Last week was the first of the 19 weeks of ‘proper’ marathon training after three weeks of sloth, and boy was it a shock!
Fortunately the first workout my programme had in store was sprint reps and they give you a nice feeling of speed and power, even if you’ve put on some extra weight – you don’t really notice it in the half-minute burst! Maintaining the same effort for all the reps (15 in my schedule) was a bit harder, but I just focused on technique, pushing through the elbows and lifting my heels toward my glutes to generate knee-lift (is that even a term?) By contrast, it was during the shorter (1′) recovery periods between sprints that I felt the worst, out of breath from the effort and fatigued from the number of repetitions; but win that mental battle, start the next sprint strong and it’s over in a flash!
The tempo run that followed a couple of days later was a much harder affair though – my lack of fitness really showed, and I wasn’t able to maintain the target pace on the undulating route through Huncote, Thurlastone and Narborough… In the end I ended up 5” per km off target pace and seriously out of breath, but for the first tempo run back I’m not complaining… my only concern is that the tempo section of this run was 25′, while it will be 35′ in the next one! Gulp!
I cross-trained on the Saturday (longish bike ride), and did Sunday’s progression run on the gym treadmill, sacrificing the road’s realistic training conditions (mainly in terms of pushing yourself to run at a certain pace, as opposed to having the conveyor belt coming at you) for the ability to structure the workout exactly as per the plan (being able to set the precise pace I wanted to run at at each stage of the progression). While I don’t want to rely on the treadmill to set the pace for me (there will be no such luxury in the race!), having just returned from a break I felt that completing the exercise was more important.
So, first week done and if it was a bit hard… well, it’s going to get much harder! Let’s hope I can get into shape fast enough to keep up with it!
And if this post was drier and more factual than usual, I apologise; but that too reflects the week’s training: it didn’t pay to concentrate on impressions, how I felt or what I was thinking of. It was all about overcoming the inertia, getting out there when it was the last thing I felt like doing and putting one foot in front of the other, taking it one rep at a time and getting back into training.