Running A Marathon. Training Plan Week 6. Crap Preparation (Again!)

Running A Marathon. Training Plan: Week 6/30
Running A Marathon. Training Plan: Week 6/30

Running A Marathon. Training Plan: Week 6/30. A Meeting Of Mind(s)…

Running Do’s: Use foam rollers to massage your muscles and release trigger points. 

Running Don’ts: (Like me!) planning meticulously for your race and then getting carried away by it all and running around like an eejit.

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.

Running The London Marathon For Mind

Running The London Marathon For Mind

I am running for the mental health charity MindPlease 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.

Week 7 Schedule: 6 Miles (15 sec run/45 sec walk), 2 X 60 min cadence and track sessions

Weekly Diary: The team at Mind had organised a get together in London to meet up with other folk who would be running the London Marathon to raise funds – and, as importantly, raise awareness of – Mind and mental health. The plan was to get together, go running and then listen to some talks on fund raising, and how to prepare to run a marathon. I was pretty apprehensive as I really wasn’t sure what to expect – the night before I had nightmares of turning up and finding myself at an elite Kenyan marathon runners get together.

Now I live two hours from London so I headed up the day before and stayed in a hotel across town. Kick off was at 10.30am with a warm-up and then a run around London starting at 11am. The venue where we had to meet was the Virgin London Marathon Store next to Liverpool Street station. I left the hotel with plenty of time (I thought) but somehow my journey across London took an age. By the time I got to Liverpool Street Station I had 15 minutes before the 10.30 kick-off. No problem I thought – plenty of time, better still I had prepared meticulously and printed off a map and everything.

Map in hand I strode confidently out of the station only to be met by a torrent of wind and rain of biblical proportions. My map was disintegrated into pulp and I was left holding a ball of paper-mâché (French for mashed paper!) and it was now down to my Jedi-like memory to remember the way. Rather than bothering to ask for directions I headed off at a rate of knots in what I firmly believed to be the right direction. I am not sure what possessed me to believe this was correct – perhaps I was hoping for the clouds above me to part and a ray of light to pin point exactly where I was to go?! Anyway, you guessed it, no miracle appeared and I got hopelessly lost and found myself sprinting (dodgy Achilles and all) to the meeting point.

By the time I got there the warm-up had finished and the runners were just setting off running. I didn’t need warming up having just completed my impression of (a very slow) Usain Bolt. I was sweating like a good-un. I just dumped my kit and joined the back of the runners – pretending like nothing at happened!! The folk at the back took pity on me and were too polite to ask why I was bright red and panting like a dog (at least the rain was covering my sweat).

We went for a 10k run around the Thames from the Gherkin down to Westminster and back. I really enjoyed it. All my planning had been completely thrown out the window – I had not warmed up properly, protected my Achilles or completed my run/walk programme. I literally got carried away and just ran the 10k straight. I did manage to complete the run and met some really nice fellow-runners who really made me feel welcome. I completed the run in 1 hour 30 mins.

After the run. We had lunch in a pub across the road. this was followed by talks from fundraisers, personal trainers and physios. It was great way to really bring the marathon to life. For the first time it felt real. In many ways it also demystified some elements that I had lodged in my head. The folk I met were normal just like me – all shapes and sizes and at all levels of fitness. Everyone was really approachable and encouraging – especially the team from Mind. Despite our different backgrounds, shapes and sizes – we all had one thing in common – to raise awareness of mental health.

I came way from the day feeling (one) thankful that I hadn’t missed the start and (two) most importantly, really pleased that I had had the opportunity to spend time with some of my fellow-runners.

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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2 Responses

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