Tag Archive

For marathon training

Don’t sponsor me for running the London Marathon

It’s a month now until race day, so I thought it was about time I explain why I’m running for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust.

 

Category: Product #: Regular price:$ (Sale ends ) Available from: Condition: Good ! Order now!
Reviewed by on. Rating:

What I love most about running, is stopping running

I remember being around 12 years old and contemplating why I put myself forward for cross country running at school.

It wasn’t really a forté of mine. I was a decent sprinter, but not really competitive running over any distance longer than 200 metres. I tended to finish well and place OK in races, mainly through a sort of blind determinedness. I remember a conversation between my dad and my rugby coach about my ‘stamina’, a quality that I was aware even then as being more akin to stubbornness.

It wasn’t physical ability that kept me going so much as shere bloody-mindedness. A refusal to stop until I was meant to stop. Not because I didn’t really, really want to stop, but because stopping was *all* I wanted to do, when I was supposed to. So running faster was my only option to make that happen sooner.

So I asked myself why did I do it? And what I decided was that whilst running long distance was absolutely horrible, crossing the finish line felt amazing. I loved being able to stop running.

But crossing the finish line after a 100 or 200 metre dash just didn’t compare to long distance, even if in those cases I was more likely to be among the first to do so. The amount of pleasure derived from stopping running was in direct correlation with the distance run.

Fast forward 20 years (give or take), and I’m training for my first marathon. And not training to finish, I’m throwing my entire self; body, mind, and all free time my wife would rather I spend with her, at an attempt to run it in under three hours. Which isn’t inconceivable, I’ve managed a 1 hour 26 minute half marathon. With the right training, people on the internet have told me, I should be able to do it. Which sounds to me like a challenge I’m not about to pass up.

And all that training has, admittedly, made running easier. My heart rate’s steadily been decreasing and copes much better than it used to when under pressure.

There is irony in the fact that my running has strengthened my lungs, when I’m running to raise money to battle cystic fibrosis, a genetic disorder that cripples the lungs of its sufferers. I can run seven minute miles quite comfortably now, without really worrying about my breathing. What a lucky bastard hey?

Running has become slightly more enjoyable. I can stick an audiobook on my phone, focus on the story and do my best to ignore that I’m running. Or sometimes a run will feel good, I’ll find a hypnotic rhythm that doesn’t feel like I’m torturing myself.

But mostly, when you’re training day in, day out, running is still horrible. The early morning slogs when I haven’t had time enough to fuel brilliantly. The 10 or 15 mile ‘tempo runs’ where I’m supposed to be doing half the distance at a pace that’s pushing myself but my legs are still hurting from Sunday’s 20 miles. Just horrible.

There seems to be a myth perpetuating among non-runners that runners enjoy running. Well I can firmly say that in my case, that is absolutely untrue. My wife will often ask me “did you have fun?” when I return home from a run.

“No. It was dreadful. It is almost always dreadful.” This tends to get an understandably confused reaction, why would I do something that’s dreadful? But it’s the truth. Just because I spend hours a day out pounding the pavement, does not mean that I wouldn’t rather be in bed or on the sofa. Of course I would. But being in bed or on the sofa feels a lot better if I’ve been out for a run.

I only run more often, and further, and faster, because the more I run, the more I enjoy stopping running.

I’m running the London Marathon in April to raise money for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust. You can sponsor me here.

photo credit: Stop

Category: Product #: Regular price:$ (Sale ends ) Available from: Condition: Good ! Order now!
Reviewed by on. Rating:

London Marathon training: week three

This was the first week of the schedule that I felt myself again. Cough is still niggling but I wouldn’t say it’s affecting my running anymore. For most of the week I felt good. I did cut several runs short by a couple of kilometres, but only because I had to get to work. Need to work on my getting up earlier rather than my endurance!

Tuesday was the first speed work I’ve really enjoyed. 12km (was supposed to be 14) with 100 metre strides (this just means speeding up to a sprint over 100 metres). Thought I’d struggle but I found the strides a lot easier than longer but slower intervals. First time I’d used my TomTom Runner GPS watch to program repeats like that too and it worked a treat.
Wednesday I hammered out a half marathon, first time I’ve done that midweek. Did do it in the dark whilst sleeting, which didn’t make it a lot of fun. The kind of run that feels like an achievement in itself! Though again, it was supposed to be 23km.
Thursday I took my new Nike Free 5.0s for a spin on the treadmill for a short 8km after some strength work. Don’t expect to be wearing them much but wanted some semi flats for the Longleat 10k which is coming up soon. They’re comfortable, totally different sensation to my heavily structured and bouncy Brooks Ravenna 5s so will need to take them out a couple more times to get used to that.
Another reasonable distance on Friday, 16km, though dropped 2km from the 18 I was supposed to do. Saturday’s recovery 10km really felt like it helped me recover, had to resist the temptation to run it faster.
Then yesterday I ran the longest I’ve ever run, 30km. Not ludicrously longer than I’ve done before but it’s long enough now that it’s reassured me I can at least finish the marathon comfortably. It wasn’t quick, 4:46 per km pace, but that’s slightly faster than I’ve done my last few medium long runs, which have been shorter. And I felt really comfortable, didn’t push myself.
Only regret is I’ve finished the week having run 97km. If I’d got out the door a bit earlier on a couple of the days I had to cut short I’d have finished my first +100km week! Should see to that next week though.
I’m training for the London Marathon, running for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust. Sponsor me here.
Category: Product #: Regular price:$ (Sale ends ) Available from: Condition: Good ! Order now!
Reviewed by on. Rating: