If the marathon is a serious challenge then it makes sense to take the training seriously as well.
I’m comfortable running up to half marathon distance and usually try to get out two or three times a week just for general fitness. It always surprises me how quickly your form dips if you take even just a few weeks, never mind a few months off. After my first half I didn’t run for two months – then tried to resume training and it was honestly like going back to square one.
So when a London place was on the cards I hit the web to find a suitable programme, which inevitably I’ve tinkered with to make it work for my ability, lifestyle, work, family commitments and so on.
I took a 20 week programme and modified it to incorporate hard training in the build up to last October’s Great Birmingham Run (half marathon distance). So, if you like, I was doing marathon mileage but for a half event. Result? PB (whoop!) and a certain level of comfort in running four times a week, every week.
I reset the programme back to the beginning after Birmingham and am now just past the halfway point, clocking up around 23 miles per week.
Over the four days my plan goes: short, medium, short and long. Two of the days are consecutive and the long run is on a Sunday. The other days are for rest, but I try to incorporate a few short walks and some free weights and exercises at home to build up strength.
I had reservations about my running becoming this ‘regimented’, rather than just going out when I’m in the mood. But I have to say I’m enjoying it. You do become a bit of a slave to the spreadsheet, but the trade-off is being able to monitor your progress week to week and see how the times across similar routes and courses start to tumble as you become more competent.
I use a Garmin Forerunner and then log the miles via Garmin Connect. Miles and time are then inputted into my own spreadsheet, plus I mark off on the calendar whether or not that day’s run was green (miles done), amber (a bit short on distance) or red (missed the run altogether).
So, are you ready for stat-overload??? My training plan in numbers so far!
- 20 weeks completed
- 80 runs scheduled, only 7 missed (that’s not bad!)
- 359 miles completed (wow)
- 469 miles to go (oh dear…)
- 1 expensive pair of Asics GT-2000’s trashed (!)
Although not a competitive sport from my perspective (ie I’m not racing other runners), I’ve loved the fact that running to a schedule makes it kind of feel that way – you effectively compete with yourself. It keeps your interest, I guess, rather than becoming a slog or a chore.
Will I make it through the remaining weeks and keep those green boxes ticked? I certainly hope so. The big weekend miles start later this month (14 by the end of January) and I’ve also signed up for a local 20 mile event – the Stafford 20 – in March.
It’s great to be able to see what other London runners have been up to and how they are finding the whole experience. Keep it up and keep sharing your stories!
Now, I’d better go and charge up the Garmin ready for tomorrow’s little jaunt….
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