Overdoing it

Since I cocked up last year's attempt to run the marathon by buggering up my leg, I was determined it wouldn't happen again.

The result?

A summer of physio, and a new cycling regime to keep the fitness up without the pressure on my ridiculously feeble knees.

Fitness-wise, it's going great – 22 mile round trip every work day has got me into fairly reasonable condition.

Unfortunately it's also introduced me to a previously unforeseen problem – carb depletion.

Sometimes I get absolutely drained with the running and cycling at the same time as I'm burning more energy than I'm getting in.

Common sense would suggest I kick the bike into touch, but such was my foresight into my own psyche that I deliberately closed other transport options so I wouldn't be able to skimp on the cycling because I couldn't be arsed one morning.

This seemed genius in the summer and autumn ('fall' for you crazy yanks) but when training for a spring marathon it's definitely got it's disadvantages.

After skirting around and being generally quite male about it (it'll sort itself out once I'm used to it) I've decided to take drastic action.

I'm eating more.

Yeah, I know it's hardly the most outside the box solution, but it's harder than it sounds.

I'd been relying on good sized portions of high 'good' carb meals in the evening to get me through the next day. But these and my breakfast tended to only get me through my morning commute and work and lunch then got me home.

So when I go for a run in the evening and eat afterwards, it was replacing lost carbs, as well as storing some, but not enough, for the next day. Over several days this would screw me over.

So I'm trying to adopt a new strategy.

Breakfast is a good bowl of porridge. Once I've cycled in I'm having a weird Lucozade recovery drink and three or four portions of fruit/veg (bananas, apples, carrots). Lunch is a sandwich with some protein and slow release carbs, then more fruit in the afternoon and a traditional runners carb meal in the evening.

Did this all last week and it's really helping – most noticeably when I missed evening meal on Weds and had to have a gel on Thurs morning to pick me up!

So a bit more discipline and this ridiculously lame body will start to behave so I can stick to the running as it climbs to the daft lengths of this period of training.

Blogging's hard

Last year, in my ultimately unsuccessful attempt to run the London Marathon, I managed to write oodles of posts of variable quality.

I'm somewhat behind this time.

Cycling to work means less time on public transport to write these missives, and more hectic work day means less time to post them – I don't have a dongle...

Last year blogging really helped me reflect on each run, and the overall progress I'd made – as well as get in contact with other like-minded e-marathoners.

I'm missing that a bit this year and I've no-one to blame but myself.

So, I'm gonna try to post something – probably of variable quality – after each run as it's getting to that strange time where it's only a couple of months to the start line in Greenwich Park and I need to stay focused if I'm gonna crack this marathon malarkey.

Muddled week

I've got this week off work so I've had a jiggle with my runs.

Today's normally a rest for me, but I had that yesterday and did my long one on Saturday - which was odd, but a nice change.

I did an 8 miler with 4 miles at race pace (3 easy, 4 hard, 1 easy) and I did it in my new Nike's.

I've had better runs.

Couldn't settle into a rhythm for the first 3 miles - don't know if it was the trainers, or just me being an idiot.

Also saw a dead hedgehog on the path that appeared to have been hollowed out.

The beast of Chertsey Bridge strikes again!

When I picked it up for miles 4-7 it started ok, but it was a bit more uncomfortable than usual.

I also made the strange error of pausing to yank up a slipping sock and ripped the bugger, which got me very wary of rubbing/blister issues.

Obviously all this training has given me killer biceps so I no longer know my own strength.

Or I need to wear less battered socks...

Anyway, the last mile was pretty good. Not only because I got to slow down, but I also found my 'training rhythm' - that comfortable pace where you feel like you could keep going forever.

I didn't though, as I really needed the loo - possibly more info than you needed, but I'm nothing if not honest!

So, a bit of a 'meh' effort, but the new trainers seem to work, and hopefully will help save my ridiculously lame knees!

That was the week that was

Another week over, another battle with my reluctant body won.

Sort of.

Last week was my first go at planning my training in a while, and it seemed to go ok.

I don't mind hill reps at all, so that was all good, though my knee complains like mad the next day.

I've also got back to the place where I can run solidly without my body persuading my brain to walk a short distance, which is a massive boost to the ego to keep me going.

I even managed my long run this afternoon after a morning of cleaning, gardening and making (not assembling, actually making!) a wooden arch for the front of the house (also impressed myself I didn't bleed at any point during the process).

I somehow managed this fuelled only by two slices of toast and honey - not something I want to repeat!

A potential issue to keep an eye on is the big toe on my right foot. It's absolutely killing me and clicks loudly (and painfully) when I walk. Its been going on for a week (since last Sunday's ego run) and is becoming tiresome.

It's not too much of a hindrance once I've got it strapped up inside my trainer, but there it is a constant background pain when I run.

Will keep it strapped up tight and ice it until it either gets better or falls off.

In the meantime, it's time to look at the week ahead.

Mon Rest
Tues 60 mins fartlek
Weds 75 mins steady
Thurs Recovery
Fri 60 mins w/ 4x1 mile @ threshold
Sat Rest
Sun 120 mins steady

The ones to note for me are the fartlek and threshold - both of which I tend to overcook as I have no idea how to pace myself. The steady ones are ok as I've now found a nice pace that I can rock and roll in.

I'll also try to eat better as, whilst I've been eating healthily, I think I need to up the intake as I felt pretty carb depleted a couple of times.

Will see if just eating larger portions helps, but if not I'll think about a five meal strategy during the week.

I forgot my fave side-effect of marathon training was being able to eat whatever I want, so why the hell shouldn't I enjoy it?

Alone once more...

After several weeks of putting up with me (longer than I expected), Sally has unceremoniously dumped me as the protege she was steering towards London Marathon glory.

Or, more accurately, until I can scrape together some cash for a Garmin so she can actually see how I'm doing to personalise my training programme, there's not much more she can do for me.

With payday still too far away, and xmas having blasted a massive hole in my bank account, I'm not entirely sure how long we'll be estranged.

But, the marathon waits for no man, so to keep the progress going, I've had a stab at planning my own training for the first time in ages.

This was my initial plan:

Mon Rest
Tues Rest
Weds Rest
Thurs Rest
Fri Rest
Sat Rest
Sun Rest

Now that looked good to me, but then realised I needed to try to think like Sally to get it right.

After overcoming longings for Yorkshire Tea, an obsession with Guinea Pigs and an urge to draw a map, I came up with this:

Mon Rest
Tues 12 x 1 min hill reps
Weds 60 mins steady
Thurs Recovery
Fri 60 mins w/ 4x1 mile @ threshold
Sat Rest
Sun 120 mins steady

Not bad for my first attempt without the stabilisers. It certainly looks more like a training plan - I just hope it's something that actually works.

First test is hills tonight - will let you know how it goes.