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Back to marathon training and loving it

I know I’ve posted a lot recently about swimming, but – confession time – re-posting my 220 Triathlon blog is an easy way of posting a blog.   But as well as the swimming, since the autumn I’ve been trying to become a runner again to prepare for starting to train for Brighton marathon in April.

And it’s been surprisingly hard.

For ironman training the emphasis was on biking rather than running because that’s where I could make the most gains.  Of course I did run, but I’m afraid it was all about endurance so I didn’t do much quality work. For my third one, I probably should have done more quality work… but didn’t.  For my long runs, I practiced the run/walk strategy I like to use, so in long training runs I never ran much further than for 10 mins before having one minute walking break.  (I have considered using run/walk in a stand alone marathon but have shelved that idea for Brighton.)

I even dabbled with speed sessions on the grass track at the club in the autumn but it only took three sessions for my knees to give up on me and keep me from running for two weeks.  I knew I shouldn’t try to run round a track! It was wonderful, though, to join in with the session rather than stand at the side of the track and coach it.

So once the knees were better I concentrated on just running consistently three or four times a week, including one longer run (usually no more than 10 or 11 miles) and some sort of weekly tempo run – usually a cross country race if there was one on. I was quite pleased with my Gosport half marathon time in November – 1.56 – but even though I kept it easy and then just felt good so ran the last three miles a bit harder, I was knackered for two weeks afterwards. It was a long way off my PB but to be honest I was thrilled to get so far under 2 hours.

So now it’s full blown marathon training. I’m really enjoying it.  Now that I’ve got into some sort of a routine and have ticked off a few longer runs – 14 miles last week, 15 tomorrow – I’m beginning to feel the positive effects kicking in. A cross country race last weekend and a sea swim the next day found me feeling energetic and powerful rather than exhausted and energy-less. Hooray! And the best thing of all is the wonderful feeling of satisfaction when you’ve finished a long run, both literally the minute you finish and later on that day when you can feel smug and satisfied… and can eat masses.

I’ve signed up to Marathon Talk’s Jantastic motivation programme which has me committed to four runs a week.  Many people would say that isn’t enough but I know my knees will complain if I do any more than four and as it is I’m having to be careful about what surfaces I run on, making sure I have a rest day between runs etc.  It’s not ideal, but it’s the way it’s going to have to be. I’m just going to have to make the runs I do manage count.  I’ve had some success in the past with the FIRST programme ie 3 runs a week plus two cross training sessions, so as long as I get my pacing right on the day I shooooouuuld be ok.

On top of the runs I’m doing three swims a week, including one hard session and a sea swim, a pilates class and at least one other core/strength session per week.  I’m looking forward to seeing how my body holds up to the training over the next four months now that I’ve been doing pilates and strength work for almost five years.  I’m hoping it means I’m biomechanically more sound and a bit more injury-proof, despite the fact that I’m now a V50.  We’ll see.

Marathon goal?  Sub 4 hours.  3:59.59 will do nicely.

About the Author:Lou

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