By Paul (October 20th) ... How did I train for that first marathon then? Well, in all honesty, whilst I mock Louise’s perfectionism and attention to detail, I did originally aspire to such structure.
A friend recommended a great read to prepare myself for that first marathon –‘The Non Runners Marathon Trainer’. The book became my bible, a great read that I now highly re-recommend to anyone crazy enough to want to run 26 miles, and a great way to prepare yourself for the mental aspect of marathon running, which I believe represents at least 50% of the challenge ahead.
For the physical aspect, I reviewed the vast array of beginner marathon plans that are available online and in the various magazines that you start paying attention to now that you are ‘in training’ and I ultimately opted for the convenience of a plan that you could download through the RunKeeper app to your phone. I diligently tried to follow that plan … it lasted about a month for me.
The structure was not my thing, long runs, short runs, hills, intervals, rest days, fartleks … I still can’t resist a wry smile whenever I see that word. I just wanted to run. So run I did, rain or shine, wind, snow and hail, I plodded a 5 mile route around work 3/4 lunchtimes per week for 6 months, with an increasingly long run thrown in for good measure each weekend.
Core and strength training were simply not on my horizon, and as for stretching, one of Tommy Cooper’s classic jokes best described me … “I said to the gym instructor: ‘Can you teach me to do the splits?’ He said: ‘How flexible are you?’ I said: ‘I can’t make Tuesdays’.”
So, I’m not perhaps your traditional example of how to train for a marathon, and I am not challenging the wisdom of all the plans and advice out there, everyone will approach and achieve such a massive task in their own way, but ultimately, whatever method you choose, the Only Way Is Effort!
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