Marathon Training Update: Weeks 1-6

I don’t know how it happened but somehow it’s already week six of my marathon training. It seems to have gone really quickly, but I guess that’s what happens when you’re just putting one foot in front of another and one run in front of another.

So I thought I’d write a little progress report, for myself as much as anyone else. I find it really useful to sit down and think about how training has gone and how I might need to change things.

In the beginning

It all began back in December after a period of being unwell on and off during the autumn. My milage wasn’t where I’d hoped it would be before starting official training, so it was a little bit disheartening to have to adjust week one of the plan I’d set out for myself. But adjust I did, because nothing good comes of being rigid.

The Christmas period meant my partner was off work a bit, so I could get out and run more easily. And with a Christmas Day and New Year’s Day parkrun, there were good opportunities to get some faster miles in than the buggy allows.

On Christmas Day we ran with the buggy, but then on the Saturday and New Year’s Day I was flying solo. And it certainly felt like I was flying. I ran 22:37 at Finsbury Park on the Saturday and then 22:22 at the flatter Highbury Fields on the Tuesday (NYD). These were a really big confidence boost.

Miles away

I went away to Portugal for a few days with my family and got a few runs in while I was there. I ran 8 miles with my partner, which was fun. We haven’t run together without the buggy or without me stopping to walk because I was pregnant in a long time so this was a great run.

I went out solo one morning and despite being sunny it was pretty chilly. And we went out together for a short interval session where it was nice to be the one running ahead again.

Upping the tempo

I discussed on Instagram the other day how I’m finding it hard to add marathon-paced miles to my plan because I don’t know what my marathon pace will be. As training continues I’ll get a clearer picture of what I might be capable but for now it’s all a bit unknown.

I know what my 5k and 10k paces are, so for now I’m working off those just as I would with a client. This gives me certain ways to do tempo runs to gain fitness benefits, but in terms of actually practicing holding a certain pace, I need to pick a goal. The half marathon I’m doing in February should give me a better idea though.

Covering old ground

And that brings us up to this past weekend. I ran the South of England Cross Country Championships at Parliament Hill. I actually ran 5 miles to get there to make it up to 10 miles for the day as a long run.

When I uploaded yesterday’s run to Strava, it flagged that I did the same race two years ago. And that this year’s was faster by 5 sec/mile. It’s difficult to compare cross country race performances as the weather conditions and amount of mud play a huge factor.

But considering I ran 5 miles to the start, ran the first half of the race conservatively (a woman complained that me and my friend Josie were chatting too much) and felt really strong on the hills, I’m pretty pleased with the result and it’s a big confidence boost to my marathon training.

The nuts and bolts of the past six weeks are below (weeks in reverse order). Next up are the Winter Run 10k on Sunday and the London Half Marathon the following week.