So It Begins.

I’ve been looking at training plans for my marathon attempt. The one in the Advanced Marathoning book, which I’ve been recommended on several occasions, is not 80/20. (80% very easy, 20% flat out.) That guy on Twitter who’s represents Great Britain as an age grouper, and wins the odd race outright, swears by 80/20. It’s the big thing with all the cool kids. But Advanced Marathoning is of the philosophy “Long slow runs produce long slow runners.” Their plan is push, push some more, rest, push again. To be honest, that works for me. I like challenging myself on my runs. Anyway, in the spirit of keeping with the science I spent an evening googling 80/20 training plans. There was a lot of chatter on the forums, but nothing concrete. I read “P&D” recommended a few times. The comment that summed it up seemed to be “P&D is the best plan off the peg.” Further Googling: What does P&D mean? Pfitzinger and Douglas. The authors of Advanced Marathoning. *sigh* That’s a few hours of my life I’m not getting back.

So I started the plan. The first day was a rest day/ cross training day. I decided to break out my £20 rowing machine for half an hour then do another half hour on other strength training. Today was a 7 mile “general aerobic” run with 10 x 100 meter strides in it. I think that means a run where you are not killing yourself but are pushing on a bit, with 10 sprints included. I used to aim for a steady 8 m/m when I was fit, so I thought 8.30 would still be enough to slightly tax me. Oh very dear. It was killer! I did it, and, with the sprints, managed to average 8.14 m/m, but it had no right to be that hard.

I’ve been getting a lot of wake-up calls about this sub 3 attempt. “Bare minimum is an 18 minute 5K (I’m currently 22 minutes) a 38minute 10K (no idea, never tried the distance) and a 1.25 half marathon (my PB is 1.33:37, I’m way off that now.)

I’m trying not to freak out about it. I got up this morning, hours before work, even though it was freezing and chucking it down, and pushed myself for 7 miles, before what I thought was going to be an 11 hour shift. I’m committing. And I’m going to be cycling through the training plan at least twice, even if I have to lower my expectations the first time through, or maybe just some of the way through the first round, I’m still training hard, and I’m still improving.

The huge positives to draw from it is my foot seems to be holding up. It still gets sore, but I’ve got full mobility. If the physio has fixed me, it’s just a matter of time and effort.

“Success is working out the price you have to pay and being willing to pay it.”

I’m not going to downgrade my times just yet. I’ll let my body set what it can do. Then I’ll have to work from there.

The other thing is my bike! Got it. It is, as advertised, brand new! Bargain.

I fitted the mudguards I had already bought, adjusted the seat, fitted flat pedals, just pop on my shiny new 33mm ultra grippy, low pressure, all-singing, all-dancing tyres. No.

The new bike has “tubeless ready” wheels. Like a car tyre, you can run it without inner tubes. Apparently to achieve this they make the wall of the wheel really tall so the tyre can make an airtight seal. I’ve never come across it before. I spent literally hours trying to get one tyre on. I managed, after an evening and the following morning, to get one side of one tyre on. I admitted defeat. There is no point, even if I could get the other side on, to fitting a tyre I couldn’t possibly get off again if I got a puncture. It took me hours to get it off again. I was actually thinking I might have to cut it off. The original, brand new tyre, which had seemed really awful to take off, was a doddle to put back on in comparison. I’ll see how they fare, if they’re not up to snuff I’ll hit the forums again. They said certain tyres work. Mine just didn’t.

I sold one of my pushbikes today (Sunday), so that was good. I think I’m going to have to list the other one on thrice damned eBay, as it’s XS, (extra small) I now realise. I’ll need a bigger audience to sell it.

I’m waiting until tomorrow to post this. I want to see how I get on with my first big challenge of my training plan. 12 miles at target marathon pace +10 – 20%.

I was only up to 8 miles on my own (I’ve only been back running 3½ weeks after 2 months off) and the plan had me do 9 miles general aerobic (8.30 m/m) a few days ago. Tomorrow is a third further and 20 seconds per mile faster. I really have no idea how it’s going to go. If I can hold the pace, I’m good for this plan. If not I may have to adjust. Fingers crossed.

I am trying not to freak out too much about how hard it is right now. It’s not even a full week into my training plan, it’s the start of January, so I’ve got time, and I’m 1½ stone overweight, so when I’ve lost a ninth of my weight I’m going to be faster anyway.

Talking of, Smashrun (run data storage app) says I’ve burned 5,000 calories running so far this year. I’ve cut out sweets and butter/ marg, and limited my food intake. I’ve lost a pound in a week. Wendy, who has strolled to the car, has lost 5lb! How is that fair? Grrrrrr.

OK, the thrilling reveal!

Not terrible. Thinking about it, I upped my miles by 50% from the end of last week. I wasn’t even sure I was good for the 12 miles, let alone keeping to the pace. The plan said the minimum pace I should get was 8.12 m/m, but I wanted to do 8.10 to give myself a tiny buffer. I managed on the way out, but then I turned around into the wind and it got so hard. I just couldn’t hold the pace for the last few miles, so I averaged 3 seconds per mile too slow.

But it wasn’t from lack of trying.

I could beat myself up over how far I’ve fallen, I did a half marathon (13.1 miles) 7 minutes faster than that, but I’m choosing to look on the positives. I’m just starting the training plan, I’m close enough to minimum pace that I can keep training and wait for my fitness to catch up, nearly 4 weeks and 114 miles of running and my foot is holding up, and (touch wood) no plague weakness!

A bit of Twitter to relieve the tedium of *another* boring running blog, then I’m out of here.