I spent a happy hour-or-so yesterday evening with a friend. It was great to catch up, not least because I haven't seen him since he and his wife adopted a couple of kids a few weeks back. How about that for a little earthquake into your life, eh? He seems to be having fun, which is the main thing, and he looked relaxed and happy. I'm also pleased to report that he has also found the time to take up baking.... and who doesn't love a bit of cake?
Great though it was to chat, the main reason we were meeting up was because Pete is a really keen runner and one of the big cheeses at my running club, and he was helping me put together a training programme for the marathon. Last time out, I just used a first-time marathon programme from the pack provided by our charity. I wasn't overly concerned with pace and was really only interested in putting on the right mileage and getting around both the training and the race in one piece. It worked.
This time around, although I won't be running with C, I'm still not overly concerned with pace -- I'm not trying for a sub-4 hour marathon, that's for damn sure - and I'm definitely still worried to make sure that I don't break myself in training. So why change? Well, partly to mix it up, but also because it feels different second time around: although I haven't been doing any super-long runs in the last few months, I ran a little over 11 miles on Sunday last week, and when training starts in January, I will have loads more training miles under my belt and a much stronger base to work from. Plus I know that I can do it this time. Don't underestimate the power of that.
Pete's worked out a programme for me that encompasses 5 runs a week:
- a club run on a Monday (5km - 5 miles, depending on how I feel)
- a gentle run of around 3-4 miles on a Wednesday
- a longer run on Thursday, starting at about 5 miles, but peaking at 10-12 miles
- parkrun on a Saturday (5km - at whatever pace I feel like doing on the day)
- a long run on Sunday. This starts at about 10 miles and steps up gradually to 22 miles; not increasing every week, and sometimes stepping back down again, but building up a strong base of distance endurance
All told, the 16 week programme totals something like 500 miles, and starts on 4th January.
Yes, it's a lot of work.... but how often do you get to be the guy who tells people that he's just popping out after work for an easy 10-miler, eh? Everyone loves that guy, right?
Come on... admit it: you're a bit jealous, aren't you?
I'm actually looking forward to it. Is that weird?