First week of pre-training

Leaving aside the likelihood of injuries, there are two things about training for a marathon that I think are going to be really hard – finding the time to train, and finding the motivation.  When everyone else in the office is comfortably sitting having lunch, it is hard to convince yourself to go to the unheated shower room, strip off and get into running wear, then step out into the cold, windblown rain…

So this week was an exercise in starting the training going.  As I said last week, my target was to get three runs in.

The first was scheduled to be Tuesday.  But on Monday, a friend emailed me and asked if I fancied meeting him for lunch on Tuesday… and already my plans were in trouble.

However, on Wednesday I was working from home, and got myself out at lunchtime.  I chose a route that included the Wallacestone Brae, a hill that has defeated me every time I have tried it in the past.

To my delight, I got all the way to the top without stopping!  So I guess that is the bar raised a little; I won’t be allowing myself to stop there again.  Okay, it’s only a 250 foot hill, which is nothing compared to what I’ll be facing in the Heaven and Hell half marathon, but it’s something!

That afternoon, I travelled to Stevenage for work, and on the following day (Wednesday) I went for another run.  Now, this was meant to be a long, slow five mile run.  But when I got to Chells Way, it turned out that the road was now entirely blocked by a massive building site.  There was an unlit path round the site, but by the time I followed that I had lost all sense of direction, was unable to find Chells Way again and ended up doing a solid, albeit slow, seven miles.

A rest day on Friday was followed by an early rise on Saturday to do the Falkirk Parkrun.  This is a free-to-enter, timed, 5km run round Falkirk’s Callander Park.  The route shows off the beauty of this park to its best, and was clear even though recent storms had brought down several trees that were lying to the side of the path.

I ran the route with my son, Cameron, and we came home in the respectable time of 30:04 (I forgot to stop my GPS tracker at the finish of the race).  I want to take off my hat to the core team and all the volunteers involved in the Falkirk Parkrun, and indeed other parkruns – they are a great idea and certainly help me get out of bed on a Saturday morning.

As we walked back to the car, Cameron and I had to dash to avoid being soaked by a passing heavy rainshower.  That left me feeling distinctly in need of a stretch.  So when I got home I looked at the collection of bought-but-never-used fitness DVDs we have.  The one that caught my eye was the “New York City Ballet” workout.  If there’s anybody who knows about stretching, it’s a ballet dancer!

So, I started the disc going.  I just about kept going through the gentle warmup, and then the stretching section. The stretches were actually a pleasure to perform, even though my leg was stuck in the air while the dancers on screen had pulled it way over their heads and, as they lay on the ground, were touching the ground behind their ears with their toes.

But then came the abs work… and I realised just how appallingly unfit I have become.  I lasted about thirty seconds into the routine.  So, I am determined to try to do some of these abs exercises a few times a week as part of my cross-training.

All in all, then, a fairly successful week.  As my legs get more used to being worked, I think that my knees and achilles tendons are becoming more comfortable with the idea of running.  I think that it helps that I am trying to do more stretching to give them a chance.

It slightly worries me that I feel I have achieved something by once running three days within a week.  In my head I know that I need to do that and more every week for the next four months, but I think that I’m still blocking that out a little.

As a side note, I am thinking of signing up to the marathon’s official charity. Macmillan cancer care.  What do you think?  Is this a good idea to raise funds for a good cause, or is it silly to claim that I’m doing this for charity when I’m really doing it for me?

Summary – 16-22 Jan 2012

Number of runs Three
Links Wednesday – 3.60 miles (423 cal)
Thursday – 7.08 miles (833 cal)
Saturday – 3.11 miles (366 cal)
Total mileage this week 13.79
Calories burned this week 1622
Total mileage since start 20.95
Calories burned since start 2401
Sunday morning weight 11st 11lb

Next Week

Next week I hope to do:

  • a 3.5 mile run on Tuesday lunchtime
  • a 5 or 6 mile run in Stevenage on Thursday lunchtime, and
  • the Falkirk Parkrun (5km) on Saturday

Plus the warmup, stretching and abs parts of the NYCB workout at least three times through the week,