I find the months after a marathon, the hardest in the whole marathon process. After my first marathon in 2014 I rushed back into hard training after a few days as I wanted to get even fitter off the back of my marathon training. This approach backfired on me and caused me to tear the ligaments in my ankle, leaving me unable to put any weight on my foot. The pain lasted for around four weeks stopping me from doing any kind of cross training to keep some base fitness. I lost most of the fitness that I had worked so hard to gain, which resulted in my resting HR increasing gradually over the weeks, to the highest level it had been for many months. This also left me unable to race through the summer months, like I had wanted had and unable to enter the races I had already paid for.
This time around I was very careful not to make the same mistake which maybe resulted in me taking things far too easy. I decided I would take a week off from any form of exercise, except from walking my boxer dog. I hoped this would aid my recovery and put me in a better place to start back running. My first run back was painful and very short but I enjoyed being back out on the trails. My main focus over the next three weeks was just to get out running as and when I felt like it. I started to run with friends as I had done most of my marathon training by myself, as I was being very specific in my training and wouldn’t be at all flexible with my training plan. There was no set plan and therefore the pace and miles were decided on the run depending on how I felt on that to particular day. I didn’t want any kind of structured training plan after spending the previous 18 week following one to the letter. I needed a break mentally and physically before starting back training hard.
I had no set goals for the next eight weeks and was finding it difficult to decide on what I wanted to achieve next. The only thing I knew was that I wanted to start enjoying my running and racing more over the next month or so. Not having a structured training plan gave me the perfect opportunity to race as often as I wanted and I hoped I would race myself back into shape. I was enjoying my running but couldn’t find the motivation to train hard and with racing more, I found it difficult to get a consistent block of good quality training in. I was finding I was so much more tired than when I was in my marathon training maybe I was still fatigued from running the marathon. I was still unable to decide on my future goals and found myself in a circle of not really knowing what to do in my training as I didn’t have a race to target leaving me unable to put together a structured training plan. I find having a structured training plan helps me massively with my motivation to training hard and gets me running at my best.
I won most of the local races that I entered but I knew that I wasn’t running well and wasn’t in race shape. The people on the outside of my training were just seeing a good result and presuming I was running well but this wasn’t the case. The people close to my training could see how hard I was finding it to get my running mojo back. I had reduced my weekly mileage down from 85+ miles every week down to a max of 70 miles but found I was always tired and grumpy. The marathon must have taken a lot more out of my body and it was finding it hard to recover from. This meant I had to steadily ease myself back into full training before I stared running any sessions. I wasn’t producing the times I had been able to achieve on the run up to Manchester Marathon running 2 minutes slower than my 5k and 10k PB’S. I had read about people running really well after a marathon but I was find it had totally the opposite effect on my performance.
My training most weeks was around 70 miles which included, a track session which I was putting much more effort in than I had done before, running twice a day 3 or 4 times a week which had become the core of my training which I think will make me much stronger in the future and a long run on the weekend. The long run at the weekend is the run I look forward to the most, but I had dropped the distance down from 20+ miles to sixteen miles to try and help my body recover fully. The only thing I wasn’t doing was any threshold running was is normally at the centre of my training. I just couldn’t motivate myself to run such a sustained effort.
There was a local 10k which was being held for Western Park Cancer Hospital, who had looked after my Mamma before she had passed away and have done some amazing work in helping my father in law go into remission. I was hoping to run really well and hoped it would help kick start my training. My wife also decided she would run in the event to raise money for the charity as it’s close to all our families’ hearts. I’m very proud of her for completing a tough hilly two lap course and raising £600 for the charity. I was really pleased to win in front of all my family. It helped to lift some of the weight of my shoulders and erase some of the disappointment I felt following the Manchester Marathon as I know my Mamma would have been watching and she would have been very proud.
I ran home after the race to have some time alone before a family BBQ to gather my thoughts and to have a good think. I thought a lot about my Mamma and how much I had achieved since starting run a couple of years ago, and where I wanted to take my running and how I would be able to achieve them. I have finally set my goals for the rest of the year which will hopefully lead to me lowering my PB’S over the 5k and 10k distances. It just leaves the training plan to sort out before the hard work starts towards Leeds Abby Dash.