Yesterday, almost exactly a year since I started running again, I stood on the start line of the Eden Project marathon.
I didn’t actually make it to the finish, due to falling over like a numpty and dislocating my (good) shoulder, but I am viewing it as a triumph even so! I’m going to blow my own trumpet here. Not because I ran fast (or even finished!!) but because I think I did pretty much everything right in preparation. I’m finally listening to all the brilliant advice I’ve been given recently, and it has been a rather empowering experience!
Build your base
I’ve previously never paid attention to that bit in training plans where it says how much running you should be doing before even starting. Not this time! Once I could run 5K, I spent a couple of months simply doing just that, three times a week. This gave me a good base for my half marathon training, which led neatly into the marathon plan. It’s so much easier on the legs doing it this way!
I had this drummed into me last year. The knowledge that I had been consistent gave me the confidence to start the race, even though things had gone a bit pear shaped in the last few weeks.
Follow the plan. Coach knows better than you.
In the absence of my own personal coach (miss you, Edwards!!), I have been following plans from Hal Higdon. Google him – he’s a very sensible chap. I picked ‘novice 2’ for both – I’m not a novice, but they fitted in with my level and didn’t look too ambitious. It was all about getting round this time! Then, I followed the plan. I didn’t ignore the plentiful short runs, I didn’t run too fast, and I didn’t slip in (many) extra sessions. Sometimes it was just too sunny not to cycle, though…..
Listen to your body
I’ve heard this one a million times, but I’ve only just started doing it! I thought I did, before, but now I see. It doesn’t shout. It whispers. If you pay attention and give it the time it needs, you’ll be back on track in no time. I felt really tired in the middle of my training, so I took a week off. I caught a cold, so I didn’t run. My leg niggled, so I rested, had sports massage and saw the physio. Yes, I missed some training. No, I wasn’t as fit as I could have been. But I was in one piece!
Nutrition nutrition nutrition
I’m talking about the sugary kind while running. I’ve experimented so much during this training cycle, and sometimes wondered if I’d ever crack it!! I don’t like gels and solid food has me running for the bushes. Cliff shot blocks seem to be the answer!! I tried them on my last long run (only 17 miles, incidentally). I had one every ten minutes, and felt the best I’ve ever felt running that sort of distance. Hooray! And they’re basically sweets, bonus.
Find your pace
I was only ever aiming to get round and, after missing training with my grumbly leg, decided to try a walk-run strategy. Run 9 minutes, walk 1. And walk any steep hills. The difference was astonishing! Doddski and I stuck to this religiously. We were literally the back markers* for the first few miles, but gradually re-joined the pack. I’m sure we’d have made it!!
*turns out you get your very own lovely marshall to chat to. Thanks Debbie!!
Despite all of this, you never quite know what will happen. I tripped over a (tiny) rock and fell flat on my face! I was having such a lovely time before that. Hey ho! It’s still a FABULOUS event – well organised, friendly and absolutely stunning. And I still have my base to build some speed for some more sensible distances next year. Once I’ve rested and recovered of course!
Super well done to Grimey and Luce for smashing the half, massive thanks to Doddski for spontaneously entering to keep me company and SORRY to the Husb for causing a drama and making him sit in hospital for hours once again. It wasn’t supposed to be a big deal but my inner drama queen always seems to get her way in the end…..
Finally, sorry, again, to my Mum for not telling her about this until disaster struck. I will be more honest in future🙂