Marathon Diary (1)

I’m still quite new to all this blogging stuff – I mean who reads it? What should I write about? Is it interesting? Why am I actually doing a blog?

The answer to the final question comes in two parts. The first part is because I love writing. I’ve never been a good talker; you will never find me in the middle of a group of people, spinning witty tales and holding everyone’s attention, cracking jokes etc. It’s just not me. I’ve always been the quiet one, ‘never show emotion, never lose your cool’ my brother used to say, I think he got that quote from the Cocktail film. Anyway, it wasn’t until recently that I realised how much I enjoy writing and how much easier I found the process of getting my thoughts down on paper rather than out of my mouth.

The second part of the answer is because I love running. If there is one topic I could write more about than anything else it’s running. I love running and everything about it. I’ve always got my head stuck in the current issue of Runner’s World or Athletics Weekly. It’s given me lots of joy over the years and after I decided to enter a marathon I thought that now would be the best opportunity to write a blog.

So primarily this blog was going to be about my experiences while training for my first marathon. Come on though, that would be far too boring and self-indulgent so I’ll be throwing in the odd story, bit of advice, race report, interview with a top athlete, maybe even a poem or two, in an attempt to keep anyone out there interested in what I have to say. 

However, today is the day when I go back to the original plan and have a quick update on… … … well, me! The self-indulgence had to rear its head at some point and this is marathonmorgan after all.

I ruptured a quadricep back in July and have been rehabilitating ever since. Not being able to run as much as you want to and waiting patiently for your body to repair and strengthen is simply awful. I know I’m stating the obvious to any runners that are reading this but I sometimes forget how frustrating recovering from injury can be. 

At present I’m not actually thinking about my marathon. I’ve set a number of smaller targets instead. I guess that’s what successful running is all about, setting goals and achieving them. You set a realistic target, plan out exactly how you are going to achieve it, execute the plan and bingo! Target achieved. After a period of ego massaging you set another, slightly tougher (but still realistic) target and start the process again.

I’m sure that all runners and coaches work to this theory, it’s not exactly complicated psychology but whether you are a novice or world record holder, the setting and achieving of short terms goals and the positive reinforcement that you receive along the way makes the long term plan that much easier and enjoyable. My first target was to run 4 miles comfortably, simple as that. I set a plan, built up my fitness gradually and on Thursday night I happily plodded around the streets of Wallsend for approximately 32 minutes, covering 4.1 miles according to my Garmin. Job done, now time for the next target…

At present I haven’t thought about the 2012 Edinburgh Marathon a great deal but I know that as I get fitter and stronger my targets will get more challenging with the final task being – Edinburgh Marathon, no slower than 2hrs 59mins 59seconds. Even at this early stage I’ve decided to refuse to comprehend that 3 hours exists, it’s my version of positive thinking.

One of the reasons behind doing a marathon was to experience a different kind of training. I’v had my fair share of the hard, fast intense sessions that have to be done in order to run a fast 5k or 10k. I fully intend to embrace other aspects of running that I may not have done previously. I plan to leisurely do a few Parkruns, something that I would never have considered in the past.

A typical Parkrun

I also intend to do some runs with the ‘development group’ at Wallsend Harriers, it’s not all about the elite runners. Who knows I may even do a cross country race or even fell race as I attempt to focus on enjoyment and endurance rather than intensity and speed. I’ve also started doing pilates and do a weights session once a week. It’s tough, it’s different but I’m starting to feel the benefits already.

I have also introduced a lot more stretching and flexibility exercises to my fledgling marathon training routine. Instead of coming home from work and sitting on my backside, I spend about half an hour most nights, mainly when the soaps are on, stretching and using my foam roller to get rid of any muscle tension I may have. On my run on Thursday I was full of energy and was having to hold myself back, I’m sure it was because I was moving more freely.  Yes, stating the obvious again but as stretching so frequently has never been a part of my training plan, I had to mention how great it’s making me feel.

So the countdown to the Edinburgh Marathon 2012 currently stands at 215 days. My first target has been hit and the next one set (it’s nothing more complicated than being able to run 6 miles comfortably at 8 min mile pace, with the emphasis being on comfortably). Overall I’m feeling pretty positive. Whether or not I’ll be feeling like this the day after a 20 odd mile training run (which will be an early 2012 target) remains to be seen but at the time of writing I’m happy and enjoying running.

Now where’s this month’s Runners World….

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3 responses to “Marathon Diary (1)

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