Manchester Marathon Training – March

Just a quick update on my marathon training for those who are interested. I guess all you lucky people doing the Paris or London marathons are tapering now (yay), but I still have another week of Monster Month to go before I can start to wind down for Manchester.

I’ve just started week 13 of my 16 week programme – the beginner’s marathon schedule from Women’s Running magazine – and my longest run so far, on Easter Sunday, has been 18 miles. Until three weeks ago the furthest I’d ever run was a half marathon and I must admit I was a bit nervous about going further; but I’ve been surprised by how… not exactly ‘easy’ it’s been to extend to 15 miles and then 18, but certainly less difficult than I thought it would be. As I’ve said previously, I think my core toning and hill sessions in the first half of the training programme really helped to build strength for the longer runs in the second half. This coming Sunday I’m scheduled to do my longest run of around 20-21 miles (depending on how I feel) and I’m actually looking forward to it! Then from next Monday I’ll be tapering. This is how the final weeks of the training programme pan out:

 I’m gradually getting a bit better at pacing. On earlier runs I had trouble slowing down on the Sunday run. As my target race pace time is around nine minutes, the greater part of my long run should be carried out at around ten minutes, but I was doing them too quickly, which could obviously end up in burnout on race day! As the runs have got longer, slowing down a bit has become easier, so my slow pace is now more like 9:40. The long runs also have some sections to be done at target pace, which is a useful exercise. I’ve now joined the Brooks Running four hour pace team for race day, so hopefully I will #runhappy! But even if I don’t manage to stay with them til the end it should prevent me having to look at my Garmin every two minutes for the first half at least.

 Injury-wise I’ve been OK so far – although I’m well aware that this could change at any time, especially after next Sunday! People tell me I’m very lucky not to have had anything go wrong yet, especially as I’m getting on a bit(!), but I don’t think it’s all down to luck. I really believe that good nutrition has played its part, as I mentioned in a previous post. I’ve also been to see my pal Colin Hawxby at Muscle Management for a couple of sports massages; these really help to iron out any kinks and keep things in good working order. I’ll definitely be booking in with him for a session before marathon day. Colin and his wife are both great athletes, so I’m always eager to suck up any advice they can offer me!

I realise the ‘Miserable March’ weather has hindered training for some people, which is a shame. Here in York we’ve been very fortunate and had hardly any snow recently – so my beloved YakTraks probably (hopefully) won’t see service again until next winter! I actually don’t mind the cold for running, but could do without the easterly wind, which always seems to be against me for the last few miles when I’m feeling tired. Good training I guess! My worry now is that after all this rubbish weather the end of April will be boiling hot, which is exactly what marathon runners don’t want. Fingers crossed!

I hope your training is going well if you’re doing a spring marathon. Please let me know how you’re getting on, I love to hear about other people’s running experiences. And best of luck if you’re doing Paris or London – I’ll be watching the VLM on the telly for inspiration before my final Sunday run!