My 1st Marathon Training Experience (very brief)
My 1st marathon was the 2013 Virgin London Marathon. I finished 4hrs 31mins which a few days after the marathon, I was disappointed with as I wanted sub 4 hrs. Then about a week after (when I could walk without pain) I realised how much of an achievement it was taking into account the issues I had. I started off being very laid back about how I was going to train, in terms of I had a structure but I would try new things as I had time, I started training in Sept/October after Run To the Beat 1/2 Marathon 2012. This was a mistake which proved to haunt me over the next 6 months.
Being sporty I am naturally competitive in certain areas, but in particular with myself. I had 5 runs in the 1st week, 2 Continuous, 2 Interval and 1 Fartlek all with varying distances up to 7 miles. The continuous runs were to run 5 miles at a comfortable pace, that’s it. The 1st run I ran 5 miles in about 42 mins, straight after that I thought I could do it a lot quicker, so I went for 40 mins which I did, but my Tibialis Posterior in my right leg was screaming at me! Tibialis Posterior is a muscle in your lower leg, which sits underneath the Gastrocnemius (big calf muscle) and Soleus (another calf muscle). So, I calmed myself down and used my Sports Injury knowledge to get rid of the injury. I then critiqued the plan I had and decided to buy a book from Runner’s World which was wrote by very well known marathon runners Jennifer Van Allen, Bart Yasso & Amby Burfoot.
I used the beginner’s programme because it was flexible, had 3 rest days and it did fit around my work schedule nicely. These factors are some of many which I believe a runner should follow when they look for a training programme. I began following the 16 week training programme on New Year’s eve and I really did enjoy it, but sometimes work really did dictate the quality of the run which wasn’t great but nevermind! The longest I ran was 20 miles, should’ve been twice but I was ill. The 20 mile run was the last Long Slow Distance (LSD) run I had before tapering. With my shorter runs, I ran up to 8 miles, some of the runs from Week 9 had Strides to improve my speed.
Over the course of the 16 weeks of training, I had my fair share of injuries with Medial Tibialis Stress Syndrome (MTSS) proving to be the most painful, along with straining my quad at mile 14 on the London Marathon. I also had a bout of Norovirus 3/4 weeks before race day, losing 1/2 a stone in less than a week! So preparation was hampered a lot, but as mentioned before, on reflection of the above events and injuries I was very pleased to finish it. And it was one of the best experiences I’ve had so far in my life!
My Decision making behind another Marathon, the Ultramarathon & the Training
After the London Marathon I kept fit by weight lifting and 2-3 comfortable runs a week. In September I started to consider another marathon because of the whole experience, and that I really wanted a sub 4hrs finish. ‘Why are you doing this to yourself again?’ you ask, this is why. The motivation, is a family member is suffering from Cancer & a family friend passed away a number of years ago from Motor Neurone Syndrome, so I really wanted to do something positive and raise money for MacMillan & Motor Neurone Syndrome.
A friend of mine, James Marshall, mentioned that he was entering an Ultramarathon ‘The Wall’, and being competitive I couldn’t really say no! The Wall is on June 21st-22nd, 69 miles from Carlisle to Newcastle (33 days on Day 1, 36 miles on Day 2) all terrain and camping overnight…yes that’s as hard as it gets! It took me a while to decide how I was going to attack these events with my training but this is what I have decided on:
– The same 16 week plan as the London Marathon, for the Brighton Marathon but with 2-3 gym sessions for preventative rehabilitation (Prehab) and build strength for the Ultramarathon. I was due to start the 16 week plan before Christmas but was ill again and injured…again! As I want a sub 4hrs finish, I am running my shorter runs at 8:10min/mile – 8:30min/mile pace, my LSD runs will be around 9:00min/mile – 9:15min/mile pace.
– After the Brighton Marathon on April 6th, I go straight into Ultramarathon training, 5 days on, 2 rest days. Tuesday & Thursdays 9 miles with varying paces, mainly 10 mile or 1/2 marathon pace (so quite quick). Wednesdays easy 5 mile jog and here is the hard part…Saturdays run between 2 – 4 hrs and Sundays run between 2.5 – 5 hrs depending on the training week. I will also be going to the gym at least twice a week, hopefully 4 times but probably 3 times a week! The gym work again will be conditioning myself for the Ultramarathon, but heavily focusing on Prehab because I really don’t want to be running in pain, especially as I’ll be running up to 70 miles a week for training alone!
With working for Bromley Rugby Football Club, Munchkin Sports & having private clients on weekends, I have to juggle my social life and training around work a lot. For example, this Sunday I will be running 12 miles at 5:30/6:00 am just so that I can have a Sunday afternoon free, rather than working then having to run, which obviously will affect my performance. Yes it’s crazy but at least I can have a full day to relax without having to think about running or work or anything else. I also realise that this is what it takes to get my goals, so I am just focusing on training well and not letting it affect my work so much. I am also considering running in South Downs, the New Forrest and similar areas of terrain, just to match what it will be like up north, near Hadrian’s Wall!
Thanks for reading this post, I hope it was light reading for a Friday! Will keep you all updated about the routes I’m running, how I fuel my runs, rest, recovery, injury issues & how I go about fixing them with self treatment, and the conservative route using Chiropractors, Sports Massage & Holistic Massage. Feel free to comment on this post, or send an email via the Contact Us page if you have any questions.
Have a great weekend!