Paris Marathon Training – Weeks 3 & 4

Major life changes have been happening in the last seven days! We bought and moved into our first home, so I’m now a home owner (it was a life goal before turning thirty) and I moved jobs. Both of which I’m very excited about and are progressing my life in the right direction, but are equally exhausting to do at the same time.

So Week 4 of marathon training can best be described as, not a sausage. Other than the packing, lifting, more lifting and unpacking of lots of boxes and furniture, I didn’t run or go to the gym the entire week. Honestly, I didn’t even have the headspace to panic about this, what with everything else I had to co-ordinate and think about. I had planned to get a run in over the weekend but I also managed to roll my ankle on the stairs on Thursday evening so was nursing a minor sprain with some almighty bruising and I was just plain tired.

Week 3 had however been a relatively strong week. Three runs, a gym session and a snow walk in the bag!

On Monday and Wednesday I had two very different run commutes. One was extremely strong, with an average pace of 9:42 pace over 3.23 miles. I felt ridiculously good on the run and it was like a culmination of all the training since October. The second was distinctly average at best, my legs felt like lead and my watch died. It felt a lot slower. Saturday’s long run was 7 miles which took me 1hr 20 mins at 11:26 average pace. Distinctly slower. So it took me 11 minutes to run 0.6 miles further than the week before. Luckily with all the packing I had to do it didn’t give me time to dwell too much. If anything Week 3 reinforced for me that not every run or week in marathon training are you going to see improvement. It’s about being able to process that and not mentally let it hold you back moving into the following week. So Week 5 is underway. One run down. First week in a new job, I’m likely to be tired and need to prioritise rest to be able to take on all new information. Equally I haven’t currently rearranged my gym membership to a branch closer to the new flat and so the gym sessions are mostly likely to be postponed this week. Very glad I decided to opt for a twenty week training plan to allow for weeks where it’s not possible to stick to the plan! I am also really excited for everyone doing 18/16 week programmes to start their marathon training, I love the community spirit and marathon hype!

Advertisements

Paris Marathon training – Week 2

‘Baby it’s cold outside’ – wow the temperatures have really dropped over the past week making for three very chilly runs. On Saturday’s long run I finally nailed the layering combo, for now at least, until it decides to get even colder!

My short runs this week involved two partial run commutes, I forgot how hellish it can be to battle the crowds of central London. I was forced off the pavement at one point when a group of people decided it was acceptable to walk four abreast towards me on a pavement. Don’t even get me started on people walking eye down glued to their phones. Other people will look at you from a distance and it’s like a game of chicken as to who is going to dodge. I fully accept I’m the one going above walking speed and will weave in and out as much as necessary but come on, could we just co-exist nicely, festive goodwill and all…. share the damn pavement!

So Monday the calves were cripplingly tight. For all the stretching etc I was rather frustrated. On Wednesdays run, for the first mile I was trying to pin point when the tightness had started. Had a bit of a light bulb moment, it was when I started wearing my extra firm compression socks to run in, they did wonders for my shins. Stopped the watch, sat at a bus stop with some bemused onlookers, whilst I yanked my socks down from under my running tights, with some difficulty! For the next two and a half miles my legs felt glorious. Problem sorted. Except then my shins weren’t as happy….. are compression gaiters are thing?

Saturday I had 6 miles on the plan. I planned and out and back route from home, but by the time I ran 0.2 miles in the wrong direction, I decided to see where I was in terms of a 10k time and went for 6.4 miles. My last time for a 10k, that I remember, was 1 hour 14 minutes. So I was pretty happy Saturday’s run was done in 1:09:14 and I wasn’t going at maximum effort for the entire run. This run left me feeling really strong and positive.

With 9 weeks until the London Winter Run 10km on 4 February, I’m aiming to shave ten minutes off and come in just under an hour. If you fancy joining me for a sub 60 minute attempt please let me know. This is definitely the sort of race best shared with others. You might want to think about signing up by 6th December as afterwards the entry fee increases. Little disclaimer, I’ve kindly been given a free bib for the race, in exchange for spreading the love, but I enjoyed it so much last year I would totally have paid the entry fee.

Other than my three runs, I got my two rest days, spent packing up our flat for moving next week and one out of two cross training sessions done. Tuesday evening 8:30pm I found my train coming from central London, terminating at my train station and 16 minutes until the next train to get to the gym…. I’d been up since 6:45am and wanted to be home and having eaten dinner before 10:30pm. Sometimes these things happen. I’m working on not feeling overly guilty if I miss one session.

Heading into Week 3 excited to work on the progress I’ve seen over the last few weeks.

Paris Marathon training – Week 1

Hello or more appropriately Bonjour! It’s been a while but with training for marathon number three under way it felt like the right time to reignite the blog.

Back in 2015/16 training for Brighton marathon my goal was to simply finish. My training was very much the hit and miss of someone who had only recently started running and was totally clueless. My goal was to simply finish.

Fast forward to London marathon in 2017, I only found out I had a place with 12 weeks to go and my training was an utter shambles, I just wasn’t in the right head space. I relied solely on the fact that I was bloody minded and had done the distance once, I could do it again. I hauled myself round that course and vowed I would never put myself through running a marathon again without properly training.

