Marathon

Well, once again Juneathon crashed and burned in a hailstorm of work. And with it the blogging, since I only set this up to fulfil the terms of that challenge. But now I have a new challenge, and a good reason to start recording my progress again. For my own benefit only probably, so I can look back and see how far I’ve come, but also for anyone who wants to come with me along the way.

The title of this post kind of gives away what the new challenge is. I will be turning 30 in the first quarter of 2011 and was recently challenged to come up with a list of things I wanted to achieve before that venerable age. A few that were suggested have previously been ticked off (live in another country, tick; do a skydive, tick; swim with dolphins, tick).  So the only things I could come up with to put on the list were: (1) go skiing, and (2) foolish though I know it is, secretly I have long harboured the ambition of running the London Marathon.  And in a fit of enthusiasm, last week I signed up for both.  I will be skiing with friends in February, and provided I don’t break my legs or neck on that trip, will be running the marathon in April on behalf of the official sponsors, Oxfam (a marvellous charity who have kindly allocated some of their guaranteed places to runners from my law firm).

One of the reasons I’ve never even considered the marathon before is that I have attempted half marathons on a number of occasions and always had to pull out beforehand or on the day because of injury. My body does not like lots of running. A little bit of running it adores, but run too often and it gives up the ghost – generally ITB issues make my knee cave in, but more often my calves get so horrifically knotted that it causes issues all over the place, however many brutal massages I endure.

But (touch wood) this nasty pattern has now been broken. I saw a physio a few months back who gave me two pieces of advice that have changed everything. The first was to wear arch supports in my running shoes. Easy, did that. Second was to make sure that for every week I ran, I did at least one spin class. Apparently because you push down with your heel you are stretching the calf muscles at the same time as working them hard, and this makes them longer and stronger. I must say it seems to be working because I’ve barely had a twinge since.

Because of the history of injury though, I’m adopting for this marathon a schedule which only has me running three days a week, with cross-training (including the all important spin class) on three other days. So the plan involves: (1) a mid-week tempo run, (2) a speed session on the treadmill, (3) the weekend long run, (4) a spin class, (5) a weights class or swimming, and (6) a pilates class. Hopefully this holistic approach will keep me injury free. I’m pleased to say so far so good – a week and a half in I have done more, and more frequent, running than I have done in a long time and yet everything still feels great. We’ll see how I go when I get up to the long 20 milers, but I’m optimistic that this isn’t necessarily an endeavour doomed to failure.

I’ll be updating this blog two or three times a week as the training progresses. Check back in to see how I’m doing, and feel free to share any pearls of wisdom or encouraging noises along the way!

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About westlondonplodder
Thirty-something London girl looking for the next big challenge

2 Responses to Marathon

  1. warriorwoman says:

    Hello again. I’m planning to cycle into work a couple of times a week for my xtrain. It would be a great bonus if that had the same effect as your spin classes and eased the pain of knotted calves.

    • I think it can do – although speaking for myself, I find it hard to go all out on a real bike for fear of being either run over or falling off, or both! Harder to fall off in the gym, and much less chance of going under a bus if I manage it!

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