Marathon Training – Day 1

Swanbourne Beach

I’m pretty sure that I’ve told ever single person I’ve met in the past two months that I’m running a marathon in June. Yet, until today, I hadn’t technically started training for the event. (I won’t call it a race as my stomach churns at the mention of the word.) I’ve been plodding along doing my usual 45-50km per week – a tempoish (5km) parkrun, a slowish long run, various 8-12km runs in between, and the odd, very odd, interval session. And it’s been nice, not following a training plan.

But now, sixteen weeks to M-Day (June 12), and it’s time to dust off (or open the app) containing my chosen training plan and get down to serious business. I’ve opted for a Training Peaks plan with a goal time of 4 hours (more about that in future posts). I used similar plans for two half marathons last year and the combination of speed work and long runs worked well. And I took six minutes off my half marathon time.

training plan day 1

My plan designates Mondays as rest days (assuming Sundays are long run days), so I’ve started my marathon training today by having a rest from running. After the WAMC Point Walter 16km Race yesterday – I’m ok with referring to events as races after the fact by the way – a rest day was in order.  A walk on Swanbourne beach to stretch out my calves, hamstrings and hip flexors, pretending not to see the naked man letting it all hang out as he walked towards me, was as active as I got today. It was very windy but I guess nudists don’t feel the sea chill like the rest of us, though parts of their anatomy must. It could have been worse I guess. He could have been running. Come to think of it, the naked rambler is probably the only person in Western Australia whom I haven’t managed to tell in passing that I’ve registered for Perth marathon. These things happen when you don’t make eye contact.


Muscle Amnesia

Come closer, I need to tell you something. I am going to whisper something in your ear. Are you close enough? Here it is…

I’m running!

I’m not whispering because it’s a secret, or because my physiotherapist told me not to run and I am defying orders. (Hi Akmal!) No, the injury to my Posterior Tibilialis Tendon responded really well to both Shock Wave Therapy and physio so that last week I was, after almost six weeks off the road, given permission to do some light jogging. My foot still hurt a bit, though not at the injury site, and Akmal was happy that this was to be expected as my foot adjusted to knew shoes, hopefully better running form and the strengthening exercises I have been doing. I iced after each run, and my foot felt great. So why the whisper? Why am I not shouting from the rooftops that I’m back!

My new shoes – New Balance W1040 – designed for over-pronators. Unfortunately the latest version is too ugly to be seen in – pink camouflage design.

The thing is, I am in no way back and it all feels sort of tentative. You’ve heard of muscle memory? Well my legs and back are suffering from muscle amnesia, despite staying active and doing all sorts of cross-training while off the road. My core is stronger than it has been in the past 12 months. My hips and ankles are stronger too. Yet, I remember why, when I first started, I found running hard. I ran 8 km this morning at nothing near my ‘usual’ pace and it was harder than running 21 km with hills two months ago. My stamina was never as good as it needed to be. Now it’s dreadful! Still, on the bright side, I am running again.

New Balance W1040
Told you! This is the latest version of the shoes I have started using. As my six-year-old son said: HORRIBLE!

Next weekend, I had planned to run the BSN Putrajaya Night Half Marathon, in the hope of bettering my time and placing from last year, my very first half marathon. I wrote about last year’s race here, and still get emotional when I think about it as it was by far the most pleasant race I have run. The pleasure was increased a thousand-fold by winning a prize. I have the t-shirt for 2013, I have the bib and timing chip, but I couldn’t even run a 10 km next weekend not to mention 21 km. I have very happy memories of last year though so they will now not be sullied by attempts to do better. Sigh.

My daughter thought it was hilarious to take photos of me at Physiotherapy, squatting on a vibrating Power Plate while gripping a large, inflated ball between my knees. This is the least unflattering of the bunch. Thankfully, I have not been asked to repeat this pose since.

There are 20 days to go before the 2XU Compression 15km Run. I only signed up for this race after I got injured, once I realised that I would be missing three events in September. I may or may not make it to the Start line. I am very concerned I may not make it to the Finish! Realistically, I don’t think I will be back on racing form – such as it was – until 2014.

In the meantime, I need to jog – excuse the pun – the memories of these darn leg muscles that feel like they’re filled with lead. And I need to keep doing strengthening exercises and cross-training. My muscle memory may be poor but the one in my brain isn’t going to forget this whole injury period in a hurry. And that’s why I’m whispering.