I don’t think I’ve talked about it much in this blog, but I’m running Manchester Marathon this year – after swearing never again after my first marathon at London in 2014, then accidentally (yes, really!) doing it all again in 2015. I had a break in 2016 to focus on getting my coaching qualification and to break some PBs at shorter distances, but now the marathon has called me back.
There’s something quite romantic about running a marathon. Its very name calls to me, like a sweetly singing siren. Come and run me. Come and experience every emotion you’ve ever felt in 26.2 miles of pure joy and pain and salty tears. Come and feel beaten, then get up and smash through that wall and feel like a hero. A marathon changes you. I’m excited to be doing it again.
I’ve been running around 15 years now (that makes me sound old!) but I’ve only been taking it relatively seriously since I reached my 30s. I haven’t really ever tackled the marathon distance properly – I did London for fun both times. So this year is my opportunity to see what I’m really capable of. My marathon PB from London 2015 is 4:31 so I’m aiming for under 4 hours for Manchester. I know that sounds like a big jump, but my times at other distances (5k 23:09; 10k 48:48; Half Marathon 1:51) do suggest I can do much better if I can just build my overall endurance and maintain my fitness and speed endurance.
January training has been really enjoyable. I started my marathon training back in December because I couldn’t wait to get started. January has been about starting to build in longer runs and build strength which I’m doing through hills and trail runs. I would really like to get back to the gym to do more specific strength training again but I always seem to prioritise running over other stuff because I love it too much. I coach running groups every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, and sometimes Thursday too, so sometimes those miles form part of my recovery, or sometimes like with the trail runs they are good for getting some midweek distance in. Every week I factor in a long run, a recovery run, a tempo run and some intervals or hill efforts, then anything else is a bonus. The main thing is I’m enjoying it and seeing real progress, which is encouraging. I’m constantly tweaking my plan, which keeps me on track and motivated. Currently on around 35 miles per week.
My longest training run this month has been 16 miles, and my fastest 5k has been 23:09 at Lincoln parkrun so it seems marathon training is also helping my shorter distances too. I’ve also tried 3 new parkruns bringing my events total to 25 – more on that in another blog.
So February will see me increasing mileage further and hopefully seeing further improvements to overall speed endurance.