Running A Marathon. Training Plan Week 9. 13.1 Miles Ain’t No Stopping Me Now.
Running A Marathon: Training Plan Week 9/30. Ain’t No Stopping Me Now…
Running Do’s: Use the walks at the start of the long run as your warm up. Just be sure to take it easy at first
Running Don’ts: Running in the dark without proper visibility. Make like a miner and get a headlamp. You will look special – but you will be safer and actually be able to see where you are placing your feet.
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 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.
For once in my life I am trying approach this in a sensible and realistic way. 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 9 Schedule: 13.1 Miles (3 mile walk then 10 sec run/40 sec walk) – completed in 2.59 hours. 2 X 60 min cadence and track sessions.
Weekly Diary: I have to say I was really up for this. I had had a good session running the 10 miler and I really wanted to see if I could actually go for a half-marathon distance. I felt if I could run this longer distance it would start to feel that I might really be able to go the whole way. I set out in the mid-afternoon. It was a beautiful cold sunny Winter’s day – crisp with no but wind.
As my plan included a 3 mile walk, I just added my warm-up as part of this. I had to stop myself from starting out to quickly as I was keen to get on but at the same time I realised that my muscles were cold and prone to injury. Perhaps I was finally maturing?!
I had chosen a circular route which took me out of the town into the surrounding countryside and farms and then back into to town. I have to say that running without headphones has been a revelation. I ditched them because I wanted to hear the oncoming traffic and also lots of events now ban them. The sun was setting and the sky was turning a beautiful glowing red (it could also have been the reflection form my face) which lit up the hedge rows and fields. Winter was truly here – very few leaves on the trees and hedgerows – but plenty of colour in the red and black berries and an abundance of autumnal browns and greens.
Once I had warmed up I increased my walking pace. On one hand the time didn’t matter – on the other hand, if I knew it would really boost my confidence if I could achieve a time that would legitimately register in an official event (I hope this makes sense?). So I really got moving and tried to really focus on my walking form, running pace and breathing. My Achilles were holding up – just – I could still feel them but it was not painful and after a mile the left side settled completely. The right side eventually settled too.
After the 3 miles I was able to start the run/walk. I was keen to get stuck in. Even after a brisk walk I felt cold and wanted to warm up. Jeff had advised I drop to 10/40 to protect my Achilles and it certainly worked as neither were aggravated as they had been when I used a 15/15 ratio. I started off fine – really trying to focus on relaxing and getting into a good rhythm.
For the first few miles I was fine. Things were ticking along nicely. The sun was setting and the dusk moving in. For once I had thought things through and even though I was still in the countryside I was on proper paved footpaths which were mostly well lit. Around mile six I sensed my breath become heavier and my feet were scuffing the ground more. This was disconcerting as I had only been running/walking for 3 miles!! I sucked on an energy gel and that seemed to help me get moving better and I felt better and stronger as a result.
The countryside gradually turned into an urban setting. First, warehouses and industrial areas (a stark contrast to the earlier countryside) with the noise of traffic filling the air. Actually, I was pleased to be in this environment as mentally if felt like was through the worst of the run. I was into the 7+ miles and that felt good. Things continued well probably until mile 10’ish. Running through suburbia and seeing other runners and people out and about (plus the odd kebab van) seemed to energise me. I felt strong and focused.
Around mile 11’ish – things started to get interesting. My iPhone ran out of juice so I had to manually count my intervals – which I could only do aloud for some reason!? Then my running tights started falling down – gravity was taking over – and my breathing was getting heavier. Picture this – a 40 something, counting aloud, one hand trying to pull his trousers up and another trying to suck on an energy gel. The gel ended up all over my face and looked like a snot bomb had just gone off. I thought I was getting away with it – until I ran passed a group of women who had just come out of a Zumba class. They looked at me with a mixture of horror and sorrow.
The last mile was tough. I had deliberately not checked the time and made the mistake of checking my watch – 2 hours 45 mins. If I could get a wiggle on I might just be able to squeeze in under 3 hours. I threw the run/walk out of the window and just went for it. Jeff would have had his head in his hands. To hell with my builders bum, the energy gel all over my face, my panting and wheezing, my face the colour of beetroot – I was going to do this!!
It felt like the longest mile I have ever shuffled – my watch seemed to speed up at the same rate I was slowing down! This was agony. I just kept going and going and made it with seconds to spare. I may live to regret this big time – but I had done it! 2.59 hours! I stumbled through the door and the kids thought I had heart attack – such was the state I was in.
I was so chuffed – I couldn’t believe I had done this.