Spring Marathon Training – Week 1

Saturday afternoon
I have been in a slight quandary for the last ten seconds wondering whether to rinse the mud off my clothing, or to get the first part of this week’s summary written up. The reason it’s an issue is that I’m off out again to watch Liverpool in the FA Cup, so I’ve barely got half an hour to myself.

Once pink trail shoes now covered in mud and grass resting on some asphalt ground.

Having survived a typical Cross Country afternoon where the blue skies look radiant during the car ride, and then the clouds roll over during the warm-up in order to empty their wares over you in the middle of the race, followed finally by a post-race photo back in the sunshine, I’ve peeled off the layers and showered myself down before a quick early tea.

It wasn’t my fastest race, but it was definitely at tempo effort and that’s what week one of the marathon plan wanted. Well, to be honest, it was more like threshold effort, and my breathing was like some dirty old man, which probably made the person in front of me run that bit faster to be out of reach. Reflecting on the week, I’ve ticked all the sessions off the plan and then some, so it really doesn’t surprise me that my legs and lungs weren’t quite firing on all cylinders today.

The training plan I’m following is the Ben Parkes one, mainly because he lays it all out really well, and sets out pace zones for each type of running, from easy runs to intervals. It allows you to have a goal and to see, fairly quickly, whether that goal is reasonable based upon your current abilities.

First 4 weeks of Ben Parkes Level 2 Marathon training plan.
First 4 weeks of Ben Parkes Marathon training (level 2)

As with my Hal Higdon plan for the 10K I’ve done a bit of jiggery pokery to make it work for me. My aim is just to complete the first marathon, but I would like that completion to be somewhere around the 5.30 hours mark in order to build up to a sub 5 hour marathon for the autumn.

Ben (I’m going to assume that we’re on first name terms now) has a free basic marathon plan which fits in with that time, but the weekly mileage is a lot lower than I’ve built up over the back end of last year. So I’ve bought (for the princely sum of £6), his level 2 plan which ramps up the sessions and the mileage a bit. My aim is to use his pace zones for level 1 with the sessions and distance for level 2.

It’s Sunday evening now and sadly it wasn’t the greatest of matches last night. My muddy shoes are still in a bowl in the garden but will have to wait there until tomorrow. So to resume:

I’ve had to play fast and loose with the order of the sessions because of life so I managed the following in Week 1:

Monday4 miles [6.4km] easy (12.30 average min/mile pace [7.65min/km]) with 4 x strides.
I used lampposts instead of 20 second timings.
Tuesday (am)Long Run – 11.85 miles [19km] (12.18 average [7.56m/km])
No time for long runs at the weekend so I had to squeeze it in here.
I found this quite tiring to do but I recovered surprisingly well which is good and it was a little confidence boost for Helsby Half in less than two weeks.
Tuesday (pm)4.58 miles [7.37km] (11.56 average [7.18m/km])
Club Night – Couch to 10K group
As Jeff, the regular coach, was guiding a blind runner Ben, Terrie and I led this evening’s run. Not much leading required as everyone knew the routes better than me, but I enjoyed the chat and was pleased that my legs didn’t feel tired.
This double running in the day will not be the norm.
WednesdayStrength and Conditioning Class with Nigel
First class since before Christmas and it showed. I know I will ache for a couple of days!
ThursdayCross training – cycling with PROBs (39.33 miles [63.30km])
Had a couple of moments of despondency at points here because it felt like I was peddling for dear life for big chunks of this, just to keep the main pack in sight, who looked like they were ambling along very leisurely. However, it has been a month since I’ve been on the bike, and these ferocious efforts of mine will only be good for me. I could never do 3.5 hours of cycling in a gym, or on my own, so this is a huge plus point.
FridayLooking after Leo
Mainly an arm workout today as this ten month old is a solid lad, although I did take advantage during one of his naps to snooze with him. We’ve got him for two of the days next week!
SaturdayCross Country – 4.66 miles [7.5km] (10.27 average [6.38m/km])
My Tempo Run
Rainy, sloppy, muddy fun
SundayA gentle walk with friends around Formby (6.69 miles [10.77km])
I know this walk doesn’t feature in the plan but I’ll be counting that time on my feet as every little helps.

Total running miles: 25.3 miles [40.72km]

Plus, I’m doing the Yoga With Adriene 30 day challenge via her free YouTube page, and I have managed roughly 30 min sessions on that each day.

Writing this week down makes me realise that I have done quite a lot. More than required in terms of distance but I’m used to twenty plus miles at the moment, so I don’t want to lose that. That may mean that I get tired before I should, but I’m going to risk it while the going’s good. It’s the very first week of 15 weeks training before the big day. There is a long way to go and I’m sure there will moments where I fall off the wagon but I’m very happy with the start.

5 thoughts on “Spring Marathon Training – Week 1”

  1. I love that you have a clear and practical plan for training for your marathon. I also love your recap of your accomplishments for the week. Keeping track of your “strides” throughout the week provides really great information and allows you to experience victories along the way.

    1. I’m putting out at least one blog a week as my round up of what I’ve done (training wise). It keeps me accountable because I know that I have to declare my actions to one or two more people than me! Plus it will be a good log to look back on when I’ve forgotten the pain and want to do it all again!

      1. Exactly! The accountability is so valuable and anyone reading may end up gaining something valuable from your experience. I love that it also serves as a record (journal entry) that you can refer back to later in life.

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