Running A Marathon. Training Plan: Week 14/30. Shrek Meets Ali G.

Marathon Training Plan Week 14/30. Kingston-Upon-Thames, London
Marathon Training Plan Week 14/30. Kingston-Upon-Thames, London

Running A Marathon. Training Plan: Week 14/30. A Scenic Run Along The Beautiful River. What Could Go Wrong? Plenty As It Happens…!!

Running Do’s: Bananas, Flapjack and Peanut Butter & Jam Sandwiches Are All Excellent Nutrition For Long Runs.

Running Don’ts: Stretch When You Are Cold – It Will Most Likely Lead To Injury

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. I am running for the mental health charity Mind. Please donate to my Virgin Just Giving page – every penny 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 14 Schedule: 20 Miles (2 miles walk, 18 miles at run 10 secs/walk 40 secs) completed in 4.14 hours.  2 X 60 min cadence and track sessions.

Weekly Diary: I think I may have managed to mess by running schedule up again. I was only supposed to run 5 miles this weekend but found myself getting ready to run 20 miles on a beautiful (but very cold) day in Kingston, West London. The thing is, not only had my planning gone wrong with the length of my run – I was also running with a companion for the first time. Now this may have been fine if I had chosen Jabba The Hut to run with – that may have made me look vaguely impressive. But no, I had teamed up with my younger (and much much fitter) younger brother Stephen – Ex-Army, Ultra-Runner and Ironman – great choice!! The good news was that he is far too modest to really put me in my place and was happy to carry our considerable provisions for the epic adventure – he was in effect the team ‘Carb-walla’.

Now the other method in my madness was to actually undertake a long training run away from home. This would force me to prepare properly as if I was preparing for the race itself. To be fair, I hadn’t done too badly – I had remembered to pack everything – or so I thought. When we got to the start of the run I realised I had no running hat nor did I have any ‘nappy cream’ to stop me chafing. Stephen was able to dig out a spare hat which was a florescent Nike skull-cap – this, combined with my florescent running jacket made me look a combination of Shrek and the British parody Ali G. Don’t believe me? Just scroll down and look at the bloke on the left. Stephen didn’t have any nappy cream (or so he told me) so I ended up running as if I had not made it to the toilet in time.

Marathon Training Week 14. Running Along The Hermes Running Club Thames Meander Marathon Route

Marathon Training Week 14. Running Along The Hermes Running Club Thames Meander Marathon Route

The route we chose started at the YMCA Hawker Centre in Kingston-Upon-Thames, Surrey, London and would take us 10 miles East along the very bank of the mighty River Thames – turn around and then 10 miles back. There was a method in our madness (sort of) as we were hoping at some stage to run the Thames Meander Marathon organised by the Hermes Running Club and this would be good practice to run on a designated Marathon route.

Thanks in large part to Tudor ‘King of Kings’ Henry VIII – much of the river along this part of the Thames is made up of beautiful parks and wonderful structures such as Kew Gardens. The route is wonderfully flat, hugs the river and it is hard to believe you are running in one of the worlds major capitals – stunning. The route also takes you through some wonderful parts of London including Ham, Richmond, Kew, Barnes and Putney. I’m starting to get all emotional now so I better move on!

For the run itself the schedule was to walk the first 2 miles and then run/walk the remaining 18 miles at a ratio of 10 seconds running followed by 40 seconds walking. Now this might raise a few eyebrows if you haven’t done it before but the key is to create smooth transitions between your running and walking segments and you can keep up a half decent training pace for example we consistently managed to average 12 min miles without blowing hard and moreover without creating unnecessary wear and tear on our joints. Jeff Galloway is able to explain it more succinctly so check out his website at Jeff

I mentioned in my last couple of blogs that I had struggled to really get my head around the nutrition for the long runs and on the last two runs had found myself getting tired, cold and downright miserable. I knew I had to fix this otherwise I was going to really struggle to close out the extra miles to complete the marathon. To date I had relied on taking gels – however, even though I have the constitution of an Ox – the gels make me want to blow chunks (sorry!) they are simply not going to work – end of.

I spoke to Jeff Galloway, my bro and a couple of other hardened runners, to see what the nutrition options are available. They suggested trying a variety of options including flapjacks/ (cut into chunks), bananas (cut in half), peanut butter and jam sandwiches (cut into quarters) which all give longer term energy. These should be combined with short term sweeteners like Fruit Pastilles and Lifesavers – all of which have a more simplified sugar structure and are less nauseous. Sounds like a lot but these can be wrapped in clingfilm or silver foil and packed into a waist running bag.

Running A Marathon. Training Plan: Week 14/30. Shrek!

Running A Marathon. Training Plan: Week 14/30. Shrek!

Throughout the run Stephen was in charge of rationing and provisioning – seemed fair enough as he was carrying everything. He didn’t know but I had added a couple of concrete blocks into his rucksack to even things up a little. Unlike on my earlier runs where I had left my nutrition until 90 mins in – this time we started chowing down almost from the start. Little and often, mixing the slow burn foods with the Fruit pastilles to balance things out. I have to say it worked far better and the bonus was that I didn’t throw up either!

The run itself was great – working with Stephen meant I walked faster between the runs and it was good to chat and share tips as we continued throughout our run. Running 20 miles meant that I actually felt like I might be able to run the full 26.2 at some point.

Not bad eh?!

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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