I think it’s safe to say that this month the wheels well and truly came off my marathon training. I had issues with nutrition, energy and ultimately injury as well as a brief flirtation with illness. It would be easy to feel really down and have concerns about what’s going to happen when I line up on that start line in Paris in less than 2 weeks, but then I remind myself that I know the challenge ahead, I know I can finish and I know it’s perfectly normal to arrive at the start line feeling nervous. Indeed, a good number of the runners will likely have suffered some kind of setback due to illness or injury. It’s the rare marathon training plan that ticks by without any problems, so the important thing is how you deal with them and recover. As Martin Yelling often points out, in order to finish a marathon, you have to reach the start line!
And so rather than dwelling on the negatives, I’m taking the positives from this past month: I understand why the issues happened and how to make adjustments to avoid similar problems again; I was able to continue training in the pool and on my bike, maintaining my fitness, making me feel much better about the cycling events I have coming up and making some improvements in my quest to learn the front crawl; and my injury has improved greatly so I’m confident it will be fine for the marathon (so long as I don’t do anything stupid!). Things could definitely be worse!
The month actually started out ok. Well, almost. I completed an 18 mile run, albeit under tricky circumstances, enjoyed my cadence drills in daylight after weeks of darkness and I nailed my Jantastic time target at Parkrun (I set it as 5k in 24:30 and ran 24:27. Near perfect!). Since then my muscle strain has resulted in lots of stretching, strength work and quality time in the saddle. I may have lost some consistency, but I know the cycling will have helped maintain my fitness and the extra rest should hopefully mean I feel fresher on race day. I’m simply going to take this as an extended taper and trust in the training already done and my previous experience of marathon running to see me to the finish.
Perhaps one of my biggest frustrations is in missing out on my 100% Jantastic record thanks to being unable to run in the final two weeks of the challenge (and yes, I played my joker). Having hoped to finish with a score of 100, I actually ended up with 86.9. I’m disappointed, but have to be pleased with my achievements throughout 10 of the 12 weeks the challenge lasted. Besides, there’s always next year! Right now, my priority is to make sure my muscle is properly healed ready for the marathon. It has already progressed hugely and I know I am close to being able to run again, but I’m not taking any chances. If I have to swim, cycle and cross train my way through what remains of my taper then I will do, but I WILL be running in Paris next month.
Yes, although my training in March has been less than ideal, remaining positive is still crucial in making sure I’m mentally prepared for 26.2 miles. And so I’m seeing the end of this month not as the end of one of my toughest months of training, but as the start of the next chapter: a new month, a new season and a new challenge in 5×50. April is set to bring with it lighter evenings, a return to running and, of course, that all-important marathon.
Paris, here I come…!
How was your March training?
What are your goals for the weeks ahead?