Sunday, January 6, 2019

Marathon Training - Week 1

Brighton Marathon 2019 - Week 1 of Training

After weeks of studying training plans, combining them to suit me and formatting it all into a neat spreadsheet, marathon training has finally begun.
I’ve been looking forward to this, even if it scares me. A lot. 2018 has been a brilliant year of running and racing for me and although it’s beyond my comfort zone, I do feel like I’m ready to take on a marathon.
My plan began on Christmas Eve with a rest day – I liked to think of it as a day to just mentally get around the fact that the next sixteen weeks are going to be dedicated to the challenge ahead.
This meant that my very first run of this training cycle was on Christmas Day. I’ve never run before at Christmas – two years ago there’s no way I’d even have considered it! But if you’re going to run on Christmas Day then a Parkrun is the way to do it. My dad and I joined over 230 other runners at Canons Park, a new course for both of us. I completed it in 21:30 which was certainly a nice way to start off as it’s my fastest parkrun time since October. The course had some gradual hills and a few muddy patches which also slowed me down a little. I’d actually planned to include a mile warm up beforehand and a cooldown afterwards, but I was busy chatting to the other festive parkrunners instead.
Canons Park Christmas Day Parkrun
Day 3 (Boxing Day) I went for a “steady” 5 mile run down to the reservoir and back. I was feeling good on this run – perhaps fuelled by the previous day’s feasting – and so was running probably faster than I ought to. I averaged 8:42/mi and while it felt pretty comfortable, I think I do need to try and make sure my easy runs are low intensity so I don’t fatigue myself through this training. I followed this up with some bodyweight strength training.
Day 4 was another 5 mile run, this one at a quicker pace. I’d planned to run at a consistent pace for the entire run, but ended up doing the first 2.5 miles at about 7:35/mi and then getting tired so I ran a much slower, steadier mile to recover before picking back up to that pace again for another 0.5 miles, and then slowed down again for the final 0.5 miles. This was definitely one of those testing runs, the ones I want to remember when it comes to marathon day and I think back about all the times I’ve pushed through wanting to quit.

Day 5 was a much needed rest day.
Day 6 was back at Parkrun and a return to my home parkrun at Harrow. It’s always tempting to try and run parkruns as fast as I can but I tried not to go all out on this one and instead held back a little bit for a 22:11. Still felt like hard work and a good way of keeping some speedy runs in, but without tiring myself too much.
Day 7 – the first of the long runs, and I began with 10 miles. The first four or five miles of this run felt great, but I came to a long hill in mile six and was starting to really feel the effort. I reminded myself this is only the start of a long training period and that there’s no need to totally exhaust myself so early on, and decided to walk parts of the hill. Something I think I’m going to learn during this training is when I need to just push through a bit of negative thinking, and when I need to take things sensibly to avoid fatigue or injury. I reached 8 miles and was so ready to stop at this point, but was able to motivate myself to just keep going, to keep reaching the next half-mile until finally 10 miles were complete.
Overall, I’m glad I’ve been able to complete the first week and stick to the plan despite it being a busy one with all the Christmas celebrations. It’s been a more unusual week because of the two parkruns, so there’s been more fast runs than normal, and I haven’t had any track sessions. It’s great to be back running with a plan and although I can already sense that marathon training is going to be hard work, I’m enjoying it so far!
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