So, the question I’m being asked a lot is “how’s the training going?” I say it’s going pretty well! I have stuck to every single run in my plan and I’ve survived the ‘hard yards’ so far (16 and 17 milers – ask me about the 19 miler after tomorrow!!). I am still wondering how to run even more miles on top of these long runs, but I guess it’ll all come together… on the day… somehow. Two more long runs then it will be taper time – it’s flown by.
My marathon buddy Dan posted an image of Brighton’s finish line on Facebook this week:
It filled me with such excitement – knowing there is actually an end in sight to all this #marathonmadness! I have no idea how I will be feeling when I am literally a few metres from completion – will I be hobbling? Sprinting? Crying?! Cursing whoever invented running swiftly followed by proclaiming my love for it?
The training has kind of taken over my life – not just in training hours, but I find I am thinking about my next run all.the.time and the formulaic way training needs to be scheduled into my week. As my runs are getting longer, gone are the days of “I’m just popping out for half an hour”. It’s more like “can you work from home all afternoon and watch the kids so I can fit in 14 miles?” or roping in grandparents to do a bit extra – fortunately as I’ve said before they are amazing and have helped me so much to get my miles in the bank.
As you’ll know from my previous post “So what’s the plan?“, my training involves three main runs a week. Buuuut, it’s not as easy as plotting them nicely across seven days, slotting in ample rest days, cross-train days plus time to stretch/relax and have a social life or family time, oh and go to work… #yikes. This marathon training is a full-time project management job. Ideally you’d take four months off and employ a live-in nanny, cleaner and chef (luckily we do have a cleaner, who must wonder if I permanently live in active wear).
So when I plan my runs each week, there is definitely a formula to apply – the utopia is finding the sweet spot where everything comes together just perfectly, such as:
- Rest day after a long run
- Including parkrun in my route
- Avoiding intense runs on consecutive days
- Fitting pre-booked races into the plan
- Sorting child care or running during school and pre-school hours
- Finding a safe, suitable route
- Counterbalancing run days with cross-training days
- Co-ordinating gym classes/pool timetable with cross-train days
- Running either Saturday or Sunday but not both (that’s the rule we agreed during “the proposal“)
- Not running alone… or definitely not alone in the dark
- Co-ordinating a run with a friend or group, who also want to run a similar distance, on the same day, at the same time, in the same place
- Meeting client deadlines (pretty important)
- Honouring social plans (like 40th birthday weekends away, Izzy’s dance show and the Six Nations)
- Favourable weather
It rarely works out perfectly though, so some of these factors have to be sacrificed – hence why recently I ran 12 miles with Storm Doris, 9 miles in torrential rain dodging lorry spray, 17 miles all on my own (tough) and 10 miles before work when I set my alarm for 05:40 when the kids were enjoying a sleepover and I could have had a proper lie-in! There are some friends I really want to run with too but our life schedules and training plans just don’t seem to dovetail. Like I said, we should all take four months off! 🙂
Now, if you’ll excuse me I need to go and pack my bag for a 19 mile run at 7am tomorrow. It’s definitely hitting the ‘sweet spot’ – I’m going with a group of friends, we’re including parkrun, the forecast is dry, the kids are sorted, I’ve got no imminent work deadlines and it’s been two days since my last run. I think I’ve solved the formula this time!