“How is the marathon training going?” – A question I am constantly asked.
Unfortunately, just before my training plan was due to start, I tested positive for COVID-19. Luckily, I had no/very mild symptoms and felt fine for the most part. Left feeling slightly frustrated by this set back and the idea of ten days of isolation, I decided to use this time to ‘prep’ my body (and mind) for the weeks of training ahead. Living in a flat I didn’t have access to a garden or a treadmill, so I decided to use this time to do some home workouts and yoga practice. (Disclaimer I am fully aware and grateful I was able to do this as I know everyone is affected differently by COVID-19). This was not the start of the training plan I had hoped for, however, I think having this time to really stretch and rest before the training started had its benefits and something I would have not done if I wasn’t in isolation.
Training for a sub-4 hour finish
I decided to follow a ‘sub-4 hour marathon’ training plan in the hope to make an improvement on my virtual marathon time last year. It is a 16-week plan that I have amended to fit around my schedule and current commitments (university, working part-time at Run4It and seeing family and friends). This is something I would really recommend doing for any training plan you follow no matter the distance. The structure of the plan includes five runs, one cross training day and one rest day. This has been working well for me so far and I have been enjoying using the pool for a low impact session.
Luckily, I have not suffered any injuries or further setbacks during my training so far, and overall I have been pretty consistent. I have missed a few runs when other commitments got in the way. Although I hate doing this, sometimes things pop up or you need to give your body some extra rest. Having a flexible training plan is something I touched upon in the part 1 of this series of articles. Being flexible really allows you to work the runs around your life as sometimes, for me anyway, the weekly mileage can be quite daunting. With the evenings now becoming lighter (finally) it is much easier to squeeze runs in later in the evening without the need for a headtorch.
8 weeks to go...
With the race now 8 weeks away the countdown is on! I have mixed emotions, excitement but also fear. Now that the weather is improving, training is a great excuse to get out in the sun, so fingers crossed it stays.
Tips for those long runs
I am no expert but here are a few tips that I have found help make my long runs more interesting and manageable:
- Plan them for a day when you have a bit of extra time. This means you can really stretch and fuel afterwards, both are very important for recovery.
- Plan a route before you go out. I mentioned this in the previous post however, I really do think this helps me get the most out of the long run, so I thought I’d mention it again. It’s such a good way to explore local places and it means you know the end point.
- Carry enough nutrition to keep you going throughout the run. I usually use the High5 gels. Using nutrition during your training runs is a good way to test it out before the big day.
It’s great working at Run4It at this time of year, I am able to chat to customers who are training for upcoming races. I am forever learning about local running routes which I use to make the weekly long runs more exciting.
I have been taking each week of the training plan as it comes so bring on week 9!