Thursday, 14 April 2016

Marathon crunch time

It's getting towards the business end of marathon training. I have about four weeks to go to marathon number eight, this is it now, a few weeks of the hardest training left then taper time.

Rather than giving you my unqualified advise as to what I think you should do to successfully train for a marathon, I'm going to tell you about my training in the hope that it will interest/educate/enlighten/guide/confuse/amuse you (delete as appropriate). 

First off this is my first spring marathon, the big negative associated with a spring marathon is the rain, the cold, the wind and the dark, training during the summer months for an Autumn marathon is much more fun!

The big advantage for me though had been that my marathon, Halstead on the 8 May, comes a few weeks after several big events, Paris, London, Brighton etc. This means my training has been a few weeks behind the masses of people running these events and sharing their training on social media so I have been quietly lurking in the background watching and learning from other people's experiences. 

Six weeks out from a marathon seems like a perfect time to get new trainers, that and the fact my current pair have done well in excess of 500km. 

So these are the pair that are (notice there is now hopefully added in here, I am trying to engage in more positive thinking) going to take me to sub 4 hour glory. 

In the last few weeks I have been racking up the miles and on top of the three half marathons I have done this year I have completed two 15 milers and a 17 miler. I am planning two more long runs in the region of 20 miles so that should take care of getting enough mileage in.

The long runs have been paired with a decent amount of speed work as well with regular early morning track sessions over at Regents Park.

I reckon my training has been better than previous marathons with a definite case of my training having been smarter if not necessarily having been harder or longer. 

So what do I have to do now to get me to the marathon start line in tip top condition:

Sleep - Plenty of rest to maximise the benefits of training.

Protein - Increassing the amount of protein I am including in my diet so plenty of hummus, natural yogurt, protein shakes, nuts, peanut butter, milk and the old faithful chicken for me. Its also lucky that USN recently sent me a free goody box of products to try out and review.

So far I have tried out, pure GF1 a tasty, rich, creamy protein shake packing a whole 40g of protein, pretty perfect to help recovery after a long grueling run. 

Trying out new carb loading options - I recently read an account from a runner who reflected that while training for an event so many runners will priotitise eating well, cutting out refined sugar and processed food only to get to race day and then start consuming sickly energy gels down their throats to help power their run. This really hit home with me so I decided to try out some more 'real food' options. I stumbled across whitworths shots (other dried fruit snacks are available) as a great way to get some carbs on board while out running. So far they are working really well, the main difference being that they take a bit of time to chew and swallow as opposed to gels which just slip straight down your throat. 

Not eating any puddings - Cutting out sweets, cakes and other sugary snacks is usually on most runners pre race preparation list and I am no different as I have a particularly sweet tooth and the problem is heightened by the fact that I get free lunch and work. Not just free lunch, but free lunch with a great range of puddings, cheesecakes, fruit crumbles, sponge cakes all the good things you can imagine! Cutting these out is fast becoming a major challenge! 

So here we go 4 ish weeks to go, lots of hard work to go but only 2 weeks before things tail off and its taper time! 

If you are running any of the great range of marathons in the coming weeks I hope your training has gone well and you have a great run!