Another marathon completion means it is time for me to reflect on what lessons I have learned from this cycle of training. I made reflections about my training before my first London Marathon (here), prior to taking on the Manchester Marathon (here) and before the Berlin Marathon (here) last year. I find it is helpful to evaluate my training and it helps gives me an idea of how to adapt and prepare for my future training programmes. So after completing the London Marathon 2017, these four things have stood out to me:
1) Winter Training
After the joys of summer marathon training for the Berlin Marathon in 2016, I found the adjustment to winter training tough at first. It was cold, it was dark, and I was restricted as to where I could safely run in the evenings. Sometimes I just felt like diving under the duvet covers rather than pulling on my trainers and hitting the pavements. I did it though, and once I actually made it out the door I was fine, and eventually I grew to accept the winter elements. You cannot control British weather sadly, so my advice if training over winter for a Spring marathon is just to be prepared. Plan safe routes, buy a set of gloves, invest in some running jumpers and jackets; do whatever you feel will help you cope with the elements. When the clocks change in March also be prepared to joyously embrace lighter evenings and warmer weather even more than normal!
2) More Running Shoes
I am usually loyal to one pair of running shoes. I buy them, I love them and I wear them until after my target race, when I deem they are worn out. However this time, following my most demanding training programme yet and with very high mileage being logged, I knew my shoes were getting knackered before the marathon. About three weeks before race day I therefore purchased another pair of the same running trainer and started wearing them in. By the marathon the trainers felt like 'me' but importantly had much more cushioning and support still in them. So there you have it - an excuse to buy even more running trainers!
3) Training Buddy
Running friends are the best; anyone who is lucky to have a friend who also runs knows that. I really relished the fact that this time my running friend was also training for a marathon, which only fell six days before my race. This meant training wise we were very similar, hence becoming more like training buddies. We shared virtually all our long runs together, and whilst I know I am capable of going out and running 20 miles alone, doing it with a friend is undeniably more enjoyable. It was not just the physical running side of things either. Having someone who understands exactly what emotion you might be going through during Week 10 of training was beneficial too. If you do not have a running friend or training buddy, then I recommend seeking support from the online running community who can be just as understanding and encouraging.
4) Be Ready for Post Marathon Too
I am guilty of focusing all my energy on training and the marathon itself. After race day I am then suddenly lost. This is a great article I found which describes almost all of my emotions: Post Marathon Blues. I know I need to get ready for this post marathon comedown. After this marathon I tried to combat it by making myself an exercise plan which would help give me structure and purpose, but still not be as intense as marathon training was. I didn't however account for how long it would take my legs to recover from the marathon, and instead based my recovery on my previous marathon experiences. This threw a bit of a spanner into the works! So I guess you need to be ready to deal with post marathon emotions, but also be flexible in how you are going to manage them. It is definitely important to talk to other people too, as whilst it may seem almost silly to feel a bit down after such a massive achievement, it actually is a feeling which happens to a lot of people.
Alice's Adventures In Running Land
Read about my adventures in running land...