Are you planning on running a marathon? Me too! I’ve technically turned my 16 week training plan into an 18 week one, so I’ve already started two weeks ago. However, technically the plan I’m following starts today. How exciting!
Not only that, but in 15 weeks and 6 days time, I’ll have completed my first marathon. How scary is that!
Get the plan right!
You all know my mantra – if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Training success is all about the plan. It’s step 1 on your journey, and there is a wealth of great information out there on how to get started. I always recommend the Hal Higdon programs – they’re free, easy to follow and effective. I used this for my half marathon training earlier this year.
Another great starting point is fellrnr.com and their amazing marathon training plan guide – it compares a LOT of online, free plans and gives recommendations on which is right for you. It’s a wonderful resource for new and experienced runners!
Normally I spend a lot of time planning out my training and making a spreadsheet for races and training runs, colour coded and updated with training paces and comments as the weeks go on. This time, I’ve opted for something a little different – don’t get me wrong, I LOVE me a good spreadsheet, but I’ve been so busy in work recently that I haven’t had much time to focus on devising the perfect plan. I therefore opted for a ready-made plan using the NYRR Virtual Trainer program.
NYRR Virtual Trainer
NYRR Virtual Trainer is a personalized 16 week marathon training plan with an online system to track your progress. You start by adding your goals, your current race paces, your current mileage and ability – and the website will pop out a personalized plan for you. There are a few tiers of training plans, so you can choose between a conservative plan for your first marathon, right up to a more challenging plan if you’re trying to BQ (Boston Qualify). There’s an option for everyone!
You can see my mileage above, but the virtual plan online has much more data than what I’ve shown here – it gives expected paces, types of run (easy run, regular run, intervals etc), and it also recalculates targets based on the run data you input as the program progresses.
I’m interested to see how my projected finish time changes over the plan, this morning I was targeting 5 hours and 30 minutes, but I had a slow run tonight in the crazy humidity and it’s set my expected finish time back to almost 6 hours! The most important thing is finishing, though, so I’m going to keep following the given paces on the plan as this should be the best way to avoid injury.
110 days to go
I am very excited to for this plan! There is a small fee for access to the virtual trainer, but so far I think it’s great value for money for the wealth of metrics and personalized targets that the plan provides. I find it incredibly intimidating, especially as it’s more mileage than I currently do and I’ve had all these damn injuries to deal with. However, I feel like I’m ready for this, and ready to give it my all.
I can’t wait to share my progress! If you want to follow along, you’ll find me mostly on Instagram and Strava.
Guys, I haven’t posted in a while. I’m sorry! I’m switching jobs in work and have been working pretty long hours, so everything has taken a back seat for a while.
However, that’s all about to change – MARATHON TRAINING HAS OFFICIALLY STARTED! My First Marathon Ever is in 18 weeks, how scary is that?!?
There will be another post later this week to outline my training plan, nutrition plan and target goals for the marathon, but for now I wanted to check in and catch up on what on earth I’ve been doing with myself for the past few (several) weeks. I’ve not been blogging, but I’ve certainly still been working out. Here’s a quick recap of what’s been happening since I last blogged (in May. Shame!)
George Washington Bridge 10k – June 5th
The American Cancer Society George Washington Bridge 10k is one of my favorite races in the calendar. This is the 3rd year I’ve run it, I opted for the 10k this year but took it very easy as I was still struggling with my neverending stream of leg based woes. I really enjoyed this race, it starts with the crowd rushing down onto the lower level of the George Washington Bridge (which is obviously closed to traffic!), then you loop back and forth twice before making a wonderful downhill sprint to finish in Palisades Park. It’s such a fun, fast race. That downhill section… if only all races had one like it!
Finishing time: 1:09:01, pace 11:06min/mi
The only down side to this race is that the bridge really messes up your GPS. My watch thought I’d run 4.5 miles when I’d finished the 10k! Then, when I uploaded the data to Strava, their algorithm thought I’d run 6.6 miles. So on the plus side, all my Strava PBs were hit at this race (10k, 5k, 1 mile, 1k etc). However, it’s annoying because all those PBs aren’t real. They’re based on inaccurate data!
NYRR Queens 10k – June 18th
Oh dear. How do I describe the ordeal that was the NYRR Queens 10k? Let’s start by saying it was the slowest 10k I’ve ever run, it was incredibly hot and humid and entirely in the blazing sun, and every single step was an absolute struggle.
