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Tuesday
Oct082013

Marathon training, take 3

It has begun. My third and (please let it be so) final attempt on the marathon. 

This time I am following a training plan that appears, at least, to match the kind of running I've been doing over the summer. It consists of three runs per week (plus two sessions of cross training - or, as I like to call it, cycling to work), so I know I can fit that in. I found it on Runner's World. Basically you run an interval session, a tempo run and a long run per week, at paces calculated off your best recent 10k. For me, that was 8:19 min/mile pace - I won't list out all the other paces calculated off that, but my long runs should be around 9:20 - 9:35. 

I'm through two weeks now, and have surprised myself by struggling to go slow enough. My long runs of 10.5 and 12 miles have both come in around 9:10 pace. That might be helped by the first two miles being downhill it does seem that my trot pace is somewhere between 9:05 and 9:20. If I can keep that going I will be over the moon. 

The only snag is that it's cold season, and yesterday and today I have been feeling a little coldy. That is a fact of life at this time of year in the UK, even with the good weather we've had. I don't see any way around it - it's just not practical to lock both of us in the house and have some weird plague-style system for the Ocado delivery man. It may have been slightly fool-hardy to agree to teach first year undergraduates this term, but needs must. As ever, I have my best current cold-fighting plans in place:

  • Liberal use of the various medicines at my disposal. So my nasal spray that I used to think was only for hayfever? Now any time my sinuses feel bad, I'm using that stuff. I'll keep taking my anti-histamine all year round. My asthma inhaler seems to be helping my general cold resistance anyway, and I'll be taking decongestants as soon as I feel a hint of congestion.
  • Vitamin C and zinc tablets. Yeah, I know the vitamin C has had very mixed results in experiments, but Boots make a zinc and vit C tablet and it doesn't seem to do any harm. It's the zinc that's been shown to speed the time to kick the cold, and at the hint of feeling unwell I'm doubling my dose. It's still well under overdose levels, so I just take a tablet in the morning and one in the evening, rather than just one in the morning. 
  • I'm also going to be using my neti pot twice a day as often as I can. If nothing else at least it keeps the snot moving. If things start to go bad I'm going to be adding honey to the mix - yes, honey. The research is not comprehensive, I'm not using expensive honey, but I will say that having had a couple of nasty lumpy sinus infections (yum) when I started adding honey to the neti pot was when the lumps went away. Even if it's a placebo effect I will take it! 
  • I'm going to drink a lot of water/green tea. Although not as much as in the summer - it had a rather unpleasant side-effect when mixed with a high-fibre breakfast.
  • I will be napping and sleeping as long as I can, as often as I can. Saturday was a prime example. I was a teensy bit hung over after a lab social, and Clarkie very kindly let me have an extra hour sleeping in the morning. I then did my 12 miles, came home, ate, and fell asleep for another half hour before we went out. 
  • Where necessary, I will try and at least do an easy run, even if I don't feel up to the full scheduled work out. Some miles are better than no miles. 
I'm fighting to stay well. I'm faster than I've ever been. I'm in better shape with a better base running mileage than I've ever had going into marathon training. I am desperately hoping for sub 5 hours, and there's a hint of a suggestion of maybe getting under 4:30 at my current pace - but there are so many stages where this whole thing can go wrong, I'm just going to take it as it comes and see what I can do. Fingers crossed!

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