From Quantity to Quality

I’ve decided to run the London Marathon.

Well, actually, I decided to run the London Marathon around this time last year, and then got injury after injury and deferred my entry. So now I feel obliged to do it.

But it all comes to the same thing.

On April 22nd I’ll be toeing the start line with a load of other people who will be hoping they’ve done enough. Run enough. Eaten enough. Slept enough.

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3am on 04/08/2017 – The medal that represents 7 months of training and 5 days of none-stop cycling.

Since completing LEL at the start of August (I don’t know if I’ve mentioned that before…or…), I’ve been trying to transition from endurance cycling to running. For LEL, my training strategy was to just ride… ride whenever I could, until I was blue in the face. When I was tired. When I was hungry. When I was hungover. When my bike was a bit broken (one cog? Fine. This turned out to be better practice than I could have ever imagined). But, for marathoning, I need to remind my body how to move forward in the upright position, rather than whilst sat down, and to deal with the impact of running, both physically and mentally.

It’s been an interesting time.

At first I just rested. I think I did almost nothing for a week, other than sleep, walk (hobble) and eat constantly. After that, I signed up for some hot yoga classes, the idea being that I’d stretch out any tightness, start slowly building strength and get a feel for some sort of routine. I felt good for doing that.

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August-September

Then I started cycling again; morning social laps with friends, which is lovely, but wouldn’t do much for my marathon dreams…so I joined a gym and added in strength and conditioning (S&C) to my week, as well as easy running. The idea was to get 6 weeks of consistent S&C in the bag before I allowed myself to do track sessions and tempo runs.

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So far so good. I could feel the gym work getting easier, so I knew I was getting stronger, and my easy runs were feeling more effortless, but I was beginning to move quicker. I also wasn’t getting the usual stabby shin pains I’d become accustomed to the year before. Operation S&C was working.

October-November

Then I had The Low Weeks. I returned to the track for interval training and started doing tempo runs, and I felt slow and low. If I managed to hit a target time, it would feel like the hardest thing in the world, but I was mainly not hitting my target times. When I went out on the bike, I felt crap too. The running, which felt unsuccessful all the time, was wearing me out, so when I went to ride, I felt weak and slow. This was the least fun part of this transition! And I complained. A LOT.

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Thankfully, that passed. And I give myself 13893894 character points for gritting my teeth and chipping away at the track sessions and tempo runs. *Pats self profusely on the back*. And now, we’re at now. I’m starting to feel like a runner again; I’m beginning to enjoy the track sessions and have started doing longer and longer runs (still no stabby stabby shin pains – HUZZAH!).

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November-December

All of this constituted the Pre-Marathon-Training Training Plan. If I couldn’t get myself to this point (i.e. not feeling like a bag of bricks when running) then I certainly wasn’t going to be able to haul myself around 26.2 of London’s finest miles.

Given my history of running-related injuries, I’ve scoured the interwebs for a program to follow and have decided on this one:

How to Run a 3 hour Marathon: A Just Enough Training Approach

It involves 3 sessions a week of running and then cross training (obviously, I’ll be biking…with some S&C) on the other days (plus a full rest day OF COURSE). You’ll see from the title that I’m aiming for 3 hours. I know. Bold, for a first marathon. But hey, may as well reach for the moon and all that. If I miss, I’ll fall among the stars (or onto the tarmac, depending on how much I miss by). Unlike my LEL ‘training’, just going running isn’t going to cut it, every one of the three sessions needs to be intense and ON. POINT.

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I’ve been trying to ‘race myself fit’ at the Metropolitan League Cross Country. So fun!

Scary.

I’m still trying to work out how to blog this journey in an interesting way. I’d like to document it because I’m intrigued about how this will go. The training plan is unconventional (low volume of running), I’ve never raced further than a half marathon, I’m really prone to injury, I’m probably going to want to ride my bike all the time AND I might get mid-way through training and think, LOL 3 hours is naaaaaat going to happen. Anyway, we’ll see.

Please join me on this journey! I might need your help…

J x

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