For the first time I’m contemplating a week’s running with something akin to dread.
Next week is Week 1 of training for my first marathon. That’s a bit scary because right now I can’t imagine running 26.2 miles in one go. But that’s not what I’m dreading. The marathon is just a stepping stone to what I (think) I want to do next year- my first ultra. Right now I can’t imagine running 37 miles in one go. But neither is that causing me dread.
Next week I have a race every day.
None of the races are long- the mileage for the week isn’t particularly high and is less than I would ordinarily run- but it still feels like a lot of running. I guess there are two things really getting to me. Firstly, the Tour of MK is one of MMKAC events so there will be ‘proper’ runners there- people who train far more seriously than I do and I’m afraid of just being rubbish compared to them. They are also likely to be far more experienced competitors. Don’t get me wrong, there are some awesome runners in my club some of whom are very experienced and very fast, but the atmosphere at my club is one of friendship and support. We don’t do serious track training every week, we don’t really care about how we compare in results to other clubs; we just get together to run and chat and share our love of running.
Secondly, I know how I respond to race situations. I live off the adrenaline and nerves; they give me a bit of extra speed and focus, especially on occasions when I’ve not felt up for it. But going through that every day is something else. I’m not sure I can rely on adrenaline 7 days in a row, not am I sure that I can mentally or physically get through it all. Especially as I have to go to work, run a house and look after my kids as well.
Make your easy runs really easy and the hard runs hard.
Most of your training should be at easy pace.
Sensible people have told me to pick a couple of races to really go for and to just ease through the others perhaps using them as training runs. The snag with that is that I struggle to run easy when it’s an occasion. The now infamous Stowe ‘Ultra Half’ was supposed to be a bit of a jolly. It was fun but I very quickly found myself running it hard. Turned up at Beat the Barge with no intention of running fast but stormed through it. Even the Thursday club runs usually become tempo runs for me. On one level that’s good because by myself my tempo runs aren’t always as quick as they should be whereas on club runs I can rely on a couple of speedy guys to try to keep up with. But it could also be said that means I’m a very undisciplined runner who has issues with pace!
I know if I run hard every day next week that will be the worst start to my marathon training; it will take ages to recover and I won’t be able to build up the miles I need in my feet. But if I don’t try my best then I’ll be kicking myself because of missed opportunities and because I am representing my club and want to do my best for them.
Marathon training is in itself an unknown for me- I have no idea how my body and mind will respond to upping the mileage and time on my feet. I suppose it’s best to treat it as an adventure. Set out and just see what happens but it is hard not to place expectations on myself.
A lot has been happening and changing in my running and life in general recently- pretty much all good things- and I'm scared of messing things up. Even good change can be scary and exciting new adventures unsettling.
...watch this space...