I am sure that many of us are now turning our thoughts towards the spring marathons that we have planned. Whether you started training a few weeks ago, or whether Monday 1 January was your starting point, it is time to get really focused on the challenge of running 26.2.
There are a number of questions that you must ask yourself this week:
1. Why are you doing this? It is really easy to get caught up in the excitement of entering a marathon without really thinking through why you want to. Knowing what your own reason is for wanting to run such a challenging race will give you something to draw on when the training becomes really tough on a wet February Sunday morning.
2. What does a successful marathon look and feel like for you? In other words, what do you want out of a marathon? Are you looking for a specific time? Do you have a different sort of outcome in mind?
3. Do you have a training plan? Does this plan progress logically from where you are now to where you would like to be in the spring?
Talking these questions through with yourself, with another fellow runner, or with a coach can help you to gain some perspective. Knowing your ‘why’ is vital if you want to build the all-important consistency of training. When the weather is awful and you feel tired, knowing why you are about to go out on a long run will help you to get out there and get it done. Working consistently through your training plan is the key to marathon success. (Although I am unable to take on any more individual runners for one-to-one coaching, I am more than happy to offer help, support, and advice about any plans that you may be following. Just drop me a line and I’ll get back to you.)
In training terms, most of us will be running at least four times each week at this point. Consistency of training is key and there is no time like the new year to build this routine. If your long run is coming in around 10 miles, you are well on-track because by slowly increasing the volume of running over the next few weeks, you’ll soon be running 18 miles or so. I’ll post next week about how some of these long runs can start to become a little more marathon specific.
Of course, training in the Marathon Training Group each Wednesday will encourage you to make progress by training at marathon pace or quicker. The long term aim of these sessions is to make your marathon pace feel manageable. So many runners come unstuck on race day simply because they start their event far too quickly. These sessions will encourage you to reflect on what marathon pace and effort feels like so that when April arrives it is second nature to start at that pace.
See you on Wednesday!