I always knew that taking on three marathons, having never done one in the past, was going to be a tremendous challenge – but I wasn’t prepared for my training to sabotage itself so dramatically.
It’s November. My work commitments are growing, but I’m still getting out there. Hitting the streets, running at 4.30am at times, to make sure I’m putting some distance in my legs. I’m happy enough with my progress. Things aren’t looking too bad.
December – work is taking over, but still, I’m running once or twice a week. Though things are getting a little more tough, and finding the time is becoming an increasing challenge, I’m still managing – and that’s enough to keep me smiling at this stage.
2016 begins. This is it. Let’s do this. Let’s absolutely nail this training. I’m back in business. I’ve ramped up my training. I’m doing 30k runs before work, which starts at 8am. I’m feeling better than ever about everything. I’m filled with optimism, and I’m getting to be confident that I can attack the Manchester Marathon and complete it in (about) 4 hours 15. My training has geared towards that kind of time, and I’m quietly confident that, actually, I’ll have enough in the tank to take a fair few minutes off that target time too…
End of January. I’m in real trouble. Something’s seriously not right. I feel like someone is squeezing my ankles in a vice-like grip every time I take a step while running. I try to ignore it… It doesn’t work. A trip to the doctor confirms my shin-splints fears, and that’s me out of action for the best part of a month.
Things aren’t looking great, are they?
Fast forward a month. A combination of rest, ice packs, sports massage and KT Tape has my shins feeling strong and ready to hit the roads again. I manage one run and – boom – I’m struck down by a horrendous sinus infection. Lifting my head off the pillow results in such pressure in my head that I’m not convinced my eyes aren’t going to pop out. Fun times. Another week down the pan, marathon training plan in tatters. Manchester is looking bleak.
So… Here we are. It’s the start of March, and in my eyes, there’s two ways to look at the situation I find myself in.
- Bemoan my bad luck. Cry about it. Pull out of the marathons as I’m basically doing it on a five-week preparation.
- Ignore all the bad luck I’ve had up to this point. Smile, work hard, and carry on regardless. See, it doesn’t matter how long Manchester Marathon takes me. I just have to rid myself of a target time, enjoy the day and make sure I get to the end. If that’s my only goal, and I don’t put too much pressure on myself, I’m confident I can do it.
We’ll go with option 2.
It was always going to be hard work to run my first, second and third marathons within a couple of months of each other. My preparation has, admittedly, left me incredibly worried about my ability to get to the end, but I’ll manage. The only way forward from here, in my eyes, is to not look at Manchester being a five-week plan away. I’ll ignore Belfast in the same way.
So now, I’m looking at a 13-week training plan until the Derry marathon. It just so happens that two of my long training runs will be actual marathons.
Get through those alive, register a time at each, smash it to pieces by the beginning of June.
Here goes nothing…