Marathon training officially started for me on Monday, that means I have 17 weeks until I attempt to run double my longest ever distance… Terrifying stuff!

I thought I would do a weekly update for a few reasons; firstly so that I can look back at the end of it all and see what went well and what I could do better next time (if there is a next time!) as well as get my thoughts, whether good or bad, organized and out of my head so I can start fresh and (hopefully) enthusiastic each week. I also think if all goes well, this could be a good resource for someone who is interested in doing a marathon and wants some information or guidance from a slow, not in the best shape, vegan, 29 year old. Maybe that person exists or maybe it will just be for me, either way, this series is happening.

I will be sharing updates on how the training week went, and also musings, resources and useful gear I find along the way.

Running background:

Over the last 4 years I have run 3 half marathons. I completed 12 week training plans for each, with the exception of the most recent (2 weeks ago) which I only managed 8 weeks training for. In between training plans I kept to running at least 2 days per week, from 2-4 miles, mostly to keep my dog happy, but also because I hate starting from scratch with running — it’s agonizing. So I have kept my basic fitness ticking over through the years but without much overall improvement. Each half marathon training plan has felt a bit easier, though my times haven’t improved. I chalk that up to having long breaks between plans, and also the fact that I don’t really ever do speed work.

Having just finished a half marathon training plan 2 weeks ago, I feel like my fitness level is in a good place to start the marathon plan. I hope I’m right!

This week:

I wish I could shout about how well my first week went and how perfectly I stuck to my plan, but sadly I managed to get through only 2.5 of my 4 runs. Monday went well, I got my miles done and then I got ill. I had a pretty brutal cold from Tuesday – Saturday so I struggled with the feeling that I should be out running, thinking “it’s just a cold, just do an extra easy one.”  I attempted an easy run on Wednesday but at .8 of a mile in I just couldn’t do it. I felt weak and had a pounding headache, so I walked the rest of the way home and gave myself time to recover. I was finally feeling better and had some energy today (Sunday) so I decided to try and get my long run done!

Long run – The plan’s week 1 long run is only 6 miles so it really wasn’t hard, especially since just coming off the half marathon. As usual I left a few hours later than intended, around 11am, so it was already in the 20’s outside. The heat didn’t bother me too much today but I did manage falling twice along the trail portion. The falls were mostly due to me getting distracted by dogs but I also think my new shoes are throwing me off a bit. Hopefully I will get more used to them over the next few weeks and feeling lucky that I came away with only a scraped elbow.

I should mention that overall I am not the type of person who likes to follow an exact plan. I can’t live my life that way, it will start to feel like a chore and my chores never get done. I am loosely following Hal Higdon’s Novice 1 plan, but with the main aim being that I wont miss any of the long runs, or the midweek semi long runs when they start showing up later in the plan. So 2 runs per week of set milage and the rest I will be working with whatever I can fit into my schedule.

So this week was technically a success.

The breakdown of plan vs reality;

                         Plan                  Reality

Monday:        Rest                   2.5 miles

Tuesday:       3 miles              Sick

Wednesday:  2 miles             0.8 miles

Thursday:      3 miles             Sick        

Friday:           Rest                   Rest

Saturday:       6 Miles             Cross train (long walk)

Sunday:         Cross train       6.3 miles


Looking forward to starting week 2 tomorrow!

Let me know if you are or have trained for a marathon, I would love to follow along or get some hand-me-down tips!