Marathon Training Take 2 – Week 1

Here we go again! When I first started marathon training last December I never expected I’d be starting again so soon. As I did that first week I was wondering how I’d deal with the training? Would I get injured? What would it be like crossing the finish line at the end? A global pandemic never crossed my mind!

This time I start out with fears that again the race will not go ahead. However, I want to be on top of my game if things turn out for the better. This time I’m only training with the one race in mind. I’ve already deferred my Manchester entry to next year as the one week gap in the rescheduled dates seemed too short given I have still never run the distance. Focus this time is 100% on London and the hope that it doesn’t fall foul of corona again.

Therefore, 97 days after my last training run, Monday saw me head out back on the plan. Thankfully I’ve been keeping the mileage in through lockdown and May was actually another 200km+ month (something I’d never done before until this year and training block 1). When I started last time it was cold and dark so was a pleasant change to head out in the sun for the first run. It felt strange having the nag back on my wrist telling me to slow down. Last time, whilst the logical part of my brain knew that the people who write plans know what they are doing, I struggled to get the slower pace to start. However, having gone almost the whole way through the cycle and benefitting with the extra fitness, I am fully on board.

Unlike the rest of the training plan, week 1 doesn’t have a Tuesday speed session, instead it was a day of rest. Wednesday was then another slower run, a little longer than Monday but again really only there to start preparing your body rather than pushing it.

During the last attempt, Thursday was always my gym day. It was good to mix it up with strength and conditioning training that I think really complemented the running. Unfortunately at the moment a combination of gyms being shut and the fact that I have had to knock my personal trainer on the head (not literally!) while finances are tighter has put paid to that currently. My hope is that if training does continue, I might be able to get back sooner rather than later.

Friday went against everything that should be true about a summer training plan. My son was heading out with me on his bike for my 5km and within 5mins of leaving the house, the heavens had opened and we were soaked to the skin! I’ve been trying lots of new routes and trying to run as many roads as I can on CityStrides and that occasionally led to unexpected deals ends which was the case again on this run but it does add to the variety and we were soon home drying out again.

Then on Friday afternoon came the message I don’t think anyone really expected. The organisers are still hopeful of going ahead. In a week where I had seen the Great North run and my local half both bite the dust, I was pleasantly surprised and it does mean training will continue on for a few weeks yet. What I really couldn’t understand was the level of anger online. I get that everyone has their own challenges but in reality nothing changed in terms of needing to start training etc. I saw many accuse the organisers of not making a decision. However, they did. They made the decision to still be hopeful and as on the same day the government lowered the risk rating, openly discussed reducing the 2m rule and said kids will be back in school in September, then I dont think this is wrong. By the end of July training will not be too far gone and the world will have changed a lot again I’m sure.

Confirmation that London 2020 isn't being cancelled quite yet
Race is still on, for now!

Into the weekend and it was time for the weekly Barford Power Station non-parkrun. This was week 14 of the virtual run hosted by my local parkrun. We were doing a day trip up to Yorkshire to have a socially distanced meetup with my wife’s parents so it was an early start. With only a glass of squash to fuel me, fast times shouldn’t have been on the cards so was surprised that the first 2k were on PB pace. The legs did start to leaden in the second half though so I had to settle for a 2nd faster ever 5km that I can’t really complain about.

At the end of the week it was time to do the first slightly extended mileage. Albeit still less than some runs I have done in lockdown at around 8 miles. The problem I faced was a unique one to recent times, I was running out of time before the weekly family zoom call. I had the choice of either reducing the distance or upping the pace to ensure I was home in time so rather than the slow pace, hit it a bit harder in the afternoon sun. I honestly started the week thinking this would be a single week training block. However, for now we continue and it’s time for me to start planning the next few weeks.

  • Monday – 6.89km @ 5:43 pace
  • Tuesday – Rest Day
  • Wednesday – 8.26km @ 5:41 pace
  • Thursday – Rest Day
  • Friday – 5.37km @ 5:12 pace
  • Saturday – 5km non-parkrun 20:28
  • Sunday – 12.31km @ 4:52 pace
  • Total – 37.83km

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