Marathon Training: Week One
As you may have seen in a post from last week, 2016 is the year that I’ve finally decided to tackle the almighty challenge that is the whopping 26.2 miles of marathon. On May 2nd I’ll be taking part in the Milton Keynes Marathon, lining up alongside 3,999 other runners with hopes of finishing the gruelling distance in a decent(ish) time and with my head held high.
I mentioned in my last post that I wasn’t running for a specific charity, but I’ve since decided I would love to run as part of the Macmillan team, a charity which is very close to my heart. Please look out for a link to my sponsorship page in the next few weeks.
But, before all of the adrenaline, excitement and chaffing of race day, firstly comes the hard part: 4 months of training. Here we go…
Spin with the amazing Jordan at Fitness First on Tottenham Court Road. This has been my favourite class for over a year now and I have a feeling the low impact and high cardio element will become a welcome change for my body as I get into the full swing of marathon training.
Each Monday in my training plan is highlighted as cross training, however I know a number of other plans specify Monday as a rest day. I’m a true believer in starting the week how you mean to go on, so depending on how I’m feeling as the Sunday runs get progressively longer I’m going to try and commit to utilising Mondays for either cross training or a stretch/yoga session (or extra sleep!)
Early morning 5km, 5:44/km (My training plan is in miles, however I like to work in KMs, so have been rounding up to the nearest kilometre).
Aside from the occasional 7.30am spin class I’m not normally one for pre-work exercise. The temptation to stay in bed was a strong one, but getting up and pounding the pavements gave me a sense of achievement which carried on right through the working day. As the sun came up near the end of my run I even had a little go on the outdoor gym equipment in the park, getting in some assisted pull-ups and butterfly presses, something I wouldn’t dare to brave in the cold light of day.
Disastrous treadmill 3.5km, 5:50/km
After going to sleep on Tuesday evening full of ambition for another early session the following morning, a truly awful night’s sleep meant I ended up snoozing my alarm well beyond even my normal wake up time. My intentions were then to get out to Regent’s Park at lunch to complete the 8km listed on my training schedule, but as luck would have it a last minute client meeting scuppered those plans too.
The only hope was to head to the gym after work and try and squeeze in a treadmill run. I’ve been running on the treadmill frequently for the past couple of years, tending to save outdoor running for the mornings and weekends, so it’s something I’m totally used to. That, plus the fact that I have really held back on my pace in the past few weeks to save my legs 17 weeks of struggle, meant I was sure I’d be able to manage a quick 8km before supper. I know some running days are better than others, but this was certainly the worst in my running history.
I’m not sure about other runners, but when I go to the gym I always pick from the same one or two treadmills (facing out of the window) out of pure superstition depending on whether I’ve had good runs on them before, and avoid ones I’ve had bad experiences with like the plague.
So of course, being January, the gym was completely packed and the only available treadmill was one facing a blank white wall. I thought the worst that could happen is that I’d just struggle to motivate myself a little and perhaps have a break or two, but within about 5 minutes of running I was feel really dizzy and uncoordinated. The lack of anything to focus on in the distance had triggered the kind of motion sickness that I’ve only ever got in cars, and meant that even getting to the 3.5km that I managed was a real struggle. All in all I left feeling seriously deflated…and extremely nauseous. When I got home and told my boyfriend what had happened his response was this: welcome to marathon training.
Note to self: Always wait for my treadmill with a view and never look to boyfriends for sympathy.
Early morning 8km, 5:46/km
The only thing I can say for treadmill related motion sickness is that it doesn’t half seem to make you sleep well. I had the deepest sleep I’d had for weeks and by the time my alarm went off on Wednesday morning I was raring to go. I was only scheduled in for a 5k run, but spurred on by Wednesday’s failure I decided to go ahead and run the 8km which I should have done the day before.
It only goes to show what a difference a day makes (or 12 hours in my case!). Despite the drizzle my legs felt strong the whole way round, even with the additional puddle dodging. If I wasn’t in training I could definitely have pushed myself a lot faster, but my moto for the next 17 weeks is slow and steady wins the race finishes the marathon.
Rest Day – woohoo!
Morning 8km (PACE), 5:16/km
For some reason I really worked myself up over the first race pace run of training. I run this distance and more regularly, but having it written in black and white was really daunting. My plan is to really hold back on pace in most of my non-paced runs in order to save my legs months of hardship, which meant whilst I’d already run 3 times this week my legs were feeling pretty fresh.
The result was a really great run, if a little faster than I had anticipated.
16km Long Run, 5.50/km
The big one. I was a little bit shocked when I saw a 10 miler in my first week schedule, but as someone on Instagram pointed out to me soon 10 miles will seem like nothing. I really like running this distance because it gives you a taste for pushing yourself for slightly longer than is comfortable (especially for a Sunday morning) but I always feel strong towards the finish, rather than exhausted. I found my legs getting tired towards the 12km mark, as I expected from my 5th run of the week, but I pushed through and ended on a high.
That’s not to say the exhaustion didn’t kick in though. Within an hour of getting home I’d stretched, spent an agonising 10 minutes on the foam roller, eaten a huge portion of Black Bean Bolognese and was in bed ready for a cat nap, accompanied by my kitten, Edgar.
Having clocked up over 25 miles in my first week I was feeling pretty happy, until my boyfriend reminded me that I’ll have to run all of that in one go on 2nd May… bring on Week 2.