Do I just run three times a week and make the third run a hilly longer run?? Keep my rowing??

Nothing like being a paranoid, insecure runner surrounded by other runners doing so many different things!

Any tips to give?

What do you think is important in marathon training?

What strength workouts do you do, if you do any?

12 Replies to “Paranoid, insecure runner alert”

  1. Have you read Run Less Run Faster? It sounds like what you need- basically the idea is to run proper sessions- eg speedwork, tempo, long runs, and no recovery runs or junk miles (but with cross training in there too)- the idea is that if you run too much, you are slightly tired and so don’t get the best out of each session, whereas if you are properly rested in between you will run the speed sessions faster, so the long runs feel easier.
    I know everyone is different, but I would say that you have had a few injuries and perhaps 4 runs a week is too many for you- maybe stick to the 3 and keep with the cross training. Would you rather do 4 runs and get injured, or 3 runs and continue feeling strong? Not saying it will happen, but err on the side of caution maybe?
    For the last 20 mile run, I broke it into a 10 mile loop back home, then 5 miles out, and 5 miles back, and somehow that was way better than 20 miles. Got to love tricking the brain!
    Maria @ runningcupcake recently posted…Now and thenMy Profile

    1. It’s funny you mentioned that book, a friend of mine has lent it to me to read. Very interesting! All about quality not quantity. And it also reminded my of the Boy on the Runs latest podcast feature about him not being as good in each session because he was so tired.
      AnnaTheApple recently posted…Afternoon Tea ConnoisseurMy Profile

  2. If you wanted to run 4 times and still keep 3 gym sessions you could do a double day?! I have read in a couple of places that you should do a strength & conditioning session on the same day as a hard run session…! So maybe have long run, parkrun (either as an easy run or as a tempo run), hills and then intervals/tempo/easy run (depending how you use parkrun) for your runs and then a strength session on the same day as one of the runs and then another strength session and a cardio session as the other 2 gym sessions. Hope that makes some sense?! 🙂

  3. Yay for the still feeling strong and uninjured!
    I don’t think you need a fourth running session, so don’t throw it in if it’s just because you think you should. If you do add one, make it very easy and don’t be tempted to run fast! No injures this year!
    Like Maria said, you have included the three base types of run each week and anything else could just become junk miles and make you more prone to injury. I think you are doing the right thing by making sure you have a strong base from all your cross-training so perhaps focus on quality rather than quantity and see how you get on…
    Mary recently posted…An Easter weekend of supportMy Profile

    1. I know, I know… I’m going to test out what a few weeks of four runs does to me. So far week one has gone perfectly. I think it also helps making my gym sessions more focused. I just love running! But I am listening to my body VERY CAREFULLY.
      AnnaTheApple recently posted…Afternoon Tea ConnoisseurMy Profile

  4. I had a ‘plan’ at the start of this marathon training which involved running 4/5 days a week and cross training 1/2 days a week. What I actually did was cross training once a week (yoga) and running 2 or 3 times a week. (I maybe ran 4 times a week about 3 weeks in the whole 4 months haha). It has worked for me so far, I’ve smashed my half marathon PB and my parkrun PB, feel lots stronger than last year and I’m enjoying running lots – but I guess we will see what happens on Sunday! Haha! Last Sunday was my last long run before Manchester marathon this coming Sunday and instead of stressing about it, I went and joined some running club friends on a day trip across to the Wirral for a trail run. Something completely new and probably not what a lot of runners would recommend a week before a marathon but I bloody well enjoyed it and it really helped me realise why I run.
    Helen recently posted…Liverpool half marathon – 3rd time aroundMy Profile

    1. I love runs that just clarify why you do it – the “punch the air” runs as I call them. Where everything just feels amazing. You’re not necessarily running super fast or getting a PB (though sometimes that happens and it’s AMAZING) but it just feels like everything is perfect.
      AnnaTheApple recently posted…Afternoon Tea ConnoisseurMy Profile

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