Greater Manchester Marathon Training 2014

I’ve been so busy recently I haven’t had time to blog for ages *guilty face*, but just thought I’d share a few thoughts about how training has been going for the Greater Manchester Marathon. It’s on 6th April, so exactly a month away – eek!

Some of you will know how frustrated I was after I took part in this event last year. It was my first marathon and I was going quite well until I reached mile 24 and got cramp in my calves! People said to me that 4:07 was a great time for a first attempt at my age(!). Initially I was pretty pleased just to have completed an actual marathon, but I soon started thinking about how I could avoid the dreaded cramp in future and maybe get closer to four hours.


Then a few months ago a massage therapist I visited suggested I might have an imbalance of calcium and magnesium – i.e. too much of the former and not enough of the latter. Apparently calcium makes the muscles tense up and magnesium makes them relax, so too much calcium and not enough magnesium can cause cramp. I read up a bit on this and began to see the sense in it, so have been taking a magnesium supplement since I started this current cycle of marathon training to see what happens. I guess I won’t know if it’s worked until race day, but obviously magnesium is also good for muscle recovery in general anyway.

 I’ve also worked on strengthening my legs more this time. My favourite way to do this is by attending a weekly flow (or vinyasa) yoga session at York Yoga Studio. Anyone who thinks yoga is all about lying down, breathing and chanting should give one of these classes a go – they are hard work! Poses are put together in sequences and synchronised with the breath, really raising the heart rate whilst stretching and strengthening. It’s brilliant core work too, which is really important for running. My arms often feel like jelly by the end, but it’s well worth it and good fun too.

The running part of my schedule has been going pretty well so far, fingers crossed. I’m following the Women’s Running improver’s plan again, and my six weeks running up to the marathon look like this:

As you can see, I did a half marathon (of my own devising, not an official one) last Sunday, which was supposed to be at PB pace. It was far too windy to get a PB, but at 1:56 it was actually quicker than my time at the Brass Monkey in January – which was both pleasing and annoying at the same time! Usually after a race I would rest for a few days, but there’s no respite during Monster Month, so I did a threshold session today and I must admit my calves now feel a bit mashed. And of course there are the two longest runs scheduled for the next two Sundays, so it will be interesting to see how it all goes. At least it’s a good excuse to eat carbs on a Saturday night! I’m a big fan of doing a bit of cycling to recover from long runs, it seems to work well for my legs.

 I would really love to squeak in at just under four hours at Manchester, because that would be a Good For Age time for me and I’d love to get into the London Marathon – I’ve tried via the ballot for a few years now with no luck so far. Hope everyone else’s spring marathon training is going well – I’d love to hear how you’re getting on.