From reading the title you might think this has turned into a running blog. It hasn’t. But in 2016 I’ll (hopefully) be running the London Marathon. The training will take over my life and shape our family days out for the next few months so I’ve decided to write a monthly update about the experience. I’ll also be able to look back in future years and remind myself not to enter the ballot again!
Why did I apply?
For purely selfish reasons. At the back of my mind I’ve always thought it would be quite an achievement to run the London marathon. I entered the ballot unsuccessfully for a couple of years so was amazed to find out I’d got a place this year.
I know there are plenty of other marathons out there. But when I saw the lonely tail runners hobbling around the deserted business park that forms part of our local marathon route I knew I’d only be motivated to run in a much larger and well supported event.
I’m also relieved that I don’t have to raise large amounts of money for a charity place. This would have been easier in my old corporate role but I work in a much smaller place now with far fewer fund raising opportunities. I’ll still run for a charity (to be decided) but will be spared the pressure of finding time for both training and lots of fund raising.
My running history
I’ve been an intermittent runner over the last few years. I love the feeling after a run but unless I have a goal I’m happy to find an excuse not to run. It’s always too windy, too wet, too sunny or too hot. That said, I much prefer to run outside, preferably along country footpaths. You’ll never find me in a gym on a treadmill!
Running is near enough my only exercise, with the exception of a daily lunchtime walk. In the summer months I cycle to and from work a couple of times a week. Sadly the route I use is too muddy (and currently closed) at this time of year.
The most sustained running period of my life was whilst training for the Reading half-marathon almost four years ago. Despite atrocious weather on half-marathon day I achieved the sub-2 hour time I was hoping for.
Since the Reading half I’ve only run once or twice a week, always meaning to enter another event and never quite getting around to it. I’ve taken part in my local Parkrun since the start of 2015 but until last month my weekly mileage hovered around the 6 mile mark, some way off marathon level!
My London Marathon training plan
My goal is to complete the course with minimal walking and ideally in less than 5 hours. This is achievable, given my half-marathon time, but I’ll be a first time marathoner at the age of 46 and it pays to be realistic. If things don’t work out on the day I won’t worry too much, after all it will still be a PB!
Over the last month I’ve spent a lot of time researching other runner’s blogs and reading about their training regimes. It’s a whole new language; from threshold runs to hill repeats to fartlek.
My plan is to keep it simple. I immediately discounted every plan I found that involved running more than 4 times per week. I’ve got too many creaky joints to run too frequently and not end up injured prior to the race. Instead I’m adapting a plan I found so that I end up with one long run a week (building up to 20 miles), a fast 3 mile Parkrun and a couple of other runs during the week. I’ll vary the speeds and distances of these according to how I feel. I won’t break any records with this approach but my life is already busy enough.
My 16 week training plan officially starts on the 4th January. However I’ve upped my mileage in preparation and am currently running around 15 miles per week, including an hour long run once a week.
I know from my copious blog reading that I should be incorporating stretching, core strength training, yoga, swimming and the like into my training plan. That doesn’t mean I’ll actually get around to doing any of these. Even though I know it’s the right thing to do!
And lastly, perhaps most importantly, it’s time for some new running trainers. I finally replaced my Reading half-marathon pair earlier this year (ahem, a couple of years late). However my replacement pair doesn’t offer as much support and I’m already getting sore feet when I run longer distances. So this weekend I’ll be trotting off to my local running shop for a spot of Christmas present trainer purchasing.
That’s all for this month. In January I’ll be back with a training progress update. If you’ve ever run a marathon, or indeed have a place in one, I’d love to hear how you got on so please do leave a comment below.