Sooooo….. This was supposed to have been published around Christmas to talk about the first half of my winter training but, in true Steve fashion, that did not go to plan. I had put a weekly plan together and all was going well till I changed jobs in mid November. I had even invested in some swimming lessons to work on my front crawl technique. I had a nice weekly routine going and then I threw it all out of the window by taking a job that involved working away from home…. Although I did not know it at the time of accepting the offer.
I had entered the Manchester Marathon that was due to take place in the following April and whilst I am a triathlete I thought the marathon would be a good challenge as I’d never done one before and it would give me something to focus on over the winter. As a result it was a good job I did as running was about all I was able to do just after Christmas and it fitted in well with working away as I didn’t need a gym or lots of kit to train in.
Up till mid November I had a nice steady routine.
- Monday, Core session am and turbo trainer pm
- Tuesday, Pool swim am and running club pm
- Wednesday, rest or swimming lesson after tea depending on what time I could get to get to the gym
- Thursday, Core session am
- Friday, Bike to and from work
- Saturday, parkrun and time with my son
- Sunday, training dependant on time and family comittments
Between November and Christmas it all went a bit hit and miss. I was working away in strange places that I didn’t know which it was taking me ages to find and also it was cold and dark. Normally that would not bother me but with being on strange territory I was very wary of where I was going. I did get some long runs in along with the odd swim and core sessions but it was quite challenging to say the least. Not only that it was flaming cold!!! However I was still out with only shorts on my legs and the rest of me well wrapped up in all weathers, snow, freezing temperatures, rain, you name it and I ran in it. It did my legs the world of good though. They talk about ice baths and winter conditioning, just come and live in the UK, that’ll sort you out.
Over Christmas I had a chat with my partner and we both knew that things had to change. My being away was putting strain on her as well as my dear old dad and this was not good…. So I started looking for another job and changed again at the beginning of February. The new one is locally based and the majority of the work is relatively close to where I live, give or take…. I had also been talking to an ultra running friend of mine about the marathon and how best to train for it. I had never run that far before so I had no idea what to do really in terms of building the mileage up and putting the work in for my legs. He advised me to build up for two weeks then drop back to a lower mileage for the third week and repeat till you get close to the race then start to taper down. From that I put a plan together and worked in some core sessions as well as the odd swim. The cycling went by the wayside as I knew I could pick that up quite easily once the marathon was done and I could get out on two wheels rather than doing the miles on the turbo. I was posting weekly on Instagram about my training and was picking up new followers who were motivating me with their comments, 1 guy in particular was a superstar. My ultra running friend was also doing his bit.
With the plan in place I felt a lot happier that I was going to be able to complete the marathon, despite him telling me that I would walk it…… I had weekly targets to work to and time blocked out for essential stuff too. I was out in all weathers. Rain, sleet, hail, snow, sunshine but I never covered my legs and always had shorts on. The locality round where I live is very hilly, it’s on the edge of the Pennines, so there is no shortage of tough training runs. Slowly but surely, sticking to the plan, I built the mileage up using Sundays as my long run day as it was the best day to do it around other stuff and meant that I’d be in the daylight too (which is always a bonus prize). My runs got fewer but longer and the weekly mileage got higher and I started to feel that I could complete the marathon.
As I started to taper down I reintroduced the swimming and cycling to the plan. As you may well know I hate tapering and this was a good excuse to rest up for the marathon yet build in the triathlon disciplines without over doing it. My swimming won’t be anything sparkling this year but it’ll get me through, it’ll have to…… I was feeling confident about the marathon and better about my triathlon season that was looming on the horizon too.
The key points to this post are that
- Make a plan and follow it
- Enlist the help and advice from experienced people
- BELIEVE IN YOURSELF!!!! You can do it!!!
- Don’t let the weather put you off, it’s character building (allegedly)
- NEVER GIVE UP
- Get somebody to be accountable to. I used my instagram followers and got some serious motivation from them.
Thank you for taking the time to read this, it’s not like my normal ramblings as it’s quite a “to the point” post. The next one will cover the marathon itself and will be a bit more chatty. Happy Running……