Marathon training 2017: Weeks 1-4
When I made up my mind to run a marathon I had 22 weeks to train. Today is the end of the first 4 weeks; here’s my progress report.
Firstly, I was concerned that I would not have enough time. I adapted the Hal Higdon Novice marathon training plan from distance to time in MAF method heart rate (HR) on weekdays. Since MAF is so gentle, I added in another session on Mondays. I’m still walking at MAF HR (which for me is 135-140bpm), so I kept the long run distance on Saturdays to train for the motion of running. I realise that my Saturday long runs will not be at MAF HR, but I feel psychologically I need to run to help me feel ready. I also added in 2 yoga sessions each week, Jivamukti Monday nights (strengthening) and restorative on Friday nights, which happens to be my rest day before Saturday long run – perfect!
Since putting my goal to run a marathon out there in my last blog post, I have been highly motivated to stick with my training plan. I feel accountable to you – in a good way.
Weeks 1 – 3 rocked! I completed every session I had planned, except one. At the end of week 3 my legs were feeling fatigued with the training volume, but I was not injured.
My first 2 Saturday runs were by feel – I wore my heart rate monitor but did not try to stay below MAF HR. I averaged 190 bpm, which is pretty high. Suffice to say, at the end of each run I was ready to stop.
One of my MAF buddies suggested I take the pace down and shuffle instead of run, still keeping the motion of running but going easier on the heart rate. So for my next Saturday run (7km,) I did just that and averaged 175bpm. I was very slow, only slightly faster than walking, but I felt a lot better – like I could have kept going.
After week 3 it was time to travel to China for work, and with the long hours and travel time I missed a few training sessions in week 4. In the picture: green = done, red = not done.
It was not ideal, and I needed to remind myself that life will not be perfect. What I needed that week was to rest and try to keep the stress level as low as possible. Considering that I’d had a great first 3 weeks and that every 4-5 weeks I should back off the training a little, I called week 4 a rest week. It triggered me to re-look at my schedule and make sure every 4-5 weeks I do fewer and/or shorter sessions to recover.
My Saturday run for week 4 (8km) was on the treadmill. I shuffled again and this time got my HR down to an average of 167bpm. The pace was a pace I could have walked at, but I was OK with it. Just like the previous shuffle, at the end I felt like I could have kept going.
For the rest of the day (yesterday) I took it very easy and rested as much as I could, as I had not slept well that whole week. This morning I cross-trained using the bike in the gym, followed by a 30 minute session of yoga. Today I also went sightseeing in Su Zhou, which worked out to about 19000 steps!
This week in China my nutrition has not been low carb. I eat what I am offered by my kind hosts – I don’t want to be rude. I’m really trying to not let this be a source of stress, just remind myself that it’s temporary and control what I can. I have certainly had a lesson in humility and letting go of perfection. It seems apt that I visited the Humble Administrator’s Gardens today 🙂
My work location this week is different to last week, with a much shorter travel distance, so I will have more time available to keep to my training plan. There’s the perfectionist in me again – but I don’t think it is completely unwarranted: if I want the results I have to do the work.
Finding the balance between discipline and flexibility is quite the conundrum – any advice you may have is welcome!
18 weeks to go…!