So, my initial marathon blog after introducing the idea of completing a marathon. The good news is, that I have been progressing nicely with my runs. A couple of 7k outings around Urmston, a 9k and this weekend I decided to venture for a 15k around the meadows.
My initial 7k runs were comfortable, still limited by the shoulder bouncing up and down. By the time it came around to the 9k, I was well underway with the shoulder strengthening work and was able to pick up the pace without any further shoulder issues….momentarily. I soon found that this was a bad idea and the lungs and legs became the limiting factor. I still thought I could set the pace that I was comfortable with from last year, 4min 30secs per km. One thing that became apparent with the increase in distance and pace was that I had not paid enough attention to my nutrition. I had eaten a small lunch approximately 4 hours prior to my run. I remember distinctly, feeling hungry and low on energy approximately 6k into the run, coinciding with the time I ran past a number of takeaways and restaurants in Urmston town centre. The temptation to stop and have a kebab was immense, but I soon realised I am an athlete in the making, and pushed on. I made a mental note that I had to improve my nutrition moving forward. Subsequently I have invested in protein supplements and I am eating the correct foods in preparation for my runs. I will do another post around nutrition at a later date.
On Sunday, I suggested to Allan that we go on a longer run, and he was happy to oblige based on the fact that he has got the half marathon coming up shortly. I demolished a lovely carbohydrate based breakfast a couple of hours before the run and I took on plenty of fluids. We set off at a fair pace and I was comfortable up until about the 9k mark (although I do remember thinking at the 6k mark, using expletives, that we were not yet half way), at which point I definitely started to feel the pace and then the distance increase. There was definitely a psychological barrier that I had to overcome, as I knew the route and roughly how long was left. The discomfort started with minor tightening of the right hip flexor and a slight bit in the right hamstring. Thankfully I was able to dig deep and push through the psychological barrier to the end! So why did I start to tighten all of a sudden?
It is likely to do with a sudden increase in workload, which can be explain in a previous blog post
. In the days prior to the run with Allan, I had been to the gym 4 times, focusing on strength training on 3 out of the 4 days. My younger brother was keen to join in with this, therefore I had to push myself that little bit further to show him who is boss! He also needed to train his aerobic fitness as the weather had affected his football training, so on one of the days we did a partner workout of 10,000m on the rower, which was not part of my initial training plan.
So, to summarise, I have increased the distance, but now it is time to let my body recover and complete a couple of shorter runs. I do not want to acutely overload my body or it will lead to injury. I will continue with my strength training, resuming tomorrow, as this is massively beneficial to running performance, as evidenced here.
I cannot emphasise enough how important strength training is to running performance and I encourage you to read the blog post!