It’s hard to believe a whole year has gone by but here I am back in the swing of training for my second London marathon.
I have to admit I’m not as excited about the training part as I was last year. The memory of long hot runs at 4am to avoid the Sydney summer heat is all coming back to me. But the reward of being able to return to my beloved London again is worth the pain.
The difference this time around is that I have nearly a year of CrossFit and strength & conditioning training under my belt. A couple of months ago I gave up CrossFit and now I only lift weights with zero cardio apart from my scheduled training runs.
I’m not a fan of 5-6 day per week marathon training plans. Unless you are an experienced runner and seasoned marathoner, I think they set you up for failure and injury. When I say failure I mean mental fatigue. For the amateur runner they are hard to stick to and it’s easy to quit.
Last year I managed to run a sub 4.30 marathon only doing long runs on sundays and one mid week tempo so this time around I’m doing something similar but with one extra short session and a very strict tailored weights program to make up for it. No wasted kilometres and every single one counts.
So this year I am far stronger and far fitter but I can’t risk injury overloading my week with consecutive days running. I’m looking forward to testing this out and comparing my two races running in what is essentially two different bodies.
Plus the logistics with four children and the cost of actually getting to London, plus the £2,500 I need to fundraise to get my place mean that there is a lot riding on me getting to the start line injury free. Not running isn’t an option.
It’s taken me the whole of last year to learn about my body. How it responds to heavy training loads and to get to know my injuries better. Why they happen and when and what I can do to manage them.
Last years injuries sent me into the deepest depression I’ve seen in years so for me, being injured is more than just having to watch telly with an icepack on my legs and hours of foam rolling. There are severe mental repercussions that I just can’t go through again. So for me, getting this training regime right is crucial.
Having said that, the above mentioned injury was the sole reason I found CrossFit and then strength training and so far that is what is keeping me injury free for now.
Another key in keeping injury free is my lovely friend who happens to be the best sports and remedial massage therapist I know. So I spend time with her every week while she inflicts unspeakable agony on my legs. It’s lucky I love her to bits otherwise I’d find it hard not to lash out and slap her when she has her elbow digging deep into my quads. My eyes are watering just thinking about it. If I ever skip a week seeing her, my ITB flares up as a reminder to keep focused on what works for me.
Marathon running for me is so incredibly special. It’s something I need to do each year to prove to myself that I am worthy. As stupid and wankery (totally a word) as that sounds, there is something about achieving something like finishing a marathon that ticks a box in my complicated head. It gives me something to focus on each year and it’s a guaranteed (albeit rather desperate) way of getting back to London, my spiritual home, each year.
I’ve already made a pact to myself that my lifelong goal is to run a marathon every year until I am 75. One day I will run them with my grandkids.
Still wearing Lululemon too, obviously. In my trusty matching pink Asics.
Keep running x