marathon training

Marathon training journey – part 3

In my last post, I had just PB’d the Great South Run. It should have been the perfect platform for stepping up a level and ending the year in good running shape.

Alas, that was not to be. A few short runs in November, and suddenly my plan to maintain (at a minimum) 10k pace was fading fast. Christmas was approaching, my diet was getting worse and the cold weather was making motivation hard.

By mid-December, I felt like I’d lost any momentum I’d gained.

While the Brighton Marathon is at the end of the tunnel, it has proved too far away to truly motivate me. I needed something sooner to aim for.

Therefore, to kick-start my training once more, I’ve opted for a training plan that incorporates events/milestones – the first now being the Portsmouth Coastal Half Marathon on 3rd February. That will lead nicely on to the Hampton Court Half Marathon on 17th February, which will result in two half marathons under my belt a good 2 months before the full distance.

As you can properly tell by now, running is not my forte. I struggle to enjoy it and find it difficult to maintain motivation. Signing up for challenge events is how I find that motivation – I need it to provide short-term, realistic goals, and inspire me to continually better myself.

The key thing I’ve learnt is, it doesn’t matter what motivates – you just need to find it. If you can’t commit to more than 3 runs a week (which I struggle to), then simply tailor your running plan to fit that. If you are finding it hard to go out after work and run for an hour and a half (maybe because it’s boring, or simply because you don’t have the time), then opt for my approach and sign up for challenge events that you can’t pull out of.

Anyway, having survived the December/Christmas slump, I’ve suddenly found a new lease of life and cranked up the training again – now with the half marathon in mind (a short term, realistic goal). I forgot about how grim I’d feel going for longer runs on my own as the marathon approaches, and focused instead on my current training plan, which is yet to reach those more intense sessions.

I managed 8k a few days before Christmas. Then another 8k on Christmas Day morning (a new me!). I got a faster-paced 5k in just before New Years Day while on holiday in Marbella, plus a spin class to mix it up a bit and hiked La Concha mountain. And since being back in London, I’ve completed two 5k runs and a slightly longer 7.5k run.

Hiking La Concha

I feel like I’ve got a better regime sorted, despite being back in the office. I’m not going to feel guilty about missing runs like I was before. Instead, I’ll make sure that I do one longer run on Saturday or Sunday (10 miles +), with a couple of short runs midweek. Plus, I’m back cycling to work.

My training

To summarise, I’ll be doing two short runs during the week around my cycling to work and usual strength training in the gym. Plus one long run on Saturday or Sunday (getting longer as the marathon gets closer).

For the midweek runs, I’ll look to mix in high-intensity interval training, plus I’ve changed my diet to help shift a few pounds. I’m cutting down on carbs, I’ve kicked off the year with Dry January, and I’m making healthy lunches for work.

marathon training running

My aim

My ultimate aim is to complete the marathon without absolutely hating most of it.

I’m not looking for a PB. I just want to be able to run it semi-comfortably in a reasonable time, without injuring myself. Essentially, I want to enjoy the experience!

On to my first ever half marathon!

Chris Smith
Founder of Vivi Nation, sports enthusiast, occasional triathlete, keen cyclist and optimistic Liverpool FC fan.

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