Running A Marathon. Training Plan Week 12. The Shoe Shine Shuffle

Running A Marathon. Training Plan: Week 12/30. Its All About The Shuffle Don't You Know
Week 12 Marathon Running A Marathon. Training Plan: Week 12/30. Its All About The Shuffle Don't You Know

Running A Marathon. Training Plan: Week 12/30. Mastering The Shoe Shine Shuffle.

Running Do’s: Using Your Long Training Runs As ‘Real’ Races (i.e. from a Nutrition/Hydration/Kit Preparation/Race Strategy perspective) Will Help You Come Race Day

Running Don’ts: Switching Your Nutrition To Whatever Is On Offer By The Race Organisers – Stick With What You Know. 

Background: I have signed up to the London Marathon 2015, having never run before and recently having undergone major knee surgery (twice). This is my weekly diary which captures the highs and lows of my attempt to get fit enough to run the marathon in April 2015.

Running The London Marathon For Mind

Running The London Marathon For Mind

I am running for the mental health charity Mind. Please feel free to 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 that has been defined for me by Jeff Galloway the American Olympic Marathon runner. Jeff espouses the run – walk – run method which enables you to gradually build up your strength, endurance and speed.

Week 12 Schedule: 3 Miles.  2 X 60 min cadence and track sessions.

Weekly Diary: My schedule had me down for 3 miles which was a blessed relief given the 15 miler the week before and the fact that it was Christmas week too. I appreciate that I have banged on a fair amount about running the long runs – personally I find these more rewarding and perhaps feel they are getting me closer to running a marathon distance. I know for a fact though that simply running the longer runs is not enough if you want to run effectively – it is also critical to complete the shorter sessions too. It is often easy to overlook these shorter activities – but do that at your peril. Without the shorter runs (apparently) you will not build speed or strength into your longer runs.

So this post is dedicated to the 800m circuits that I need to run weekly as part of my plan. Simply put the idea is to walk/run 800m 4-6 times with a  rest in-between each 800m. The objective is to try different combination of walk run ratios (e.g. 15/15, 10/40 etc) and aim to complete the 800m in less than 6min 30 secs (or less). The purpose of this exercise is to improve your speed and footfall which you can then incorporate into your longer runs.

Running A Marathon. Training Plan: Week 12/30. Elite Army Units Around The World Have Embraced Shuffling For Years - Who Am I To Argue?!

Running A Marathon. Training Plan: Week 12/30. Elite Army Units Around The World Have Embraced Shuffling For Years – Who Am I To Argue?!

As I have described in earlier posts I have struggled with the shorter sessions as I couldn’t seem to increase my running speed without increasing the length of my stride. The problem within increasing my stride was that it creates greater friction and pressure through the Achilles, shin, knee etc. The walk run is all about ‘shuffling’ i.e. small steps with a low lift (as used by the British and US Armies among others).

In my last post I talked about my eureka moment (or in fact my long suffering wife’s eureka moment on my behalf!) where I eventually understood that to go faster AND shuffle I simply had to increase my footfall and NOT my stride. This may seem counter-intuitive but trust me (even though I am not a doctor) it actually works. For an online demonstration watch Jeff Galloway here.

Still not convinced? Looking for hard evidence? Facts and figures? I don’t blame you – after all you shouldn’t trust anything you read on the internet.

Ok. So I completed 6 runs of 800m. For the first 2 I used a run walk ratio of 10/40 (i.e. 10 secs running and 40 secs walking). I ran these as if I was running a longer run (I am always a little apprehensive about pulling a hamstring or some such on the first couple of runs) and I registered 6.30 mins on the first and with a little more effort 6.10 mins on the second. Not bad I thought.

For runs 3 and 4 I then switched to a ratio of 15/40 to see what difference it made. I also pulled my finger out and put in a series of much shorter steps – on the first of these I registered 5.51 mins followed by 5.36. I was amazed the difference in timings and how that could (positively) affect the timings of my longer runs.

For runs 5 and 6 I switched back to 10/40 as I wasn’t sure whether I was speeding up because of the run/walk ratio or because I had simply pulled my finger out. Anyway, for these last 2 runs I registered 5.21 mins and 5.15 mins. Frankly I couldn’t believe the difference in how I was able to improve my timings between my first 2 runs at 10/40 and my final 2 at the same ratio. By taking smaller steps – I was moving more quickly across teh ground and improved my 800m time from 6.30 mins to 5.15 mins!

Now if only I could do that across 42165m!!

My name is Andrew and I live in the UK. I am married with 3 girls.

After a career as a Management Consultant spanning 20+ years, I left the bright lights of the city and am focusing my attention on Leadership Coaching and Development. In truth, I felt there was more to life than Microsoft PowerPoint and I have always enjoyed people development and while life as a freelancer scares the bejesus out of me – it has given me renewed energy.

At the same time as changing job, I wanted to take the opportunity to get fit again. When I say “fit” I mean properly fit. Not just a couple of weeks of effort followed by months inactivity (other than talking about getting fit and buying loads of gear) until my next ‘fitness fad’ came around!!

So back in October 2014, I decided that enough was enough and I was going try and start running – again! The challenge was that I was over-weight, really lacked any self-belief or had any real idea of where to start next. My state of mind was not helped by the fact I had recently undergone a series of knee operations which had had a slow (and painful) rehabilitation!

Despite all of this negativity, I found myself really wanting to run a marathon. On one hand it felt completely impossible, but on the other if felt like a real tangible goal, which, if I could achieve it would instil real belief and pride that I had achieved something special. I could have chosen the half-marathon – which is also a tough nut to crack – but in my head it had to be the full 26.2 miles. I really wanted to say that I was “a marathon runner”.

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