Almost three months ago I officially signed up for the London Marathon. Time has gone by, with 106.4 miles worth of training (yes, I have kept a log), and it’s safe to say that I feel no more prepared now than I did back in October.
Today the 16-week training plan begins. I have chosen Martin Yelling’s Intermediate plan – which can be found on the London Marathon website – seeing as I am not a complete beginner to running and I can usually run for a steady 40 minutes. What I liked most about this plan was it focuses on the time running rather than miles itself, with the longest training run being 205 minutes. For some reason I have found this plan less daunting than those I have seen stating the miles for each run. I know the distance would most likely be the same with any plan – with the longest run being around 22 miles – but I find this training plan with “minutes” a little more comforting.
I will be using the plan as a guide throughout the training period, mixing the running up with spinning classes and some Les Mills classes for strength. In recent weeks I have found that spinning has helped me improve endurance and speed. I am now, at times, running consistently at a faster pace, the only problem being that my lungs can’t quite cope with this and I have to keep stopping to let my breathing recover. Something I hope will continue to improve as I add more running into my schedule over the next few weeks.
Nutrition is more important than ever. Now that Christmas and New Year are out the way I need to ensure that I am paying particular attention to what I am eating and drinking. Its all very well being able to run, but If I don’t get the right nutrients I will continue to find running incredibly difficult. A bit like my running this morning, a pitiful 1.6 miles hurt after a night indulging in all sorts of yummy treats on New Year’s Eve. Bad nutrition could also cause me injury and illness too – so it is definitely something I need to pay more attention to.
Armed with lots of advice from Runners Word, London Marathon and Renee Mc Gregor’s “Food for Running Success” I am going to spend the few weeks really diving into the science of nutrition and finding out what is best for me going forward.
Sleep is a major player in my training. It is safe to say I don’t get enough sleep. And this has been clear to me over the Christmas break. Prior to the break I would normally get around six hours sleep every night. Weekends I would be up at 7am the latest. This week I find myself easily sleeping until 9am and I feel like the whole day is gone. It is a clear indication to me that my body is needing the extra sleep. Therefore I need to ensure I aim for eight hours every night over the next few months. Easier said than done, but I can only try.
I am delighted to be given a space at “Meet The Experts” on 4th February. A chance to listen to those experienced in marathon training and hopefully have any questions I have answered by the experts. If you are running a marathon for the first time it is recommended to attend. I received a free ticket through my charity place, but they can be purchased directly for £20. I am personally looking forward to this event as I feel like I don’t have a clue what I am doing. So I am grateful for any advice I can get.
The final part of the plan is sports massages. I have not had one for several months and I am really feeling the need at the moment. Recently I had a neck and shoulder massage at work and was told by the therapist that she just could not get to the muscles. Months of training without a proper full body massage has left my muscles tight and achy. So, a good sports or deep tissue massage is top of my priority list over the next few weeks.
Knowing where to go from here is extremely daunting. The journey I am going to have to face over the coming months is rather terrifying. I am constantly questioning myself and my ability to be able to complete this marathon. When I am struggling with a short run I am always thinking “how the hell am I going to run 26.2 miles?” I know most of it is mind over matter. I have run two half marathons, I have two more before the big day. I can run. I just need to keep telling myself “I can do this.”