After the Scotland Coast to Coast last year, it was time to look at what was going to be the next challenge to fill my days. With my girlfriend on the other side of the world, there was the opportunity to be really selfish with my time and put it into training hard for something. With quite a few of my friends doing marathons early this year, mainly London, I though that it was time to join them and hit the 26.2mile trail.
While not overly keen on road running, “Have you done a marathon?” is pretty much the standard question asked by anyone hearing you’re a runner, and doing one was always on the todo list but a bit further down the line. However, I figured now would be a good time to do it, with plenty of others training for theirs it would make for a good motivator and learning opportunity, and I decided that it would be worth it as both a decent challenge and increasing my stamina towards where I want it to be for doing longer races in the future.
I’ve always quite fancied the Stonehenge Trail Marathon as an alternative to a proper road marathon, but being at the start of May it wouldn’t have given me much leeway on returning from Australia to kick off training. Being a couple of weeks later, and with my friend Helen being based there, Copenhagen looked like it fitted the 2012 schedule nicely, and being flat would hopefully prove to be fast!
So I’m now over halfway into my training, and things are starting to get tougher. Distances are increasing (which I can cope with) as are the paces (which is becoming more of a struggle), but I’m happy with progress so far – the next 7 weeks are where it really matters however.
So far I’ve only missed two key interval sessions, one after my Birthday weekend (late nights drinking & dancing, coupled with hours of coaching in the snow, are not conducive to good health, who’d have thought it?) and one this week after a similar weekend of long travels, late nights and not enough sleep in Romania. And in the first month I also had to bail on a long run due to a calf injury, but aside from these I’ve stuck to my plans well.
For a couple of key reasons I’m doing quite a low mileage training plan, I don’t think my body can cope with high mileages and it means I don’t have to devote my entire life to running, which is often a tough challenge in getting the balance right. This has meant weeks based around just three key sessions: intervals (mainly on the track with Heathside), a tempo session and a long run. In between this I’ve been in the gym most lunchtimes, either on the spinning bike or doing some S&C work focussing on core and back which seems to have helped my form quite a bit. Also done some other bits of biking, which doesn’t include my daily commute, all of which has kept me ticking over nicely.
This weekend is the Olympic Park Run, a good opportunity to see how my pace has come on since running a 17:31 5km at the end of January. Having comfortably run about 17:40 for just over 5km in training a couple of weeks back I know I can now do sub 17, but we’ll have to see how I can sustain that over the extra few km into the Olympic Stadium! There are however quite a few more kms and minutes to be done before the real test in Copenhagen…