Training for a marathon on minimal running

Over Christmas and New Year I didn’t do a whole lot of running. While it’s super frustrating to still have this shin niggle, I wasn’t too bothered.

It helps, obviously, to have a lot of distractions going on with meals out, seeing friends, going to the pub and spending time with people I care about. I’ve never felt so – what’s the best word? – indifferent about an injury before. Yes it sucks and of course I’d love to run but it’s kind of an annoyance that I keep batting away as I get on with other things.

Like I’ve said before, I’m not entirely sure this is a great way to think considering my impending marathon in February but hey ho. I’m enjoying a”putting my head in the sand” kind of mentality because there’s not much else I can do.

I am running but I’m not running nearly as much or as consistently as I should (for marathon training). Ramping up quickly and steeply would frankly be very stupid. So I’m pootling along doing the odd run here or there. I’m supplementing my lack of running with cross training so it’s not all doom and gloom but it’s the pounding on the legs that I kind of need to experience. All the cardio fitness in the world won’t help if my legs get tired and worn out after 10 miles.

That said, the running I am doing seems to be going OK. I left it a week after the Christmas parkrun to run again as I wanted to be super sensible. I got some acupuncture and a massage from my friend Kyle which definitely seemed to help. Instead I went on the elliptical machine and bike – either doing steady state cardio or short sharp sprints with recoveries. I quite enjoyed being at the gym and not having to rush about like I do when it’s super early in the morning.I could do my cardio first and then do my usual weights. It meant for a longer period in the gym but seen as how I wasn’t running it made sense. Plus I really enjoyed it. I like the gym and feel like it’s my “happy place” right now. And a lovely woman gave me a really nice compliment one day by saying I had a fab body and clearly worked hard. That was nice because, well, yes I do kind of work fairly hard so it’s nice someone doesn’t just assume it’s good genes or not eating – like so many people have said to me before. Cue dramatic eye roll whenever someone says that to me.

On New Year’s Eve I headed down to Netley for parkrun. My leg felt really good and, though I was nervous, I was keen to get out and run. I pushed the pace more than I did at Christmas. It felt quite tough and towards the end I was near my limit.

Photo credit: Glenn Tyreman

I found the hills tough going but luckily I had a few people around me to keep me going – though they did sprint off at the last bit effectively ditching me! 😉

Photo credit: Glenn Tyreman

I was quite pleased with my time: 23:13 (the fastest since August, but that’s not a particularly good feat seen as how inconsistent my running has been for the past few months!).I was more impressed with my negative split. I mean the start was fairly awkward because I was stuck behind lots of people, having positioned myself too far back, but then that helped stop me going too fast. I did feel fairly shattered by the end. My niggle felt fine though the entire run and at the end so I was more pleased with that than anything to be honest.

My next run was Monday. I had a great weekend of eating lots of good food and celebrating New Year’s Eve but felt ready to go in the morning after breakfast and doing some chores (those oh so fun “back to work” style chores that get left to the last minute). The run felt amazing! My legs felt smooth and it felt comfortably tough but enjoyable. I listened to some random music and just felt in the zone. The weather was crisp and cold but lovely and sunny.To be fair, the route I took was fairly flat so it was easier to push the speed but I was really pleased with being able to maintain a faster pace. I mean, I couldn’t have run much further at the pace I was going but it was nice to blast out some speed. Probably not entirely sensible I guess with the old niggle but it felt fine during and after so I’ll take it!

So basically my plan of attack for this looming marathon is to try and run three times a week. Probably two of those runs 3-4 miles and then a longer run at the weekend…But we’re not talking any crazy 18 milers. I’ll be lucky to get to 16 miles I think. I’m just going to take each run as it comes. The goal is to be able to run the marathon – at what pace I frankly don’t care, but just to not be injured or suffering through any pain or discomfort (asides from the usual marathon-induced fatigue). It’s a big ask but I’ve just got to be sensible!

Did you run over the holidays?

Have you ever had to do a negative taper for a marathon? Which is effectively what I’m going to be doing!

9 thoughts on “Training for a marathon on minimal running

  1. Good old Martin Yelling inverse taper- if it’s good enough for him!
    You’ll be fine- you have fitness behind you, and a good base of running, and as long as you don’t set off crazily fast you’ll get to the finish.
    I ran a bit, but not much as I was ill, and then this week my back has been bad so I’ve been resting – walking and doing a bit of yoga. But back to it now.
    Maria @ runningcupcake recently posted…So how did 2016 go?My Profile

  2. Your legs know the distance and with all of the hard work you’ve put in at the gym (Yay for the compliment from that woman by the way!) you will be fine to get round the marathon I am sure.
    I absolutely love the feeling of stretching my legs and blasting out some speed after time away from running. Like you said, it’s probably not always the most sensible thing to do but it just feels so good!
    Mary recently posted…Plans for 2017My Profile

  3. Oh, sometimes you just need the blast!

    I did run over Christmas – but much more gently (see fertility drugs and wanting to give them the best chance). N is also worrying about spring marathons – Boston – with a niggle. And is also being a bit gentle on himself while building up again. This week is the first week since July where he’s achieved 5 days of running!
    Jane recently posted…I gained some weightMy Profile

  4. Well done for your parkrun time! I did run over Christmas but nothing long or fast – I really want to get back in to regularly doing more than 10km runs as it’s much more interesting seeing things outdoors than my current steady state gym cardio! x
    LilyLipstick recently posted…Life: December Round-UpMy Profile

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