Time to Make a Plan
View from the start of the 2013 Loch Ness Marathon – Beautiful and wild
Looking pretty broken as I struggle along the loch shore
….and surprisingly strong at the finish – not how I was feeling!
Two weeks have now passed since the Loch Ness Marathon. The distress and hardship of the last few miles have almost faded from the memory sufficiently that my Comrades ambition is definitely back on. However, I am determined to learn the lessons from the marathon and to plan my preparations accordingly. I do have a great sense of achievement post Loch Ness but also a nagging feeling that it could have been even better. I think I have three big areas for improvement:
- Most obviously, I need to race more. My half marathon in April went brilliantly, the marathon was much more of a struggle but both probably reflect inexperience.
- I think it is also clear that I need a much better base of endurance. In both races, I blew up at the end. Manageable in a half marathon less so in the full event. On reflection, this is logical enough. I have still only been running regularly for 14 months and the first six of those were primarily about converting from slob to jogger. Hopefully I have the time to do this before Comrades but time is a big factor so leaving the problem for a couple of months is not an option.
- My final big area is managing long periods of running. Obviously I reached a point where it was very tough during the marathon but even in training I found long stretches on the road difficult both before and during the long run sessions. Funnily enough, apart from the race, I never really felt bad afterwards and even then, my basic recovery was fairly quick. This is the hardest one to crack. It is some combination of preparation, nutrition and mental concentration but very hard to be sure what that combination might be.
These areas at least give me the basis of a plan. So far I have been running gently and occasionally as part of my recovery. This week I plan to have my first week back into regular running and the first proper step back up towards a high weekly mileage base. From a fitness point of view, I am hoping to maintain a pretty steady 40-50 miles a week from now until Christmas. This should include plenty of hills so that their is also a strength component. I think strength is an important factor so I am also planning some gym work to build up my gluteus and my quads. Special focus on quads because Comrades is a down run which puts massive strain on those muscles.
Next step is to start looking for races over the winter to build up my experience base. I should be able to fit in 10k or half marathon events pretty much any time but might also have a go at another full marathon around February time just to test my long running plans.
The mental and nutritional side is going to take a bit longer to work out. Will blog again over the next couple of weeks with more detailed plans and thoughts on this topic. In the meantime, great to be back on the roads again and enjoying the running.