Two questions had to be addressed before I could really start marathon training…how do I stay injury free? And how do I build my mileage? Like anything, getting started is hard but before I can explain where I am now and answer those questions you need to know a little about me.
I’m a 30 year old (just!) running enthusiast with no previous evidence of natural ability nor genetic hand me downs. I used to joke about striving for mediocrity. Running began for me about 4 years ago with a charity 10K, an event I entered every year since.
I then grew fond of hiking in 2016. This took me around numerous mountains in the Lake District, Yorkshire and Scotland, I was hooked on the landscape and soon obsessed with the popular term peak bagging.
It was between these hikes that my 10K record dropped by almost 4 minutes down to 48:52. Training once a week got me thinking…what could I actually achieve with real effort…how far and how fast can I actually go?
My longest run tops out at half marathon and a slow time at that (around 2hrs 10 minutes.) But I have my eye on the long hauls in 2018 and want to start with my first trail marathon in 2017. I am drawn to the mountains and hills, but have struggled with injury at every incline.
From knee problems to a torn outer quad and IT Band issues, I felt limited to flat terrain, every time I ran the hills something went wrong. So, why do I keep getting injured while running? And how can I hike the hills without issue? The answer of course was poor, naive training.
Sooo, I made the conscious commitment to get help and fell fortunate living in Malton (a small market town near York.) Through a friend I met Jayson Cavill, a brilliant runner and excellent coach. If this guy could stay injury free while winning mountain Ultra’s why can’t I? So I made the call and started on my new, guided path.
The first meeting with Jayson stripped me bare and required an open mind. He answered question two, “how do I build my mileage” by showing how poorly I’d trained so far. I was told to hold back, stop running 8:20 min/miles once a week and start running three times a week, averaging no faster than 9:30 min/miles initially. The biggest change of all? Strength and conditioning, something I’d never considered, I now had four sessions a week.
Jayson spoke of establishing a base, a solid foundation we could build from. To do this I had to maintain consistent training without injury, I had to understand my perceived rate of exertion and spend an uncomfortable amount of time running ‘easy’. The S&C would build my strength, a weakness that led to previous injuries, the running itself would build my endurance and eventually, in later sessions speed.
Building A Foundation
With Jayson’s guidance, some reading and a lot of patience I pushed on. The first month was tough, niggles pissed me off and I constantly felt on edge. Frustrating seen as I’d reeled in the pace but the plan eventually settled. Its strange, I was running similar weekly mileage but felt a new level of fitness (due to training three time a week rather than once or twice.)
I will share a full training report shortly, taking you from October to January but for now I’m left with more questions than when we started.
How will I fair running extended distance on tough terrain? And how fast can I actually go? Its been four months since I went flat out for even a short distance. I don’t know what my new potential may be or even if I’ll stay injury free, but I can’t wait to find out.