Sunday, 10 May 2015

Marathon training - one week to go!

And so it begins, the final week before my first ever marathon. The event I have chosen as my first 26.2mile run is the Howgills 26 Trail Marathon, starting in Sedburgh, a small town in Cumbria. The Howgill fells lay between the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District - not easy terrain so I know I'm in for a challenge of not only distance but ground under foot. I'm hoping that running in the beautiful hills will distract me as the hours pass by.

The competitors race notes indicate the running is mostly on grassy tracks which is encouraging. Hopefully all my training runs on the boggy peat paths on Bleaklow and Kinder will pay off as my legs will be able to cope better with easier terrain.

The general question most people ask me is 'are you ready'. Well I am. I feel good going into this final week. I have practised carrying race kit in my bumbag, my fell shoes are new-ish so broken and still sporting good grips and my nutrition strategy also well practised. I have trained in some gorgeous weather, and some fowl harsh conditions so feel ready for whatever is thrown at me. I do hope the weather will be kind - overcast, gentle breeze and cool. But that's an uncontrollable thing so I am prepared for any eventuality.  My training has gone well despite a twisted ankle at the end of January, and I've been consistent with my strength training in the gym.

Another aspect of my training has been to study the route the marathon takes over, round, and along the hills. The majority of the ascent comes in the first 8-10km but I'm not fooled into thinking the remaining 30-odd km will be easy. What can appear 'flat' on a map simply because you contour around a hillside doesn't mean it is actually flat under foot. The good thing about training based in Glossop is that I've been able to mimic the race route during training runs.

Would I have done anything different with my training? That's a hard one to answer right now. I certainly wouldn't wish a twisted ankle on anyone 14 weeks out from a marathon. I had to employ some good positive mental training there, as well as good recovery strategies (thanks to Tim for all the massage and physio). I've based my training on hours in the hills rather than distance. So there's maybe a little concern that I haven't yet run the marathon distance. My longest run to date is the Edale Skyline about 11months ago. That run was 34.5km so just about 8km more to do next week. Recent training runs have had me out on my feet for 4hours, and I've had some decent days walking in the hills too - all good time on my feet.

So, wish me luck.....and if you fancy sponsoring me that'd be lovely. I'm raising funds for my local mountain rescue team, Glossop Mountain Rescue Team, who do amazing work - all voluntary - helping to rescue and save lives in the hills round where I live. Donations however small are all very much appreciated and can be made on my JustGiving page. Thank you!

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