‘Running’ probably isn’t the right word for it, it was more like a slow shuffle for 100 yards, stop, walk, drink, cry, faint. Resume shuffle. Lather, rinse repeat. Cross the finish line like a boss, 12 minutes slower than your 10k PB.
I won’t describe this race in too many words, because I took this photo after 3 miles and it tells you all you need to know about this race:
I really, really had to work for this one. After every 100 meters I wanted to stop and walk, and I had to push myself to keep going. I stopped at every water station. I had TWO energy gels (for a 10k, I know!). My heart rate reached 190 which is higher than is theoretically possible for someone my age. Wow, worst race ever, huh?!?
Do you know what though? It was worth it! I was proud of myself for finishing this one because it was the first race where I genuinely didn’t think I’d make it across. I even got a shiny medal too!
Finishing time: 1:17:17 (seriously, it was that bad), pace 12:27min/mi
A weekend of races! NYRR Pride Run 5M and Achilles Hope & Possibility 4M, June 25th-26th
June saw the first time that I ran two races on consecutive days – I’ve run training runs back to back, of course, but not actual races. Now, I haven’t pushed for time since March so it was the same as doing a training run – but it’s definitely much more fun when you run in Central Park with several thousand other people!
Both days were hot and sunny, but not quite the blazing humid inferno of the previous week’s Queens 10k. Needless to say, these two were much more pleasant! Saturday’s race was the LGBT Pride Run 5M in Central Park, a fast 5 mile loop around the park starting on the east side, heading up over Harlem hill and then back down the west side. The race was so fun, the atmosphere was great – and any race which gives out rainbow ice lollies at the finish line is a winner in my book!
Finishing time: 0:58:44 , pace 11:45min/mi
The following day saw the Achilles Hope and Possibility 4M, again in Central park – although this time there was no Harlem Hill to contend with as the route cut through before we reached the top of the park. Bonus!!
This race was a little easier and I pushed a little harder than the previous day, but still didn’t give it my all – I am really concerned that I’ll injure myself again before the marathon, so my days of trying to hit PRs are over for the time being…
After the race, there were some fun activities including a photobooth where you created your own captions. You can see that I decided to stick to home truths – when you’ve got nobody to run with, don’t be sad about it, just own it instead!
Finishing time: 0:46:01 , pace 11:31min/mi
My legs still hate me
Yes, they definitely do. I’m still struggling with twinges and pains when I run – sometimes it’s my calves, sometimes my hips, IT band, hamstring, you name it. I’ve started going regularly to a PT who is helping me work through it, but it’s a slow process. I have lots of new exercises though that I’m doing daily to try and prevent any future injuries – hip strengthening, glute strengthening, stretches, and FOAM ROLL, FOAM ROLL, FOAM ROLL. Oh, and I almost forget – OH DEAR GOD THE FOAM ROLLING. It’s a big part of my life now.
I have a new dynamic warm up routine to complete before every run too, I’ll save that for a future post as I’d like to discuss it in more detail once I’ve tried it out for a few weeks. So watch this space!
Jon’s doing C25K!
I’ve saved the best for last – after a year of relentless nagging on my part, JON HAS GIVEN IN TO THE PEER PRESSURE. He’s started Couch to 5k! Jon has been my biggest supporter throughout this journey, but has been very resistant to the idea of running. Until now!
Jon finished Week 1 Day 1 and did a great job! He’s yet to start Week 1 Day 2, but we are also in the middle of a crazy humidity heat wave so I’ll forgive him for that. Next week though, I wont! We’re looking for a 5k to complete in a few months time so he’ll have a goal to work towards too.
I think I’m more excited about this than he is!
So that’s a quick recap on what’s been keeping me busy for the start of the summer. This weekend I’m traveling to upstate NY for the Boilermaker 15k race, and I am SUPER excited about it as it’s one of my top 12 races for 2016. However, I’ve heard it’s a tough course – and it’s looking like it’ll be a hot one this weekend. I’ll definitely earn my post race beers at this one!
Now that marathon training is officially underway, I’m definitely focusing on my eating, my workouts and my recovery! It’s time to get even more acquainted with the old foam roller, I’ll be seeing a lot of it in the next 18 weeks.
