I’m not entirely sure if it’s completely sunk in yet, this whole running-another-marathon thing. It feels like it is forever away. I’m not quite so petrified about the idea like I was when I entered Paris – I feel quite calm this time. I guess I know my body can get through it, it can do the distance if I put the training in, and so I’m just treating it as “winter training as usual”.
I’ve been reflecting on my training last season – what went right, what went wrong (injury), what I want to change for this time. My biggest adjustment is that I don’t want to run more than 3 times a week, and my biggest focus is NOT TO GET INJURED.
For Paris Marathon I followed Hal Higdon’s Novice 1 plan – it came highly recommended, lots of other newbies were following it, and I didn’t really know any different. I wasn’t training for time – I just wanted to get around and finish – and that plan did that for me. It was 4 runs a week, of various distances – building up to the marathon. Except I struggled to get those 4 runs in – I was lucky if I got in 3 good runs, with the 4th always falling by the wayside. A lot of the time I was runcommuting or running junk miles just to get the run in. I was constantly tired (and hungry and grumpy), and by skipping that 4th run I added the extra emotion of guilt in to the mix. I didn’t prioritise ANYTHING other than running – no yoga, no strength training, nothing.
This time, I want my runs to have purpose. Instead of just running and running and running to get the distance under my feet, I want to include different types of running workouts. I’ve seen a few people have really good success with the FIRST training plan, so I bought the book Run Less, Run Faster and downloaded the app. The plan revolves around 3 runs a week – a track repeats session, a tempo run, and a long run. You supplement these runs with strength and stretch workout sessions.
I’m really loving the app – you pick your 5k time, and it automatically calculates what pace you need to run at for the track and tempo training sessions. This is especially good for people like me who are multi-lingual in miles and kilometres, but can’t convert EITHER into pace timings! I’ve never really run at a certain pace before, or paid much attention to it – preferring instead to plod it out and then be pleasantly surprised (or a bit disappointed!) so this will be a steep learning curve for me. I’m planning to do quite a few of these on treadmills (kill me now) as it’s much easier to set your pace and stick to it. Once I am more confident in my pacing then I will take these runs outside.
The other interesting part of my plan is that only 50% of my training will be in London. I’ll be in New Zealand for the month of March – which adds a whole new element to the training. I won’t be working, which means I will be free to run whenever I want – and it also means I can shift longer runs around to do on different days, instead of having to wait for the weekends to have the time. Yes – this does mean I will be avoiding that 18miler scheduled on my wedding day, and the 20miler scheduled the day of my flight back to London – and doing those MUCH earlier in the week!
Being in New Zealand also means OMGEXCITEMENT at all the new places I can run. I wasn’t a “real runner” when I left home – and I cannot WAIT to run the beach at my parents place, along the Auckland waterfront, the Wellington waterfront, and the Hutt River trail. I honestly think I could sink a sweet 15miler easily by being distracted by all the amazing places I will now get to run. I’m already locking in some running dates with friends for when I am back – two birds and all that!
The month of April could be an interesting challenge. We’ll be travelling through Albania, Montenegro, Bosnia, and Serbia in the three weeks immediately prior to the marathon. While I will be tapering at this time and the distances won’t quite be so big – there will still be 3 runs a week to do! Jase has agreed to do some with me and I’m going to start researching routes/ areas that will be safe and suitable for training. Our travel plans very clearly have training runs marked on the schedule – but I also realise I am going to have to be flexible and go with the flow as well.
To keep up the strength and stretching side of the training plan I’m going to continue on the Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide (man how I wish that had a better name, from here on I will refer to it as BBG!). These workouts have been seriously kicking my ass and making me a hot sweaty mess – and I can do them easily in the space in my living room, without too much additional equipment. I plan to continue my Friday morning yoga date at The Power Yoga Company until I leave London, and then utilise youtube yoga video’s for on-the-go.
My official start date for the FIRST plan is 5th January (perfect timing for returning from holiday, and starting my Whole 30!). However, my first long run that week is 13kms – so in between now and Christmas I am going to be working at getting my running fitness level back up. I’ve definitely let it slide since having my knee problems at Spitfire Scramble, and haven’t been regularly running since. It’s been good to have a rest (with a few fun runs along the way) but now it’s time to start working back up to my next goal – showing that marathon who is boss.
That’s the plan, anyway!