So this is it. Paris 2018. My first international marathon, in one of my all time favourite cities. Time to see what happens if I commit, like really really commit and push myself further than I’ve been willing to before. A special thank you has to go to ASICS for the bib (*spot in the race) and the kit you will see me wearing through my training.

I decided to do two weeks of pre-marathon training to get my head and legs in the game, followed by a twenty week training programme. I found a number of training plans online and after painstaking analysis of them put together my own, drawing the bests bits from different sources and fitting it round my schedule.

Two weeks of pre- marathon training went without a hitch, minus one missed 40min run. It was a bit of a shock to the system but it helped me to focus and confirm that I really wanted to do this. I found this fire starting to burn in me that screamed, the timing is right let’s do this. I haven’t felt with running for a very long time.

Week 1 of official training saw a great deal of tight calves and perseverance but I got the job done. I received lots of helpful tips on how to remedy this and sports massage recommendations. So it’s morning and evening stretching sessions and I’m going to get myself booked in before this becomes more of an issue.

Monday – Wednesday went smoothly. On Thursday there was a cross training session on the plan but having been unable to sleep for several nights and having seen 4:20am that day I was exhausted and decided to take it as an additional rest day, which was far more valuable to my body than 40 mins on a bike or rowing machine.

I need my sleep, I don’t function well without it which doesn’t go well because come 2-3am I’m a world class worse-case-scenario analyst. Last week my anxiety levels were off the charts, with exchanging contracts on our first flat, potentially loosing the new flat, potentially not having anywhere to live as we have to move out of current flat. Of course none of this ended up happening.

Despite the worrying, I have noticed a significant improvement in my general mental outlook and wellbeing, consistently exercising over the last three weeks. I’m also starting to feel physically fitter after such a short time, so I’m excited to see what can happen in the months to come.

Heading into Week 2 ready and raring to go. Let me know if you are planning to run a spring 2018 marathon, sharing the highs and lows of marathon training with the running community I find really gets you through those tough weeks.

Disclaimer: I am very grateful that ASICS have given me a place to run Paris Marathon and will be providing me with running kit to see me through my training. This is not a paid collaboration.

Marathon Number Two

IMG_1839

*Image from www.richmondrunningfestival.com

Crossing the finish line of Brighton Marathon  there was no doubt I’d be doing another; the thrill of that last mile alone was contagious.

Brighton, as my first, was simply about seeing if I could hack it. The training through the cold winter months, the physical and mental drain and then the 26.2 miles itself. Being my first I just wanted to finish in one piece.

Having survived, without so much as a blister I knew that I could have pushed myself to go faster; which is exactly what I intend to do during Marathon Number two.

IMG_1360 (1).JPG

I decided that I couldn’t wait an entire year until Spring marathon season and so I started researching Autumn marathons. We are hoping to go away on a two week holiday in early October so I decided I would opt for something localish, to avoid hotel/travel expenses associated with races. I had heard of Richmond Running Festival before and read good things about the organisation and atmosphere of the half marathon. Then I discovered that for the first time this year, a full marathon was being added to the festival; coupled with the fact that the course is pancake flat and I love Richmond, it ticked all the boxes.

FullSizeRender (37)

I learnt a lot from training for my first marathon, what works, what doesn’t and what I need to improve on. Last time I undertook a cautious twenty week program and it simply too long. Twenty weeks is an awfully long time to keep focused and quite simply I became frustrated and bored. This time around, given that my fitness levels remained in tact post Brighton, I am opting for fourteen weeks; commencing today and concluded on the big day 18 September 2016.

I have also drawn myself up a more strict training program, based on Hal Higdon’s ‘The Novice 1 plan’. It essentially reflects the plan but with some of the days swapped around, particularly to account for certain events such as my friend’s wedding and Alex’s birthday; I doubt he’d be too impressed me abandoning him for a 16 mile run. However, I am determined to more strictly follow a plan so that I resist the urge to make it up on a weekly basis. If an event or class comes up, then I will still make time for it but  just make sure I get my run done in the morning before work instead. Conveniently my new office is located exactly ten miles from home.

My next addition is the inclusion of speed work. I am not a fast runner, I enjoy plodding and even as far back as the days at school, I could just about drum up some enthusiasm for 800m but the 100m filled me with dread. Following Brighton I haven’t had much desire to go on any long runs, you could say that I had my fill after running for 6 hours straight (minus the portaloo stops). Instead I have been sticking to 5 milers and 3-5 mile treadmill speed work; I know it’s not quite the same but I find it a lot easier to maintain my speed for longer on a treadmill. In just 6 weeks I’ve knocked minutes off my previous 3 and 5 mile times and running on the road I have also noticed that my natural pace is a little faster than pre-marathon. So I’m hoping that in 14 weeks time with a focused speed session once a week, it will help me to chip away at my current marathon time.

FullSizeRender (39).jpg

To keep my mind on track, I am also undertaking an online ‘Behaviour Change’ Course with Future Fit Training to help me understand behaviours and how they can be changed. I am guilty of several persistent bad ‘habits’ and whilst I constantly endeavour to quash them once and for all, add lack of sleep, stress or sometimes just some bad weather into the mix and my efforts dissipate. I’m hoping this course will help me understand my own behaviour better and enable me to share this knowledge with you.

So here’s to the next 14 weeks and marathon number two; I hear there are still places, if any one fancies joining me!