It is ten weeks since I ran the Sunderland Marathon and I can still feel the pain and disappointment I suffered at its hands. The marathon punished me: it showed me who the real boss is. It laid bare my frailties for all to see, especially me! It was a hard lesson, but only a fool does not learn from experience. The disappointment is my motivation to take the distance on again. This time, it’s personal…………….
I have registered for the Berlin Marathon on 29th September 2013 and I am aiming for a sub 3:45 time – there, I have said it. I will not, cannot, dare not, be humiliated again. My promise to my family is that if I fail to break 3:45, that’s it, no more marathons. The time it takes to train for a marathon is not small, probably six to eight hours a week in the latter stages. To train for that amount of time and not achieve your goal is, well, pointless. If I do not reach my target I will reduce my race distance to the half marathon and say goodbye to my treacherous foe. If I run under 3:30 I will also say farewell to the distance. Knowing that I have reached that level once will be enough. However, if I run a 3:44 and am in good shape, I will run Edinburgh next year and possibly another Euro marathon as well.
The first few weeks after the marathon were difficult. I could not train for two weeks and only managed some light training for a week before I went on holiday. The holiday was great but I did no running and put on a massive 10lb in two weeks!
When I returned I decided to start easy and to build up. It has not quite worked out as planned but I have made some improvement and am now injury free.
I ran my first trail run at Keswick (actually, I have run two as I ran at Alnwick a couple of weeks ago!) and I completed my first 10k this week. I really enjoyed them all and while I am still not quite back to my best in terms of speed, the clock tells me I am getting there. The only negative aspect is that I am still 3lb heavier than when I went on holiday, but I am confident the weight will come off as my long runs increase in length.
This weekend sees me run 17 miles, which compared to the preparation for the Sunderland Marathon, is further ahead by about four weeks. There are a number of races coming up which will allow me to run reasonably long distances over tough terrain and which should provide me with some good training for Berlin at the end of September, and the Himalayas at the end of October.
The key differences to my training this time will be:
- Less running and more cross training: you cannot run a marathon without putting some serious miles in, but I am aiming to run for four to five days a week and cross train one or two days per week. This will take away some of the impact on my knees and hip.
- Maintaining my core and back strength: towards the end of my marathon training, time pressure meant that I missed quite a few core and back sessions in the gym. I now realise that this contributed to my pain on the day and so have been working hard at strengthening my core again.
- Reducing weight: I ran the marathon weighing around 10st 8lb. I am aiming this time to run with a race weight of around 10st-10st 2lb and with only 10-12% body fat. This will help my sore glutes enormously and will hopefully add a few seconds per mile to my speed.
- Training my legs in the gym: after a nasty experience of DOMS I stopped training my legs. That was a mistake: this time I will be squatting and deadlifting to improve strength.
- Stretching: I have made huge improvements to my flexibility by building hip flexor exercises into my training plan. I aim to keep this up until race day.
Training begin in earnest this week with the 17 miler. I will be listening to my body more and taking more rest. Berlin, here I come.
Cowards die many times before their deaths, the valiant never taste death but once.