3 weeks ago I officially started training for my first 26.2 mile event. I have actually entered a marathon before – Edinburgh 2010. Back then I was very much a beginner when it comes to running (I have since come to understand that anyone that has less than 3 years of consistent running behind them would – clinically at least – be considered a ‘new‘ runner) and got nowhere near the Start Line, let alone the Finish Line. I’m often heard saying that this is in fact that hardest part of a marathon; getting to the start line. The 26.2 miles on the day should be your ‘victory lap’, a celebration of the hard miles, the early mornings, and the long list of sacrifices that you (and your family) have made.
This spring I ran 2 half marathons and so since mid March I have been ticking along with weekly 8-12 milers, meaning I could start my training schedule at 10 miles for my Long Slow Run (LSR). I will limit how much I talk about the specifics of my training plan as I am not a fan of generic training plans, and certainly wouldn’t want anyone using this as such. However, my training plan does consist of 3 runs per week, and 2 specific strength sessions – one gym based (with Ben Grey at YouCubedFitness.com) and one at home. The run sessions are a mix of LSR, Tempo, Interval, Hills and Speed work.
As with everyone that enters a marathon, a lot of the training will be new ground, and a little trial and error. There are lots of things that I will be doing for the first time; running for longer than 2 hours and fuelling whilst running being the main 2. For the next few weeks I will be running distances that I haven’t ran before – equal parts exciting and daunting! What I am really looking forward to is matching up theory to practice. I know lots about marathon running – I couldn’t run workshops otherwise. I know my Hanson from my Pfitzinger from my Maffetone Methods. But how far does Theory get you? As the genius that is Yogi Berra says;
One of my first points of call before getting going was Run Swindon, for some Gait Analysis. Liam, as always was a wealth of knowledge. I run in Saucony Kinvaras. Traditionally a ‘fast’ shoe, it was previously thought that these trainers were for speed work, or lower distance work and I was concerned that these may not be up to the job at hand. However, Liam explained that because of how I run, with a quite a brief ground impact, and almost a forefoot landing, coupled with a more stable design, that the latest Kinvaras would actually be perfect for me to continue in. I have 2 pairs which I rotate; generally speaking one pair for my LSR, one pair for anything else. The Kinvaras are a 4mm Heel-Toe drop (for more info on what this means, see http://dc-injuryclinic.co.uk/running-shoe-comparison/), which I take up to a 6mm using adjustable heel raises. The evidence for a 2mm raise is – if i’m honest – not great, but for whatever reason, this seems to be my most comfortable ratio. For anyone starting out on a training programme, even the experienced runner, I recommend going through this process.
I’ve also picked the brains of a couple of people whom I respect greatly; either on my proposed training plan – Mr Steve Savory, see http://www.stevesavorypersonaltraining.co.uk/ – or the nutritional side of things. Always learning.
So as I say, I’m only a few weeks in, and (naively?) really enjoying the process so far. Lets see how I feel in a few weeks time! Wish me luck.
N.B. There are no ‘one size fits all’ style quick fixes in most injury scenarios, so these article shouldn’t be seen as such. They are merely guides to a better understanding of how our bodies work.