Marathon training is hard!

Not much in life comes easily. And if you want to run a marathon you have to do the training. I’m just back from a two week cruise which was wonderful in terms of a holiday and life experience but perhaps not the easiest means of continuing marathon training. The boat was too small to run on; it wasn’t safe to run when we berthed because I was scared I would drop keys, security passes etc and the only real option in the small gym on board was a treadmill. I know some people like treadmills but I’m not one of them. I did my best but at best my training stalled for two weeks and at worst it regressed a little. I’ve done two runs since coming back and they weren’t good in terms of pace and heartbeat. The big test will be the long run tomorrow which ramps up to 18 miles.

However to finish on the positive side I didn’t put as much weight on as I feared. I’m still completely injury free. I have two months left to get to where I want to be on the starting line. My only worries are about my finish time and not whether I can complete it.

Never easy

Week 4 of marathon training didn’t go so well. I had three runs and in each one I struggled with pace, time, heart-rate and energy levels. When runs don’t go so well you frantically go through in your mind the possible reasons. These include the weather conditions : heat, wind, wet surfaces etc then your own condition. Is there a fitness problem; is there an injury or the start of one; are you eating the right foods; are you over-training or increasing your distance too quickly? Are your running shoes needing replaced; are you worrying about something which is affecting your running; are you thinking negative thoughts or have you generally lost confidence? And there are a number of other possibilities!

After more than a little thought, I’m unsure what the problem is but I refuse to worry about it. It’s only week 4 of 18 and I’m fairly sure it’s nothing physical. On the positive side I’m on page 2 (of 4) of my training schedule and my long run at the start of week 5 was 10 miles and it was a much better run. Where running is concerned there’s a lot of truth in the saying : “You can if you think you can.”

End of week 3 marathon training

Another week of training ticked off successfully. October 16 is still so far away that I refuse to get too stressed. My worst run this week was the 40 minute tempo run on Monday where I found it hard from start to finish. My long run moves up to 9 miles tomorrow. A cool dry morning would be perfect. I plan to run off-road as much as possible for the nine miles.

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Marathon training week two

Well there’s a title I never expected to be writing again.

I don’t normally enthuse about anything but I’ve had a great time since entering the Loch Rannoch Marathon. It just feels so right to be working towards something big but achievable. Better still the doctor has cleared me to run. She asked a few questions and then took my blood pressure. It shows how much I want to do this that before she tested it I told her that my blood pressure is always considerably higher when I visit the doctor due to “white coat syndrome.” In the event the pressure was fine, almost normal in fact.

And I’ve had an early birthday present of two very important helpers :

It’s a rubbish photo but it is in fact a Garmin Forerunner and a heart rate monitor. Don’t ask how they work but they tell you everything you need to know when running about time, distance, pace, cadence(strides per minute), heart rate, elevation gain and so on. After the run it produces reports which geeks like me can pour over for hours :

 

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Because I’ve been running regularly all year my basic fitness levels aren’t too bad and as a result the first week of training has been pretty straightforward. It will get harder though!

Loch Rannoch Marathon

It won’t be a great surprise for you to learn that I’ve entered the Loch Rannoch Marathon on October 16. It’s a flattish race running round the loch on quiet roads with lovely scenery.

There are three hurdles to jump before I line up on 16 October.

Firstly I have to get medical approval. I’ve made an appointment for 22 June.

Secondly I have to carry out the required training without getting injured. I’ve started an 18 week training schedule today.

Thirdly I somehow have to overcome the fact that I’ll be on a boat for two weeks in the middle of the training with extremely limited opportunity to exercise!

All that being said I think it’s possible and I certainly look forward to the challenge. I’ll try and post an update once a week.

Decision making

Is there anything other than suffering which is more difficult for humans than decision making? No wonder lots of different ways of doing it have been invented.  You can toss a coin. You can draw straws. You can ask a friend. You can draw up a list of pros and cons. You can imagine potential outcomes of a certain decision. You can even take a guess. You can do what inwardly you think you want to.

Perhaps the worst thing you can do is postpone a decision indefinitely.

Personally I like the pros and cons method even though if it doesn’t work out the way I want I sometimes follow my heart.

So here are the pros and cons for attempting another marathon :

Pro :

Gives a definite target to aim for

Gets me fit, healthy and positive

Gives me the chance to get a personal best in an event where I think I can

Wonderful sense of achievement if I succeed

 

Con :

As I get older there are some health risks both in training and the event itself

Training will eat up a lot of time and impact other aspects of life

It’s selfish to do and I need to consider other people in my life

 

The pros are leading 4-3 and I think that’s the way I’m tending.

 

The difficult time of year

It’s just over three years since I completed my first and last marathon. It was something to tick off the bucket list and the considerable amount of time required to train for the 26.2 miles run was reason enough never to contemplate another one.

But for those who make that decision this is a difficult time of year. The Edinburgh Marathon Festival weekend is just past and I know loads of folk who were running in one of the events. To see the sense of achievement in their faces; to read their exhilarated posts on social media and to read the varied blog posts about their experience inevitably makes me want to do just one more marathon. I need to have a goal or target to work towards. After marathons those who want to go to the next stage start doing ultras (even more than 26.2 miles) or triathlons. Neither of these options hold any attraction whatsoever to me.

So what do you do? I’ve gone as far as looking at other marathon possibilities. Without succumbing I hasten to add. Meanwhile on the weight-loss task I’m ashamed to admit that I’m still a kilo off my target. No excuses – it’s very straightforward but I haven’t had the necessary willpower!