Last Saturday was the #extramile Ambassador Training Day (see past blog posts for more information) which saw me travel down to London to meet fellow marathon runners, gain expert advice from professional running coach Martin Yelling, and train on St Mary's University running track. Sounds great doesn't it... and it certainly was!
Friday after work I set off for London and proudly navigated my way across the city and the tube network to Teddington near Twickenham - this was the first time I had ever been in London on my own! I met two of the other #extramile ambassadors and we went for food - a meal where it was actually acceptable to talk non stop about running for once!
I awoke next morning to glorious sunny weather - I always seem to get sunshine when I visit London so hopefully that's a good omen for the marathon! We walked to St Mary's University and I must admit I was feeling a little nervous about the forthcoming training session. I had not ran on a track since school, and one really bad experience of tripping and falling in the final of the 200m on sports day always haunts me! But my nerves soon eased as we met with the other ambassadors and with Martin Yelling and we began to talk marathon talk.
As a first time marathon runner it was great to hear tips about training, gain reassurance in what I had already been doing, and also get some specific London Marathon focussed advice. In the track session we focussed on pacing, which I have gradually begun to realise is not my strong point! We looked at our target marathon pace in order to reach our goal finish time and used this in an interval running session. We completed 3 sets of 3 minutes running at marathon pace, followed by 3 minutes running at threshold pace (90% effort). It was tough on my legs, especially as I am not used to running on a track (which, much to my delight with my troublesome calves, I was told at the start can really make this muscle group ache!)
The track session really made me realise that I had been neglecting to focus on interval/tempo/threshold running within my training so far - which may be why I appear to have lost so much speed over the past few weeks. So this was one of the biggest things I took away as well as a message which Martin gave us to the words of: 'training sessions should have a focus - but not all of them, don't forget to enjoy running still!'
To me this is really important - although training gives us focus, we must not forget why we are training, the joy of running! And after all my weeks of marathon training I fully intend to cross the finish line in April with a massive smile across my face.
Alice's Adventures In Running Land
Read about my adventures in running land...