I’m currently in the middle of week 10 of my marathon training program, so I am just over halfway through and the 28th of May and the Liverpool Rock n Roll marathon is starting to feel a lot closer. Weeks 8 & 9 of my training went well, the main point of note is that the shins are still behaving themselves. It’s so nice just to be able to go for a run and not have that nagging feeling at the back of my mind about “when” my shins are going to start hurting rather than “if”. I’m certain the 80/20 running method I am following has helped in this regard, along with improving my fitness and also easing recovery between runs.
As the training plan creeps towards the big day the intensity and frequency of the runs is increasing. Week 8 featured a long run of 16 miles. This was significant as this is the longest distance I have ever run and I had only ever done it once before at the Chester Metric Marathon last October. I have recently changed some of my training plan around so that the long runs are in the week rather than at the weekend. Marathon training takes a lot of commitment and time and doing it this way means my long runs aren’t impacting as much on family life, with me disappearing for 3 hours at a time to go running rather than spending time with my wife and daughter.
I had decided that I needed to start thinking about a fuelling strategy for these runs and for the marathon as well. I used Cliff Shot Blocks on this 16 mile run and I was quite happy with them. They were easy to eat and tasted quite palatable and whether it was in my head or not, I did feel like I got a burst of energy shortly after having one. I have to say I was very happy with this run as I managed to cover the first 7 miles nice and steady as I hope to do at the marathon, resisting the temptation to shoot of from the line too quickly. There was enough in the tank to speed up after this with miles 8 to 14 coming in between 8:40 and 9:00 minute miles. I managed to push a little in the final 2 miles with times in the 8:30 minute miles. This was a great training run and it did fill me with confidence that I could run this sort of distance and that the plan was going in the right direction. With my other training runs that week I came in with another record week in terms of mileage at 46.6 miles. This is more in a week than I had managed in most months last year!!!
Week 9 of the plan was a more relaxed affair, with more recovery and foundation runs and a long run of just 10 miles. It brought home to me how far I had come that I was able to think of this as “just 10 miles”. The week however culminated in my running clubs Spring 5 Mile race on the Saturday. It was, as usual with Warrington Running Club, a friendly and well organised affair with over 200 people turning up. This was a new course for the club to host a race over, on a site that was once an old colliery. There were lots of inclines, trail paths, a sneaky hill thrown in at 4.5 miles but the race was really enjoyable. Having achieved a time of just over 39 minutes for the Winter 5 Miler, I was keen to see if my 80/20 training had improved my time. Given that this was a much tougher course than the Winter race, I was delighted to come in at 38:01. I think I could have gone faster on the flat obviously, but I also went out a bit quick and paid the price later on. I came in 33rd which from a pack of 200 plus was brilliant, and I got another piece of the 4 part jigsaw style medal the club have created for this race series. I’ve already booked the summer version of the race and also a 5 mile on the road for Easter Sunday. They may not strictly form part of my training but it is good to add a bit of speed in from time to time. There’s a few pictures of the race at the end. It does look like I am actually putting a fair bit of effort in, but I have to resign myself to the fact that I really DON’T take a good race photo 🙂
So, as many of my club mates and fellow runners start to have the maranoia set in, I still have a good 9 weeks of my training plan left before Liverpool at the end of May. I am a bit nervous that everyone I speak to about it says it is a tough course, but I guess if you are going to do one you may as well stretch yourself. I have runs of 18 and 20 miles to come in the next few weeks which I know will be a challenge and I will report back soon.
If you are doing Manchester, London or any other marathon (or any race) in the coming weeks then the very best of luck. I’ll soon be joining you in the marathoner’s club.