Running A Marathon. Training Plan Week 1. Who Turned The Night Time On?
Running A Marathon: Training Plan Week 1: Getting Started. The Ministry Of Silly Walks
Running Do’s: When it comes to building endurance for a marathon – walking is just as good as running. Great if you are just starting or injured or knackered!
Running Don’ts: Too much too soon is the single most significant contributor to running injuries.
Background: I have signed up to the London Marathon 2015, having never run before and recently having undergone major knee surgery (twice). This diary captures the highs and lows of my attempts to get fit enough to run the marathon in April 2015.
I am running for the mental health charity Mind. Please donate on my Virgin Just Giving page – every single penny I raise goes directly to Mind and helping people with their mental health – thank you.
I am following a 30 week marathon training schedule defined by Jeff Galloway the US Olympic Marathon runner. Jeff espouses the run – walk – run method which enables you to gradually build up your strength and endurance.
Weekly Distance: 3 miles plus 2 x short sessions
Weekly Diary: My first week’s running was a mixture of excitement, fear and hilarity. I was really excited to start, and Jeff’s plan (and support) gave me real confidence that I was in safe hands and that perhaps I might even run this marathon! I had also tried to single handedly pull Europe out of the recession by stripping amazon.co.uk of all its running gear – it was a classic case of ‘all the gear and no idea’. What the hell, I felt good – I was helping drag the world economy out of recession and better still all the Compression Gear made me look like I might actually have a waistline – a win win!! I could also wear head to foot lycra without shame – something I had not been able to consider since the heady days of the 1980’s. Why hadn’t I got into marathon running earlier?!
According to Jeff’s master plan – this week I was to complete 2 short sessions and one 3 miler. The first short session focused on run/walking 4x800m at a run-walk of run 15sec and walk 45sec. I had some fun and games trying to work out how long 800m was as there are no running tracks near us. I ended up using an app on my iPhone called Strava (I only use the basic model) to calculate the distance and another a Tabata app from Parabolic Rivers (the pro model) for the time ratios. Both these apps are really easy to use and you will need the ability to accurately track distance and your time ratios. The 2nd short session focused on Cadence Drills (CD’s) the idea here is to increase your footfall within in a set time e.g. to do 30 steps in 30 secs, then 31 steps in 30 secs, 32 steps in 30 secs and so on – thereby gradually increasing your tempo.
What could go wrong I thought? I had it all figured out right? Wrong! Mistake number one I had worked out all my distances in the daytime so when I turned up at 7pm on a winters night it was pitch black – I couldn’t see a bloody thing.
“When my youngest daughter was small – she always used to ask: “Hey who turned the nightime on?” Now I knew exactly how she felt.”
It didn’t matter I thought – I had a plan and I was sticking to it. Some advice: running 800m circuits on a pitch black football field is not to be recommended – aside from not seeing anything you can easily turn an ankle and it won’t be long before a police helicopter is circling overhead in response to the ‘strange noises’ emanating from the sports field.
I didn’t fare much better on the CD’s. Jeff’s guidance was to only count the footsteps from one foot not both. For some reason I could only seem to count my both footsteps. I still can’t fathom out why. Also trying to do Jeff’s shuffle running and properly and count and keep an eye on the time was all too much for me. In the end my technique suffered and I ended up doing the ministry of silly walks. God knows what people must have thought – a middle aged bloke, in lycra goose-stepping around the playing field staring intently at an iPhone. No wonder small children wept.
At least the 3 miler was less theatrical. 3 miles sounds like a lot if you have never run before. But Jeff’s plan is to break it down into small segments – after all it is a marathon not a sprint! I literally ran/shuffled for 15 seconds and then walked for 45 seconds for the whole 3 miles. If 15 seconds is too much you can reduce it to 5/55 (run/walk) – this feels doable to even the most sedentary of folks – like me!