Well, I’m not going to lie… There have definitely been moments recently where I’ve found myself regretting the decision to run the Virgin London Marathon this year. I’ll be doing it, no matter what but I’m just not enjoying the necessary long runs, mentally or physically. In the past the only time I’ve ever really tried to get some solid run training done was in preparation for my first middle distance triathlon and I promptly gave myself a stress fracture so the rest of my training consisted of once weekly speed sessions and the occasional tempo run, no more than 7 / 8 miles. Yet off the back of it I felt super strong and happy come race day. Don’t get me wrong, I was doing a lot of the stuff I love the most – swim / bike / strength training etc but still… Flip that all around to now where I’m religiously logging the miles, I’m running 3 x per week (bar one week in Stockholm and then last week when I hurt my back), and yet I feel slower and heavier than when I started.
Ok, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration but it’s definitely not getting any easier.
I ran 16 miles yesterday and I’m now walking like a cripple. Despite the company being stellar, I was feeling ‘urgh’ pretty much from mile 1 so the whole run was a complete mental battle to keep my physical being moving forwards, albeit at a rather slow pace. It was only when we finally stopped that I realised just how much pain I was in. Fast forward to today and my hip flexors are still in bits, picking either leg up is damn painful. First world problems I know but all of the above is not making for an enjoyable marathon training experience.
I have pretty much confirmed something that I already knew to be true, which is that I love triathlon way more than I will ever love running as a stand alone. It was the combination of those three sports that kept me super fit and most importantly, engaged and motivated. Running London will be an utterly incredible experience I’m sure, one which I’m really grateful for but as soon as it’s done I’m more motivated than ever to get back to multisport life (with a heavy focus on cycling of course!).
Back to the marathon though, with 5 weeks to go I know that I need to change things up a little so my mental strategy is getting a massive overhaul. I love the social aspect of marathon training and I’ve met some awesome new people along the way but I’m being my own worst enemy at the moment. Going into long runs anxious and expecting the worst, well duh… ask and you shall receive. I’m also (and this might be slightly controversial but I don’t care) going to try and lean down a touch. Just to clarify, I don’t think I’m overweight (at all), I’m happy and healthy etc etc but dropping a bag of sugar or so off my current frame will make 26.2 miles feel that much easier. To do this I’m going to add in a few fasted cardio sessions each week and I’m also going to look into carb cycling. Low carb had a great effect when filming last year but I was miserable and it didn’t last so I figure carb cycling is a much more measured and balanced approach to shedding a little body fat. So yeah, that’s where I’m at so far.
5 weeks to go…
(See other training updates here and my race recap here.)
Anyone had any experience with carb cycling? Have any helpful tips? Also, how’s marathon training going for you all?