After the disappointment of dropping out of the Thames Meander Marathon last Saturday, my fifth marathon of the year, I have bounced back with a positive week!
My physio confirmed on Wednesday that my calf is fine, but I've torn the flexor digitorum longus in my right foot. Flexor what? I know. Basically it's the small muscle that connects your toes to your heel and then attaches halfway up your shin - hence why I thought it was a calf injury. I SHOULD be as good as new within 2-3 weeks, but having smashed the rehab already this week it already feels a million times better so I think I'll be good to go at the Taunton Marathon on April 3rd.
As I didn't finish the race last week, technically it is now Tom Runs Nine not Tom Runs Ten, which just doesn't sound right. Therefore, if you guys are happy my plan is to make Man v Horse the 10th event to complete my challenge. Okay so it's technically not a marathon (it is 23 miles) but I'm hoping you'll let it slide considering I'm racing against HORSES. Deal?
The good people at HIGH5 also sent through my latest delivery of supplements to support my training. I'm literally like a kid at Christmas when these deliveries turn up - Big thanks to them as it really does help me out given I'm still a student for another couple of months! I wrote a blog for them with my Top 5 tips for Marathon Race Day (worth reading if you are about to run your first marathon). You can read it here.
I tweeted last week about training paces and got plenty of reaction, so I thought I'd talk more about it seeing as there were no marathons this week. If you don't like running, the next few paragraphs are going to bore you!
The biggest problem I see on Garmin, Strava, Instagram etc is the paces at which people run. As a sports scientist (okay well technically not til May when I graduate) the only way you can make physiological gains and increase your Aerobic Capacity and VO2 is to overload one of the following:
You should not try and do two or more of these at once, that is when injuries or overtraining is likely to occur. But basically speaking (relative to your fitness levels) your hard interval/speed runs should BE FAST. Your long runs should be LONG. The frequency should be OFTEN.
All of these will feel uncomfortable but hey I'm sorry partner, you are trying to run a marathon - nobody said it was going to be easy did they? The biggest mistake is steady runs - I mean seriously they are a waste of time. They are too fast to allow for recovery and too slow to improve your speed.
Ultimately most people will miss their marathon PB targets because they cannot handle the pace on the day (myself included). You have to practice running at marathon pace or ideally faster than that (half marathon or 10k pace). Your essentials should be.
- Easy runs - These will make up the bulk of training. You should be able to easily hold a conversation. The aim of these runs is to finish them feeling better than when you started.
- Long runs - Get these bad boys in the bank ASAP. 20 miles should ideally be your minimum so you can build time on your feet and also gain confidence that you are capable of literally running for hours!
- Speedwork - This is where the PBs come from right here. It's gonna hurt and it won't be fun, but you gotta get those feet moving!
The harsh reality is that even with a taper and carb load, it is unrealistic to expect to run 26.2 miles at a pace you have never practiced or cannot easily sustain for 5 miles or so, especially the closer you get to the big day. Sorry if that is a bit harsh, but you have to get out of your comfort zone and your routine if you want to run faster marathons.
Why not try adding in 2-3 miles at faster than your marathon pace into some of your runs, and build slowly from there? Becoming a long distance runner takes months/years not days/weeks, so be patient and most of all enjoy it - we are marathon runners and we are flipping awesome! *high five*
Okay non-runners you can start reading again now!
I watched Spotlight at the cinema this week - it was incredible, and seeing as I'm back on the bike, I also got through another book - The Quality of Silence by Rosamund Lupton. If you like a bit of suspense it is well worth you reading.
Also, someone from CNN emailed me (yes that CNN) as they are producing a documentary on all different types of running events around the world. They are including Man v Horse within their programme, and apparently they saw that I'm running and came across my eating disorder story and have asked me to be part of it!. I have a Skype call with the producer on Thursday which should be interesting..
Coralie is running the Manchester Marathon in three weeks time, so she had her final long run this weekend and I planned a pretty brutal hilly route through Bealings in Suffolk. I was due to run with her but I bailed due to injury but got on the bike and acted as support vehicle - you know you've found the right girl for you when she wants to get up at 6.30am and run 20 miles for fun at on a Saturday morning!
As I am also running Manchester, we will be running the full 26.2 together and I am acting as her personal pacer/waterboy/gel carrier. It is also actually my birthday on that day, so I know what you're thinking - this guy is earning serious boyfriend points! I know right? I'm going to be dining out on that one for a while..
I am running ten marathons to raise money for Beat, the UK's leading eating disorder charity. You can follow me on Twitter here, on Instagram here, or on Facebook here. You can also sponsor me via my Justgiving page here. Thank you!