It’s 12 weeks until the London Marathon. 12 weeks. Twelve. That’s very not many at all. Gah. Anyway, I’m now halfway through my training plan – I had a 24 week plan – so thought it was a good time to take stock of how far I’ve come
and scare myself silly about how far I’ve still got to go.
The first 12 weeks has been all about building a solid base; clocking up some long runs whilst also keeping some weekly speed work in there. And it’s gone well. I definitely feel fit. Not marathon fit yet of course, but half marathon fit without doubt. I was worried that I would lose speed during marathon training, but that’s proved not to be the case so far. Just before Christmas I hit a 5k PB of 23:44 at Linford Wood parkrun – ticking off my goal of a sub-24 parkrun in the process. Well, sort of. Annoyingly, I ran the course long and whilst I clocked 5k in 23:44, my course time was actually 24:01 so I’ve still got a score to settle there.
Regular track sessions have undoubtedly helped with my speed – having a session every fortnight where you run to near-vomiting speeds means you’re less likely to actually vom when you bust a gut during a race. Or something more science-y than that.
There have been a couple of races too – the Rockingham 10 miler which I wrote about here and the MK Winter Half. My half marathon PB going into this race was 1:58 so I was aiming for around 1:56 to give me a bit of confidence that my pace had improved since May, and I was chuffed to finish in 1:55:00. I still need to knock a couple more minutes off this to be on track for a sub-4 finish at London, which I’m hoping to do at the Cambridge Half in March but so far so good.
So yep, running is on track. Or it was. Until I got injured. Stupid legs – I swear I’d be a much better runner without them. I had assumed it was a shin issue, as is usually the case, but a trip to my trusty osteopath revealed that it was actually an issue with an outer calf muscle – the peroneus to be precise, which sounds far too much like a Harry Potter spell for me to take it seriously – likely caused by my overpronation. I’ve had some treatment and am tentatively back to running after 10 days off. I’m obviously paranoid that I’ve lost all fitness and won’t get round London, but deep down I know this isn’t the case. I may need to reassess my goals slightly and add a secondary goal time of sub 4.15, but this isn’t a decision I’ll be making just yet and I’ll attack the next 12 weeks of training with as much gusto as my legs will let me.
Getting injured made me realise how much I’ve been neglecting my recovery. Specifically stretching. Even more specifically, yoga. I used to go to hot yoga classes weekly, but was recently ashamed to realise I hadn’t been for SIX months, so I got my tight hamstrings into gear and booked myself in for a class. And ohmygod did my body thank me for it. My hips felt open again, my fingertips reacquainted themselves with my toes, and my calves stopped resembling lumps of wood. Not only that but the hot room and dynamic moves means that you get a good cardio workout, which went some way to ease my frustration about not running. I’ve made a promise to myself not to neglect yoga again – it genuinely makes a huge difference to the condition of my body and I doubt I’ll reach the start line of London without it.
If you’re local to Milton Keynes, Sweat Studios have really kindly offered 50% off your first class. Just head to their website here and follow the process to book a class, before entering the code ‘RUN’ at the checkout to receive your discount on your first PAYG class.