I’m going to be putting more time into the blog too, I started this blog not just as a running journal, but also as a place to objectively review all the bad diet advice you see online. I wanted to show that losing weight is basic science – calories in, calories out, nothing more (hence the name Lose It For Science!). I’ll definitely be putting more effort in over the next few months to add more articles and interesting stuff to go along with the running. Funnily enough, the blog gets more hits on my one non-running article (The Myth Of The Fat Burning Heart Rate Zone) than on any of the running stuff! Who would have guessed?
Guys, it’s nearly here, 18 weeks till D-Day. What am I letting myself in for?
This weekend saw the 13th annual More Shape Women’s Half Marathon in Central Park, and my first half marathon of 4 planned in 2016 as part of my NYC Marathon training. I was so excited to run this race, I’ve only completed one half marathon in the past and I walked over a third of it – so really, this was my first real attempt at a half marathon.
Beautiful skies and injured legs
The race took place entirely in Central Park, with 7000 women completing just over two loops of beautiful Central Park. It was a gorgeous day for running, too – not a cloud in the sky and high 40F / 10C temperatures. Perfect!
Guys, it’s nearly here! The More/Shape Women’s Half Marathon takes place this coming Sunday, and I’m on the last week of my training plan. I’m feeling nervous for the race, despite all my training I still don’t feel like I’ve done enough to run 13.1 miles.
Training for a half marathon: How did we get here?
This weekend brought my favourite 10k of the race calendar. The Scotland Run 10k takes place each spring in Central Park, and brings in huge crowds and a great atmosphere – and a great theme! I’ll take any excuse to celebrate my home country of Scotland, especially since I don’t get to visit as often as I’d like. I was wearing every piece of Scotland themed clothing I owned, and was really excited for this race.
This weekend saw the NYRR Spring Classic 10k in Central Park, bringing the first race of spring and my first 10k of the year. There really is something magic about running in Central Park, especially when the weather is fresh, the sky is blue and the energy among the runners is high. This run was extra special too, because my dad was visiting from Scotland for the weekend and he ran the race too!
It’s half marathon training update time! I have now completed 8 weeks of my training plan, and this week I’m making quite a few changes. First things first though, let’s talk about the past 2 weeks of training!
How about those long runs?
I’m now at the stage where my long runs are starting to get significantly longer than what I’ve been doing in the past – in the past 2 weeks I’ve done a 7 mile and an 8 mile run, both with very different outcomes.
7 miles of hell
My 7 mile run was in Palisades Park in New Jersey, a great place to run becuase it’s mainly shaded but still boasts great views of the NYC skyline and George Washington bridge. I used to run 3 or 4 miles on this route regularly in the summer, taking advantage of the rolling hills as good practice for Central Park runs.
Half marathon training update time! I’ve just reached the end of week 6, which means I’m half way through my training plan already! I have 6 weeks left before the More/Shape half marathon in Central Park, and I’ve hit the point where the long runs really start stacking up the miles. Time to really get serious about this!
You may have noticed that I haven’t been doing the weekly weight loss progress anymore, and that’s because I think a monthly update is a better frequency – it gives me more time to blog about other things that are a little bit more interesting! That being said, I’ve had a busy month so we’re overdue a progress check. Since I returned from vacation, I have been working on my half marathon training plan and trying to get up to speed for my epic year of racing (and my first marathon!)
A BIG marathon based update
So I talk a lot about running the NYC marathon. I’ve relentlessly plugged my marathon plans on the blog, I’ve bored my friends to death with my marathon ambitions, and I completed my 9+1 NYRR races last year to get guaranteed entry.
However, this month I’ve taken it one step further and claimed my place! My pocket is lighter to the tune of $220, and I have 9 months to train for what will be the biggest achievement to date in my running adventures.
I haven’t written a blog post in a few weeks, for a couple of reasons. I’ve been really busy with work, I’ve done some travelling and had a business trip to France which was much more stressful than I expected, and had some personal issues too. All in all, December was a split month for me, in some ways it was not the best month for me, but in other ways it was awesome. However, I did have some successes with running, so all was not lost! I completed two more races since my last post, bringing my 2015 total to 19.
Ted Corbitt 15k, 9th December
It had arrived, the big race. My longest distance of 2015. The race that marked the final cell of my excel-spreadsheet-training-plan. It was an unseasonably warm December morning, which meant a last minute change to my running clothes. Running in one short sleeve tee was a nice novelty for mid-December!