Preparation for marathon preparation

1 week to go.
1 week to go!
And then it will be just 16 weeks until my first ever marathon.
Lots of reps, lots of training sessions, lots of weeks, lots of counting.
And lots of faith that training will go to plan, my legs won’t wear down to stumps, and that all these marathon runners I know aren’t lying – that it is possible to run 26.2 miles and live to tell the tale.

My training plan – painstakingly compiled, drafted, and redrafted, emailed to a fellow marathon-running friend for proof-reading, re-redrafted, amended to include my summer’s cycle rides and social plans, and finalised – has now been stuck to my bedroom wall.

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Yes, it’s colour coded.
No, I am not embarrassed.
(Yes, I need a bookshelf.)

While emailing the drafts of my plan to Marathon boy, Tim, and Marathon Girl, Kayleigh, various pieces of advice were imparted to me, all of which I have soaked up like a sponge as I finish up my pre-preparation preparation… This marathon is turning out to be hard work already – it’s a good job I’m excited!

Training plan: check
After the success of my homemade half marathon training plan I decided to have another bash at writing my own plan for the Big ‘M’. It’s not entirely my own though, as I have taken ideas and inspiration from friends, clubmates and, of course, the internet.

The plan is in 3 stages. This has as much to do with my short attention span as it does with the technicalities of training. The first stage focuses on building strength and endurance. In running terms that translates into weekly hill sessions, steady paced medium runs and strength training. Weekly mileage builds to 35 miles, which terrifies me. The second stage focuses on preparing my body for marathon pace, which requires weekly marathon pace (MP) running and longer tempo runs and mile reps, rather than shorter intervals. Stage three pairs my longest runs ever with short fast work. According to Runners’ World this will make me awesome.

Marathon Tim has proof read my plan and is now taking bets on my 10K time for an August time trial.

Equipment: check
I’ve got new sports bras and kit to get me through the summer months after I discovered that last summer’s kit has been washed to the point of disintegration. Normally I’m a quality over quantity kinda gal when it comes to running kit, but since stumbling across the low-price Kalenji brand available from Decathlon (pitched as a French Sports Direct on the Runners’ World forums) and the surprisingly awesome H&M sportswear section (plugged by a blogger with high standards, Be Pretty Fit) I’ve managed to accumulate a whole new running wardrobe for around £100.

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‘Sportance First’ running bra (£13.99), ‘Feel’ running top (£9.99), ‘Kiprun’ shorts (£12.99), all by Kalenji. Running tights (£14.99) by H&M. 2l hydration pack, small (£16.99) by Kalenji

Yes, that is a hydration pack on the end. 22 miles is a really long way to run without a drink and this seems like a far better alternative to one of those form-compromising bottle belts. I admit it’s a shame I won’t be rocking the Lara Croft look with a bottle belt, but I think I’m pulling off ‘ultra runner chic’ pretty well with the hydration pack, dontcha think?

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Time trials: Check
When it comes to measuring the success of my marathon training the proof will, of course, be in the pudding. But dotting time trials throughout training are a good way of ensuring that your fitness levels are improving. They can also do wonders for your confidence on race day, and provide welcome distractions from the monotony of long runs.

I will be running a 10K race this Sunday 2nd June and another at the beginning of August, halfway through my marathon training. I know that half marathons are a more orthodox time trial for marathon runners, but my summer is already littered with long cycle rides and so 10Ks seem more feasible. Also, as it is my favourite race distance I hope a couple of jolly 10Ks will lift my spirits if training fatigue and grumpiness sets in.

Thinking like a marathoner: Check. Well… sort of…
I can’t really think like a marathoner until I actually become one, but I’m going to do my best to get into the marathon frame of mind regardless. I’ll be listening to the Marathon Talk podcast on my long runs, I’ll be on the Runners’ World web forums when my girlfriend stops listening to me list my splits, I’ll be reading Matt Fitzgerald’s new book on marathon training nutrition, and I’ll be taking part in PT Mollie’s new Virtual Training Group. I fear I may become a bit of a marathon bore over the next few months, dear readers, but please do humour me. I’m rather excited.

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6 thoughts on “Preparation for marathon preparation

    1. Thanks! Hopefully clubmates and virtual running buddies will keep me buoyed through the next few months. I’m going to be exploiting every offer of advice, support and company on long runs!

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  1. Hey! Hannah,
    felt excited for you!
    I always think the real challenge for a marathon is “training” not the “race”. The 26.2 miles will be your performance. I am sure you will enjoy it as you made many wise and organised planing. really impressive. I wish I can run with you some days. Marathon became so much fun in your words..haha
    In my experience, there always some high and low moods juping through your training. Do prepare for the “low” days, my last advice is an unfinished training section is better than skip it.
    Good luck and looking forward for your training and race reports.
    They are precious.

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