Thursday, December 19, 2019

Manchester Marathon Training - Week 1

Manchester Marathon Training - Week 1

Running at parkrun

It's that time again. The start of spring marathon training. I'll be running Manchester Marathon in April, and while goal number one is of course to just complete it and enjoy it, I'm also hopeful of improving upon the time I ran for Brighton Marathon this year.

Last time I wrote my own training plan, but this time around Dylan is rather kindly coaching me and writing me a personalised marathon plan. (And if you want to know more about online running coaching, you can take a look at Novice to Elite Coaching)

So, as before, I'm going to try and keep some sort of record of how the training goes for anyone who would like to follow along!

The transition in marathon training was kind of a gradual one, but for the sake of this blog I'm counting it as starting on the 9th December...

Unusually I began with a Monday run. Normally this is a rest day for me, but I'd worked 12 hour shifts Friday to Sunday so kicked off the week with an easy 15 minute run to shake out my legs after three days without running. Nothing too exciting, just looping around the local roads and park at an easy pace. I then did a hot yoga class in the evening for a mix of stretching and core work.

Tuesday is my track night with Harrow AC and on the schedule this week were 6x1300m reps. I was supposed to be doing about 5:20 per rep but the conditions were absolutely dreadful and I just wasn't in the right frame of mind to push myself that hard. I was close on the first two (5:22 and 5:25) which was great considering the strong winds and driving rain, but I was struggling to even compose my breathing in the third rep, gave it one last shot in the fourth rep and dragged myself round for a fifth. I called it a day after 5 - I was soaking, the cold was making my shoulder ache and it was just miserable. I did at least manage a couple more laps of the track to cool down though!

This was a rest day and apart from going to work, that's pretty much exactly what I did

Now I was supposed to run after work, but I was stood at the platform in the dark waiting for my train and watching the rain come down and I just couldn't muster up any enthusiasm. I tried to motivate myself for a bit, but knowing the weather would be better the next day I discussed with Dylan and agreed that it was more sensible to move the session to Friday so I could run it in the dry, in the daylight and get much more out of it. This is the kind of flexible coaching I like!

I'd promised I'd get this run done having wimped out of doing it in the rain the day before, so there was no place for excuses when I got home from work. The plan was 1 mile warm up, then 3 x 1 mile at around 6:36/mile, with 5 minute walk breaks in-between and finally a mile cool down. I was really nervous about this session and pretty much convinced I'd get nowhere near the goal times. But I programmed it into my watch and set off. The hard effort miles were tough, but I was pleased with myself for sticking at them and pleasantly surprised to see I'd managed 6:40, 6:34 and 6:44 in windy conditions. Room for improvement on this workout, but a nice confidence boost.

Parkrun with instructions to 'keep it slow'. I did manage to obey though and finished up in 24:50 with what had felt nice and comfortable.

AKA long run day. 'Just' 10 miles for this week, but with miles 2-4 at goal marathon pace. Dylan came out with me on a bike which was fun - made me feel like a bit of a pro with my support rider! I set off too quick on the marathon pace section, mostly because I'd managed to coincide it with a hill that I just wanted to get out of the way. I did try to slow down a bit, but I was also getting into a good stride and running fairly consistently so I kept it up. Not sure that would have been the case if I didn't have the encouragement coming from alongside me, and there was definitely a couple of times where I very nearly told him to get lost and just let me stop but it felt like a great achievement when those three miles were over. Then six undulating miles to get home. I thought I was shuffling along by this point, but the mile splits suggest otherwise which is also a nice feeling.

28 miles of running completed, and a solid first week of training banked!
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