Following the disappointment at the Milton Keynes Marathon in May I concluded that, among other things, I needed to step outside my comfort zone. MK was my 4th marathon and although I had improved over those 4 marathons, it was clear that I had reached a plateau and needed to alter my approach if I was going to achieve my goal of running sub 3:30 at Berlin.
I first looked at the Daniels running formula after a recommendation from Twitter pal Dave (@dav3c) but I found the workouts too complex and also didn't feel it would offer me enough recovery time. In the end, I settled on the sub 3:30 marathon plan on the Runkeeper app, which is devised by a trainer called Jeff Gaudette. It looked to have the right combination of intervals, tempo and marathon paced running and uses a run on Saturday to tire your legs out for the Sunday run (sounds great, eh?!). The theory being, that you don't have to run quite so far on your Sunday long runs. Including a 2 week taper, the training plan would be a total of 16 weeks.
The first couple of weeks were fairly comfortable with midweek runs of 4 or 5 miles and the longest run being 10 miles. I then had 2 weeks in the US, ate a lot, drank a fair bit and only ran twice. The net outcome being I had a fantastic holiday but put on the best part of half a stone!
|One of my rare runs in the US along Santa Monica / Venice Beach...|
in the US!
I took some encouragement that although I was finding it hard, I was managing to stick with the planned sessions*. I was really pleased when Nick (@nick_runs) suggested we run together for our planned Sunday run of 14 miles (@8:00m/m). He ran strongly and was clearly in better shape than me and on nearing home at about 12.5 miles, he encouraged me to push on for the full 14 miles, when I probably would have wimped out had I been on my own!
During this period of training I have also run 2 races. The Notts 5 mile Road Race (36:39) and the Jagermeister 10k this past Friday, which is a hilly race (44:40). The 5 miler was a bit of a social tempo run with Mike (@mikew30) and his son James but the Jagermeister in particular was good for sharpness.
On Sunday I completed 4 really solid weeks of training (week 9 of 16), with a 16 miler at MP. Although it was tough, I started to feel that I was running into some form and that the benefit of that 4 week training block was finally paying off. Don't get me wrong, the sessions are still really tough but I feel like I am getting some fitness back. I never felt like this at any point during my MK Marathon training, so I hope it is a good sign.
Unfortunately or fortunately, depending on how you look at it, I have got a week in Spain coming up in a week or so. I am determined to take my diet a bit more seriously in the hope that I can keep my weight down and although I won't be sticking to my training plan (it's too hilly where we are going) I do plan to run every other day (as a minimum), and swim lots.
I am particularly keen to hear from other runners training for the Berlin Marathon and those that have any tips for balancing holidays with training.
(*I did have to have a little lay down at about 11 miles on my first post-holiday long run!)