Probably jinxing it now – marathon training

Pretty much the entire (running) world and his friend are tapering or just about to taper for impending marathons. It seems everyone is training for London, Brighton or Edinburgh to name but a few.

While I’m sad that I’m not in that gang, I know that deferring London until next year was still the right decision. I couldn’t do yet another marathon on minimum training and maximum stress. I am however still training for a marathon at the moment. I’m just a couple of months behind the main pack.

The Liverpool marathon is mid-June, so I’m currently about 10 weeks away. I’m taking nothing for granted though and know only too keenly that injury could strike me down like a bolt of lightning at any point. Not to sound too depressing but being realistic is far better for me than being blissfully optimistic and then being disappointed. I also think that having this arguably pessimistic approach means I can try and not make silly mistakes (notice I said “try” there).

Running

My long run is up to 13 miles and my next run is 14 miles. I’ve pretty much just been gently crawling up the mileage like this – though some runs I’ll do twice to allow my body to adjust before ramping it up again. The only run I’m increasing is the long run, whereas previously I’ve just thrown in miles all over the place, which doesn’t seem to work for me. I also have the Southampton half marathon planned for the end of April, which (all things being good) I will aim to race.

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In a regular week, I do a hill session (usually just over 10k), a parkrun which I try and put some speed in my legs and then a long run which I’m really trying to slow down and just get the time on my feet. At this point in my long runs this is more important than ever.

Strength training

IMG_9968

Ahh that little gem I’ve previously been missing in my life. This I would say is almost as important as my running. For me the two have to go hand-in-hand for now. I feel so much stronger. Who knows if this is essential for everyone and whether it’s essential to do for all the time you’re training. All I know is my running feels stronger, I have no injuries and no niggles.

My Go To Moves

Cross-training

I try and do one session a week of cross-training. This is steady-state cardio and it’s normally the day after my hilly run so it’s nice to shake the legs out a bit and not put a huge amount of effort in. I keep my heart rate fairly low to replicate a recovery jog.

Rower workout selfieIt’s usually 45 minutes on the rowing machine listening to MarathonTalk. I’d say this workout is probably more for my sanity than anything. What I mean by that is because I’m only running three times a week I worry that I’m not doing ‘enough’ endurance-style cardio. Who knows if this helps but it does make my legs feel fresher and I enjoy it!

Nutrition

Getting Hello Fresh meals (food/recipe delivery service) helps a lot. I’m a vegetable and salad lover to my core and while this is a great source of nutrients and vital vitamins…it may not be the best way to keep me fuelled for my long runs and my gym visits.

IMG_0201 Chicken Shawarma (spiced chicken with lentils and roasted vegetables)

With Hello Fresh my meals are far more varied and they’re all a good balance of protein, carbs and fat. It’s no secret that I don’t love carbs too much…pasta, rice and bread are not things that make me go “mmm”, but making meals with mash potato or roasted new potatoes are rocking my life right now – as well as my usual well-loved sweet potato. Don’t fear the spud! 😉

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Teriyaki beef with sweet potato chips

And I’m eating more red meat and this ensures my iron levels are tip top. I can satisfy my salad need at lunch, but dinner is where the big guns come out ready for my next early morning gym session or run.

And cake. Lots of cake.

Added extras

Sleep is never usually an issue with me. I like to go to bed early and find after reading my book for a bit I fall asleep very easily. I get up stupidly early (5am if I’m going to the gym, 6am otherwise) so the early nights help. As long as I get seven hours I feel great. As a childless person this is quite easy to do I know (don’t hurt me, parents out there!!).

My standing desk at work helps reduce the amount of time I spend sitting to around 3-4 hours a day (2 hours worth of commuting, lunch, and sofa time in evening). My legs feel so much better, my hip flexors no where near as tight and just generally I feel better (read this BBC article for more information on the health benefits).

Foam rolling after my runs seems to help loosen up my tight muscles. It’s so easy to do while watching TV in the evening that I can’t not do it without feeling guilty.

Same goes for wearing my compression socks after a run. When I do my hilly 10k on a Wednesday evening the compression socks go on straight away after I shower and I usually sleep in them (yes I know, what a sexy beast I am). And I wake up with new calves, it’s fabulous.

Having said all this, I’m pretty sure I’ll now get injured 😉 #sodslaw

What are your tried and tested methods of injury prevention?

What are your top priorities during marathon training?

How long do you stay sat down each day?

16 thoughts on “Probably jinxing it now – marathon training

    • Haha no Mike, no.
      Wall sits are brilliant for your quads. Just wedge yourself against a wall with thighs parallel to the floor and hold for a 1 minute or so. Burns like hell.
      Yep I’m signed up to Bournemouth! Whoop whoop!

  1. I think you are doing so well, especially with all your strength workouts. It’s not the same, but I feel better after doing body pump as it is something different for my muscles to cope with too.
    I love compression socks after a long run, although I thought my ones said not to sleep in them- although I don’t tend to as they make my feet so hot.
    I sit down a lot on my day out of class as I work at a computer (communal ones in the staffroom) but when I am teaching I don’t sit down much, and the computer in my classroom is on top of a cabinet so I have to stand when I am using that, which is quite good really.
    Maria @ runningcupcake recently posted…New baking suppliesMy Profile

    • I think Pump is brilliant and I would do it more if it was on at a good time (5.30am – is that not socially acceptable to most people…??) but I just can’t bring myself to go after work.
      I’m not sure if you should wear them to bed or not, but I know that when I wake up my calves feel good. I have been known to take them off in the middle of the night though if it feels uncomfortable.

  2. We have a pretty similar sleep schedule – sometimes when I tell people what time I wake up they think I’m crazy since I don’t have to be at work until 9:00. What can I say? I need to start my day with a little sweat! Sounds like you’re doing great with your training. Keep it up!
    Chelsea @ Chelsea Eats Treats recently posted…Favorite Things Tuesday?My Profile

  3. It is looking like you should have a much stronger body this year. (Touch wood!) Sounds like you’ve been working hard at injury prevention so my fingers are tightly crossed that injuries stay at bay for you this time round. Third time lucky!
    I really must get myself some compression socks. I had them on both my birthday and Christmas list last year and no-one took the hint, so I’ll just have to treat myself! 😛
    I’m much more active at my new job than my old one. I can clock up about 5000+ steps by 3pm when the final bell goes. With 34 kids in each class and teaching a practical subject I find I am constantly patrolling the room helping students as I go, so I am sitting much less than in the past which is good.
    Mary recently posted…April Fools and an all-body massageMy Profile

    • It’s incredible how long I’ve not been injured for (oh I’m tempting fate so much here!) – I think it’s been over 12 weeks!
      It’s amazing when you start to track how much you sit – it becomes quite scary. And I can’t reduce my sitting anymore unless I run the 30 or so miles to work every day and back!

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