Marathon Training Week 2: run, bike, gym, run, gym, run … learning the hard way

By the end of the training I’m going to check if I’ve worn a rut in the road

So, second week of training done and dusted. That doesn’t sound much but it’s 10% of the duration of the programme – if only it were 10% of the total training effort required.

After the gym on Wednesday I woke to the usual sore Achilles tendons on Thursday morning – I don’t know if there is anything at the gym that irritates them as I don’t use the treadmill or do any calf raises. 

Despite that, there is modest progress. It feels like the exercise I’m doing is slowing full recovery a little but not causing more damage. It’s a frustrating injury – you go to bed with them feeling quite reasonable and wake after a good night’s rest only to find that they are worse, until they ease up again (if you’re lucky) once you get moving. Generally a good night’s rest improves illness or injury!

There must be a trade off between the benefits of carrying on with the exercise I can do, and the prolongation of the injury – but it feels that the balance is OK at the moment. So, for now, I’ll carry on with the reduced running and increased turbo trainer and gym sessions to compensate.

On Thursday there were weather warnings in place for high winds and rain. I waited until the wind dropped below 40mph and went out for my long slow run of the week – target 7 miles (11.26km).

It was a bit milder than I thought and I over-dressed, but I ran for a windy 8.35 miles (13.43km) at just outside 6 minute kilometres. That’s about 9:45 per mile – surprisingly, faster than last week’s long slow run (which was itself about a minute a mile too fast). Hmmm – must work on pace judgement.

Friday was the only day forecast to be dry for a week or more but, having run on Thursday, I was hobbling and couldn’t take advantage of that with another run – so it was back to the gym for an hour.

To be honest, I’m not sure why I went to the gym – even though I enjoyed it. It was the 5th straight day of exercise and I would have been better taking a rest day but I seem to have a foolish notion that a rest day is a day wasted. I keep running more than the target distances too, perhaps I have some subliminal idea that if I do more now, I can ‘bank’ the extra and withdraw it later when I have to miss a session.

Saturday was wet, but I went for a run. I didn’t resent ‘having’ to do it but it was certainly in the “I think I’ll go now and get it out of the way” category.

I know I should have taken a rest day but that would have meant running on Sunday which, in turn, would have pushed next week’s first run to Tuesday or Wednesday. The target distance was 4 miles but I ran 9.4km (5.85m) at close to 4 hour marathon pace. At least it was faster than the slow run on Thursday.

That’s it for the week. Unless Geraint Thomas phones to ask me out for a ride, or Mo Farrah suggests a friendly run, Sunday is a rest day.

So, all of two weeks into the training programme, what have I learnt so far?

  • I’m so pleased to have made a start
  • I quite like running, but not in high winds – at least with hills you can see why it’s hard
  • If it’s cold or wet, I like running better than cycling
  • Running is slow – it seems to take forever to get to the end of a long straight road 
  • My Achilles’ aren’t up to more than two or three runs a week
  • If turbo intervals will adequately replace a run, I’ll be OK for now
  • My muscles are generally OK – but the quads are starting to protest 
  • My cyclist’s puny upper body complains a little after the gym
  • My joints all seem to be bending in the right places but are creaking a bit
  • Cross-training in the gym is good
  • Rest days are more than just doing nothing – rest is an essential part of training
  • The Rotterdam Marathon in April feels like a proper challenge
  • I want to break 4 hours
  • I’m old enough to know better.
Week Run Cycle (Turbo if no ‘R’) Gym
1 16.1 m  (25.9km) 9.8 m  (15.8km)  2:00
2 18.55 m  (29.85km) 13.3 m  (21.5km) 2:00

‘Running’ totals
34.65 m (55.75km)
23.1m  (37.3km)


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s