Running geek alert

Thought I would note down what I've learned from this marathon, given that I had 11 weeks training until race day.
It may seem elementary but I found these were useful and even revelatory points..and I am not wanting to seem an expert, it is just what worked for me.

1. Start from a good speed base. I was running faster from the start of my training than previously. I'm sure this was down to Park Run - fast speedy 5ks. They got me used to pushing myself harder than usual and probably adapted me physiologically (VO2 max?) even though I didn't do them every week. Looking forward to going back to them as I stopped them during training. I've only done about 7 or 8 but they really did make a difference.

2. Quality of miles over quantity. Three good sessions a week did me fine. The only way to get faster is to run faster.

3. Of those sessions, speedwork and the long run were most critical and I tried to put most into them/prioritise them over mediocre six milers which are pleasant but not very challenging.

4. Consistency of pace. I had a pace in mind for the marathon and pretty much stuck to it, bar the last 10k. If I could do it again, I would try to be more single-minded about holding my pace up to the finish line.
Good pace also needed to be applied to the long training runs, otherwise you are just grinding out the miles.

5. The importance of mental focus and concentration, particularly on race day. This tied in with being disciplined about pace. The two go together. Kind of wish I'd been more disciplined about this sooner! I had to tell myself "concentrate. Concentrate! etc.." Obvious really, but not that easy to do if you're easily distractible.

6. Carbo-loading. I ate carbs galore in all sorts of forms in the week leading up to the race. It really did seem to help me avoid 'the wall' as I'm not really into carrying and taking lots of gels. My body felt well-stocked with fuel as a result. I kept expecting to feel bad, that worse was around the corner. But it wasn't.

7. There are always going to be days when you feel better than others. Let them be! Getting through runs in grim weather made me feel tough and determined. Every run is different.

8. Scheduling a couple of races to boost motivation, help you run faster and ascertain pace realities.

9. Avoiding injuries by increasing the training load gradually and doing stretches after each run.

And finally, going swimming afterwards for recovery. Just little twenty minute swims with kids. Blissful!

PS. If I could I would join a club, even though I'm not a 'clubby' person. I ran with a club on a visit to Devon and it was a really good way to push myself.

I feel like my body has largely recovered from the marathon and have been for a little run which was fine. I wonder if that means I could have pushed myself harder. Maybe next time I will reach right into the bottom of the bag and see what I can come up with. That's my one issue - I need to have a little something in reserve/up my sleeve and find the thought of giving 100 per cent a bit intimidating ...
Thanks for reading


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