Running A Marathon. Training Plan Week 15/30. Hopeless 3 Miler!

Marathon Running. Training Plan Week 15/30. Running With The Grace And Speed Of An Asthmatic Tortoise!
Run With The Grace And Speed Of An Asthmatic Tortoise!

Running A Marathon. Training Plan: Week 15/30. A Good Mid-Week Session Followed By An Abject 3 Miler At The Weekend

Running Do’s: Wearing Cork Heel Lifts (a la Tom Cruise) Under Your Insoles Can Reduce The Impact On The Achilles

Running Don’ts: While It Is Possible To Run In Stilettos, Flip-Flops, Tennis, Squash Shoes etc. Running In Anything Other Than Specialist Running Shoes Is Asking For Trouble

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 15 Schedule: 3 Miles (run 10 secs/walk 20 secs) completed in 32.48mins.  2 X 60 min cadence and track sessions.

Weekly Diary: Talk about a week of two halves (or is it a game of two halves? I forget).

I followed up my epic 20 miler with good solid cadence and track sessions (when I say track I mean ‘B’ road of course – not professional running track). In these sessions I felt energised and I was gradually improving my footfall during the Cadence Drills and have significantly improved my footfall since I started by well over 30% – not bad I was thinking.

I was also improving on my 800m times – working on a run/walk ratio of 15 seconds running and 15 seconds walking I was coming in around 4.34 mins – which if I could keep up for any length of time during a longer run would start to give me some reasonable times. What’s more I  was running into a strong headwind (I think I even saw the Wicked Witch of the East flying past at one point) so I could have gone even faster – check me!

Marathon Running. Training Plan Week 15/30

Marathon Running. Training Plan Week 15/30. The Wind Was So Strong I Am Sure The Wicked Witch Flew Past At One Point!It probably helped that my long suffering wife join me for one of the sessions – so I was definitely showing off my recently acquired running prowess.

My training plan was really starting to come together in my head – the speed, strength and footwork that I was working on in shorter mid week sessions would complement the endurance of the longer runs. What could be simpler I was thinking? I even added in some core work in my off days and used my Rumble Roller on my calves and thighs. I am a goddam genius.

So come the weekend, my plan had me down for a 3 miler which was to be run at 10 seconds running/20 seconds walking for the whole time. This was going to be dead easy I was thinking. This was nothing more than a warm up really – after all I could knock out 20 mile long runs these days and do Cadence Drills for fun. I was a sub 10 minute mile man so I was going to breeze this.

It was a beautiful sunny day, cold but clear blue sky, the wind (and the Wicked Witch) had gone – the roads were empty and free of the ice that had adorned them earlier in the week. I set out on my warm – fully confident that I would finish the week on a high. It was not to be. My warm up went fine, a couple of twinges here and there but nothing untoward.

Marathon Running. Training Plan Week 15/30.

Marathon Running. Training Plan Week 15/30. I Felt Like I Was Running Through Syrup.

Once I started out on my 3 miles I tried to get into a fluid motion of transition between the 10 seconds running and 20 seconds walking. This way I could get into a natural rhythm that would take me forward for the full 3 miles. The problem was that no matter what I did I couldn’t get into any sort of rhythm. My breathing was really laboured and I just couldn’t get my legs moving in the way I had earlier in the week or on my 20 miler for that matter. During the run I tweaked things here and there to try and find a way forward but it felt like running through syrup!!

I eventually completed my 3 miles and felt like I had just climbed Mount Everest! I was completely knackered, breathing heavily and my legs felt like they had been filled with lead – no energy, no life in them. I completed my 3 miles in 32.48 minutes – just under 11 minutes a mile. My sub 10 min speeds from earlier in the week now felt like a distant memory – or a dream perhaps?

Thinking it through as warmed down (i.e. trudged home sulking) there could have been a number of factors at play here. First the ratio was more aggressive than any I had run to date – with 50% less recovery than I was used to. Second it could be the after effects of the longer run catching up on me. Three it could have been the fact that I was mentally in the wrong place – too complacent by half. Four – the fact that I just inhaled a full cooked breakfast bap (sausages, egg and bacon) without it even touching the sides – not quite the preparation of the elite!!

Chances are it was a bit everything thrown in. Not every run is going to be great I know – but I am disappointed nonetheless. Its a confidence thing – even after all the miles I have trained I still lack confidence that I will be able to crack races on the day – when it really matters.

I suppose that’s why we train.

Next week is a 5 miler so a chance to put things right.

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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