The Training Blog…
I am a fan of To Do Lists, but only as long as they are achievable. If they overly extensive, or include the incredible or impossible, then all you are doing it setting yourself up for failure. This is a hard lesson I have learned over the years but am glad to have more of a mature perspective on the practice. Put on only tasks that are achievable, long, medium or short term, if you can do them in 5 minutes then just get them over and done with and you will succeed. My Berlin and Lucerne Marathon training plan is such a To Do list.
Beth, my coach, has been wonderful at putting together my plan and chasing up and advising about diet and stretching and all other preparation related things but like a To Do list, this all comes down to me and no one else.
- If I have other commitments and can’t make a run then what do I do?
- The answer is, leave it and continue the plan as written. If on a Thursday I am out on the town then I should not swap my 10K plus sprints for Park Run because the knock on effect would be that I am battered for my long, slow, distance run on Sunday. Similarly, if I do not make Sunday I should not then attempt a 3 hour 30K run instead of my 10K easy on Tuesday, as this will pretty much kill Thursday.
The plan is set up pretty simply for me. I do 10K on Tuesday and Thursday. If I am doing Tempo or Sprints I do this on the Primrose Track. If I am doing Hills then I head over to Highgate. If I have an easy run then it’s down over Primrose Hill, three laps of the track and once around the outer loop. Even an idiot like me can’t mess that up.
Park Run is Park Run which I only drop if I have a race the next day as Park Run is always at tempo, unless I am volunteering as the tail runner.
And the long easy runs on Sundays that started as 22 in week 1 and are going to be 29 this weekend are a simple, mind-numbing but expectation managing, three laps of the track easy, then a loop, repeat over and over again.
I am trying to keep to the plan as much as possible but it is tough. My old body has only spent the last 3 years running and despite the 32 medals last year, I didn’t over exert myself and didn’t train. This is proper training, for the first time in my life, and I am choosing to do so now??!?!? Even though I owned Salt-n-Pepas Hot Cool and Vicious I never learned to Push it, Push it real good when it comes to my running.
I try to do what I can. I have missed runs due to other commitments, but tiredness is my greatest enemy at the moment. From the first 4 week plan week 1 I completed in its entirety despite being in pieces after Liverpool RNR, Week 2 I was so beaten from Week 1 that I missed the Tuesday run and felt bad for it. Same thing for Week 3. Week 4 was a disaster as I had the British 10K at the end.
And so the second month started and Week 5 was a shit show too, including my first ever Maranoia fuelled DNF at Park Run the day before the Olympic Park race. But then again the following week (Week 6) I ran both 10Ks as planned, Park Run to tie off the worry and mental block caused by the previous week, and then smashed the long run on Sunday. And yesterday, starting Week 7 my Tempo was half the distance but fast for me and I feel in pain but satisfied I didn’t bottle it and go for an easy 10k run around the park as normal.
What I think I am trying to get at is that plans are rigid on paper. If you cannot follow it 100% it is not the end of the world. You are making progress regardless so do not beat yourself up over missing a run here or there. If you give up completely that is a different thing but I do not plan on doing that. There are weeks where I complete all four runs as planned and I already feel stronger, not faster, but certainly capable of plodding a lot farther at my normal pace. So keep to your plan as much as you can, but remember what Jeff Goldblum said in Jurassic Park, “Life finds a way,” and it does, of infiltrating the best laid plans of running mice and men but let it, because you only get one life, and you can just run another day.