Wow, this has come round quick. It really feels crazy that I am going to be running my 2nd road marathon in just a month!
Weirdly though, mentally, I know I have been training for this race since last June. Is that an odd thing to say? I don’t know, but it feels that way. June was the time when I started working with a running coach. When I started learning about intervals, hill reps, Fartlek’s, Tempos and all manner of other runs. This was when I met Shaun from Lets Get Running. When I say met, well we talked on Skype and “What’s App” because he lives in Amsterdam and I am not an elite who can pay for him to fly over for a meeting, lol!
Anyway, at this time the plan was to train for a PB in the Great North Run and I worked my ass off in the summer to get there. Alas it didn’t happen for me in September and you can read all about it here. To be brutally honest I was pretty disappointed. I sugar coated it and convinced myself it was kind of ok but really it wasn’t. Many things went wrong; some I can blame on circumstance, others were my failings. These I could learn from!
My training continued on for a bit more though, as I had a trail HM, which I ran for fun but at a reasonable pace. Then it was my local 10K, which is pretty hilly and a really tight course. I decided to race this, as I wanted a course PB. Some how I smashed it, not just a course PB but an overall PB for the distance, which blew my mind! That helped a bit with the GNR failure and gave me the runners high for a week or so. It also taught me about planning for a race mentally. Thinking about route, pace, position and drive. Before I had just rocked up and hoped for the best!
Next up was Beachy Head. A Marathon to be run for the joy of running. Which if you had said this to me even at the beginning of 2017 I would have laughed in your face! But that’s what I did. There was so much joy and emotion that day with new friendships made. Something I will never forget. This race though was part of another goal, the Ultra dream!
Post BH, I said to Shaun I wanted to take a month to have fun with my running and do #noplannovember. This consisted of finally going to do Monday Hills, a long run with Wild Trail runners, (who I met at the Maverick race), I ran and paced a HM with Becca and Louise, volunteered at parkrun, did some other group runs and more. Basically I had a fun month and somehow still ran 166kms.
So you see, I never really stopped. Paris was always on my mind; my goal of a 3hr 30min marathon was firmly fixed in my head! I spoke to Shaun during November and he told me that he was hiring a lady called Beth Carter to take on lots of the coaching, as he needed to concentrate on the run group side of the business, but would still be keeping an eye on my progress. I was a little apprehensive as Shaun and I had gotten on really well but I agreed to chat with Beth on the phone. We hit it off straight away, which was awesome and she understood what I wanted to achieve in 2018. I talked through all the races I had planned and which ones were actual “races” and which ones were experiences. I have to say; I think she got me straight way, which was nice, because sometimes I can be a bit vague! So we agreed to work together for 2018.
My Paris plan started on 1 Dec. I flew to Australia just a few days later though. This is where I discovered my “monkey say monkey do” attitude. I know I need guidance or I will just wonder free like a nomad. If I have a plan I need to follow it, even on the other side of the world.
I knew that the first 6 weeks were going to be tough with a lot of traveling, (Melbourne, home, Prague, Home, Bahamas), but you know what, I didn’t panic. In 2017, I would have. I would have been upset about missed runs, scared I wasn’t going to be ready and let these thoughts affect my focus. The great thing about having a coach is that you can just message her/him any time and talk through these things. I missed two long runs in January but Beth wasn’t worried. She focused the plan on what I could do and we upped it to 5 runs a week in Feb.
5 runs a week!
What the actual!?!
But you know what, I just made 5am my friend because I believe in the plan, in the process. I started on the long runs, grinding out the KM’s on Sunday mornings and started to feel confident again. Knowing the legs can do 28Kms or 32kms just a bit slower than marathon pace is a truly awesome thing.
The weekday runs were a mix of easy, hills, track, fartlek’s and tempos. All the things I started learning about last summer. This is why I say I have been training for this race since June. I have discovered that running is about learning to run smart as well as for fun. There is a reason behind each run and I finally reaped the rewards at the Vitality Big Half when my PB HM dream came true.
#Runnerhigh again! But I was brought back down to ground by a message from Beth, which pretty much said… “Don’t be a dick, follow the plan now and get back on it Monday because you’re A goal is Paris. This is why I am here for you!”
It’s not always easy though. I have cut down my wine intake massively. Wine is a passion too. I have tied to focus my daily nutrition (mostly) on what I think my body needs and even tried Yoga!
Getting up 4-5 days a week at 5am isn’t always fun. Sometimes it’s autopilot, sometimes it’s like FUCK!!! It screws my weekends up too as I don’t need to get up until 6 or sometimes 6.30 but guess what, your body clock wakes you at 5!
This is the plan though, this is the life! The goal has been set. Sacrifices have to be made.
You get up, you go run, you go to the gym, and you do yoga
You do what you need to do to get past that finish line in 3.29.58 secs
I have 4 weeks to go
Then its game time!