Sunday, April 26, 2015

Training for my first marathon

It started with that email.  Sunday morning.  Early January.  A Happy New Year from the YMCA Marathon Club announcing that Sunday's 7am pack runs were resuming for the year:

"Don't wait for anything or anyone. Start this weekend and lace up the trainers, put in some electrolyte, and get to work on the fitness."

It was 6:15.  Those words spurred me straight out of bed, and off for my first long group run of the year.

Since the Auckland Half Marathon in November I hadn't started training for anything in particular, just doing about 30km a week and a few awesome hikes while on holiday.  The runners at YMCA are a friendly bunch - ranging from newbies to multi-marathoners - and many are good at putting ideas into your head.

"Sheryll, are you running Rotorua?
"No, I'd like to build up my fitness for the Auckland Marathon in November though."

The ensuing weeks increased in distance - 21km, 23km, 24km.

"So, Sheryll, are you running Rotorua?"
"I don't think so, I'd just like to see how my (recently injured) foot goes while I build up my endurance".

At home online I check out the YMCA Rotorua training plan and start following it roughly.  By mid February I have built up to 50 km a week with a long run of 26km. Admittedly the build up has been a bit rapid, but my foot has been really good, and I am lucky to have no other niggles.

"Sheryll, if you can run 26km, you can run Rotorua..."
"I might do it, I'll see how the training goes and whether I get injured or not..."

I introduce midweek long runs which gradually build up to 16km.  The weekend long runs get even longer - 27km, 28km, 29km.  I mention to my husband that I might be interested in running the Rotorua marathon and he's keen.  "I'll run the half!" he says.

It's looking possible, but I am still not fully committed.

A friend notices my growing mileage and asks "What are you training for?"
I start typing a reply.  "I'm thinking about (blah, blah, blah, excuses...)" and stop.
That just sounds stupid.
I ponder a while, take a deep breath, and type with assertion: "Rotorua Marathon!"

It took a while for that mental commitment, but once it was made and the world was told that commitment was 100%.

"So, Sheryll, are you running Rotorua?"
"Yes I am!"
" Have you got your entry in yet?"
(They're so pushy those guys!)

32km, 27km,

The week of my first 32km run was a total of 72km, and a record for me.  During those intense weeks I needed to go to bed a lot earlier, and I needed to eat so much! My hips stiffened up quite a lot and I went to see my physio.  As well as a few stretches and strengthening exercises, she recommended a leg massage. It was so amazing I felt like skipping and doing cartwheels as I walked home.

For the weekend of the second scheduled 32km run, most of the club were in New Plymouth and I'd be the only one of my pace group there, so I ran the Whenuapai half marathon.  It was wet to begin with, which I welcomed because I hadn't run in rain all summer so it was a good gear test in case of rain at Rotorua.  I'm pleased to report I had no blisters or chafing!

I ran fairly conservatively until the last 5km where I sped up to try and beat 2:10:22 (my PB) but I finished in 2:12:24.

I developed runner's knee shortly after the Whenuapai half marathon, and ITB management mode kicked in. I'd already been doing glute strengthening 2-3 times a week, but ramped that up to daily, as well as some leg lifts to strengthen my VMO.  Knee pain has resolved but my ITB is still tight and I practically live on my foam roller.

More of a worry is the hamstring niggle I developed last Wednesday, 10 days out from the marathon. I never thought I'd develop an injury during taper!  Luckily I had a physio appointment booked that evening and it was seen to early.  I haven't run since and it is slowly improving but it better #%&* hurry up.  Quite frankly I am scared to run in case it worsens. And I'm dealing with thoughts that I may even DNS, or DNF.  I am not fun to be around at the moment.

So overall, training built up consistently until about 6 weeks ago. Since then I have missed two or three runs during the week, and one 27km long run, as I played it safe with injury. I ran a half marathon race and two 32k'ers, so I'm reasonably happy with my training volume overall.

How am I feeling a week out?  Mixed up!  A week ago I felt excited, confident of finishing, but not confident to push hard as it is my first marathon after all.  Rotorua has two large hills at about 20km and 26km, and is not considered an easy course.  This hamstring issue just throws another spanner into the works.  Ignoring that though - my goal is simply to finish 'comfortably strong', if that is even possible in a marathon!

1 comment:

  1. Looks like your training is going great. You sound a lot like me when I was training for my first (and only) marathon. It took me awhile to admit to everyone and myself that a marathon was in the works. I think maybe someday I will do another, but I really like halfs!


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