Today marks the day when I start my ‘proper’ training program. Training program for what you say? Well, on 29th May 2016, I’ll be running this, the Edinburgh Marathon. It’s a mostly flat course, so it’ll be where I set my marathon PB, which I hope to be a sub-3:30.
Now, I’ve already run two marathons in 2015; the Snowdonia Trail Marathon which was actually more like an Ultra at just under 29 miles, circumnavigating Snowdon over some very tough terrain with over 1,700 metres of ascent. Not one for a PB then (5:00 in fact). The second marathon was Marathon Eryri/Snowdonia Marathon, known as one of the hardest marathons in the UK due to the amount of ascent (also one of the most beautiful) and also my first road marathon; I’m not one to take the easy option first! Consequently, finished this in 4:02 after pretty much bonking at mile 19, letting the Eryri Harriers side down by walking.
Unfortunately for me, I didn’t really have a structured training plan set in place for this and just ran like I normally did; whenever I felt like it, or around four to five times a week in the fells and on the road. So my mileage varied each week, but usually averaging around 30 miles/50 kilometres occasionally pushing 50 miles/80 kilometres. Actually, you can successfully run a good marathon on just three quality runs a week, but I like getting in the mileage. My wife always says I’m one of those annoying people who doesn’t run or ride for ages, and then goes out and does a half-marathon or rides 50 or 60 miles on the bike without batting an eyelid. Well, that’s great sure as it means that my base fitness rarely decreases whilst my waist line increases. What it does mean however is that I go for said runs and end up injuring myself, not giving myself enough time to recover, and then do it again and injure myself, again. See the cycle? We runners are nothing if not stubborn (stubbornly stupid, that is). I’m sure all the runners reading this are all too familiar with the cycle.
Thing is, I think I’m going to find it very hard to stick to the structure of the program I’ve given myself. For example, today’s run is an ‘easy 6k’; that’s only four miles and I rarely run less than eight! Guess I’ll find it “easy” then. In fact, the first week goes like this:
Monday: 4 miles – easy EDIT: cheated, 8K (5 miles easy, 6.01/km)
Tuesday: Rest (well, if you can class climbing Snowdon in the snow as ‘rest’)
Wednesday: 6 miles – steady
Thursday: 5 miles – fartlek (or Thursday Night Hills with the club)
Saturday: 5 miles – easy
Sunday: Yaaaay long run day – 10 miles
So that’s twenty nine 30 miles for the first week (plus around seven for the Snowdon walk; still “time on feet” as a friend always says), but that’s OK. Problem is I love the long runs and would end up pushing myself to go further because I know I can. Perhaps I’ll fake an injury at mile 9.99 so that I’ll stop.
But I really need to stay the course as I do not want to be injured and want to be able to enjoy the marathon when I run it, with hopefully enough gas left in the tank after 26.2 to go around again /sarcasm.
Back to injury for a minute though. With me, if it’s not one thing it’s another, almost as if my body is saying ‘stop f**king running you asshat’! I NEVER get injured on my bike as I’m sat on my arse for most of it.
Seriously though, like a lot of runners, I do have bio-mechanical problems largely due, I think, to my chronic back problems. I used to get (touch wood) horrendous back-spasms where my psoas muscle would pull so severely, it bent my upper-body into an ‘S’ shape and at first I was in absolute agony and even the most minor movement would kill me. I would be out of action for up to two months; not good for work, play or my depression and this would really affect it. At first I had to have everything done for me (which I hate) until the pain subsided a little and I could at least waddle around like a geriatric duck on ice, avoiding any kind of twisting or bending movements; it got so bad my wife had to put my socks on. Luckily, it hasn’t been this bad since Christmas Eve 2013, where it happened, ironically, after a run. So that put me off running for a bit, to say the least as it ruined my Christmas.
Thankfully, all I suffer with now is pretty bad stiffness and soreness, but the running has actually improved my symptoms, after so many people saying that running would make it worse. Not so, I’m very pleased to say, as it keeps it loose and the running gives me an excuse to stretch which I was very lazy with before.
I get niggles now though. The latest in the Elton Injury Saga being a possibly inflamed/pulled adductor, probably due to over-use as I was doing too much mileage too quickly. Jeez, did I just admit that openly to myself and the public!? Stupid boy, Pike!
Originally, I’d planned on having at least two weeks off running, but after it felt OK after a week, I did a little easy 8K with my wife the other day. Yes, it was niggling and I was amazed with myself when she asked if I wanted to run further and I said no! You know the pain: you’ve done a run and go to lift up the affected leg to stretch your quad and you can’t because it pulls in your groin.
So at the moment, that is causing me a little aggro, but not to the point of pain like it was at the end of my last run at Newborough Forest. I have been opening my stride more though recently so maybe that has contributed to it, as I normally run short, high-cadence at around 80-90 steps per minute. Or, I could have damaged it from all the slips I had mud-surfing around the Carneddau a couple of weeks back. Who knows.
What I do know is that it is one of the many little injuries I always seem to suffer with.
Consequently this time, during this training plan, I MUST stick to it and not go further, faster or harder than I should and build up the mileage gradually, even if I’m caught between the devil and the deep blue sea, coercing me to run further.
On that note, I’d best get me trainers on.
Thanks for popping by folks 🙂
EDIT: P.S: today’s run Easy 6 *ahem* 8K
Header Image borrowed from http://edinburgheditor.com/