The past couple of weeks I've been getting stuck in to marathon training. I'm aiming for Edinburgh marathon at the end of May and so far, everything is going well.
The general training plan goes something like this.
Monday - easy run, usually about the 4 - 5 mile distance
Tuesday - Track session at Saughton, usually 6mi worth of efforts plus the warm up and cool down, 8 miles total
Wednesday - easy recovery run, again about 4 or 5 miles
Thursday - Session at the Meadows with Edinburgh AC, this is a mixed session, sometimes 6 miles sometimes less but I always try and get the miles up to about 8 in total.
Friday - Rest day! How I look forward to these days!
Saturday - recently it's been a parkrun at Cramond. I try and get a mile warm up and then tend to also get a mile cool down, so total distance is again about 5 miles
Sunday - The long run. I've been working up the miles over the past couple of weeks, this weekend will be 16 miles on Sunday at approx 7min/mi pace.
The rest day tends to float around the week a bit, for example this week I had a day of meetings in the office and by the time I got home, I just wanted to crawl up in to a ball and sleep. So I did! That means Friday is now a training day.
Last Tuesday's session was a monster! In total, including our warm up and cool down, we covered almost 10.5 miles! 10.5 miles of track running, but it was a great session.
1 mile warm up followed by drills then:
4 x 200m efforts with 200m jog recovery and when we say jog, it really is a slow recovery (12min/mi) but keeping the legs moving.
2 x 400m efforts with 400m jog recovery
1 x 1000m efforts with 200m jog recovery
3 x 1 mi (5.41, 5.42, 5.40)
1 x 1000m efforts with 200m jog recovery
2 x 400m efforts but I forgot about the jog recovery and stood still, I think my brain was wasted by this point!
4 x 200m efforts to finish!
There was an option of doing 800m instead of 1000m but on the first one I was told to do the 1000m, on the second one, after the mile reps I asked if I could drop down to 800m. As a group we were told to see how we felt when we came around the track at the 800m marker at which point I decided to complete the 1000m. Once you've done 400m, what's another 200m to do the session completely. I would have kicked myself if I had gone home and not done the extra 200m for that rep. I'm not going to improve by taking the easier option!
Considering the previous Tuesday I had to withdraw from training due to high heart rate and just now feeling 100%. I was over the moon with the session. Weather wasn't too bad and the ice only started to form on the track towards the end of the session.
Sessions like this are really beneficial and I think everyone should do speed work at least once a week. If you can do the sessions with others then it is even better.
Why train with others?
Imagine it, it's cold, wet and windy. The rain is horizontal and the last thing you want to do is pull on your kit and head out for a run, let alone a run that could make you feel ill because you are pushing it so much. A run that is going to push you to your limits. Ask yourself this question, would you do the full session to the best of your abilities on your own? I would be very surprised if you answered that honestly with a "Yes!".
Go out with someone else or a larger group, whether it's friends or an organised club i.e. JogScotland or an Athletics club and I will guarantee you will give it that little bit extra when things start to get tough.
You can feed off each other, give each other that little bit more encouragement when you are tempted to stop. One more rep can make the difference!
If you can't get to an organised session then why not train with others virtually. This is why I originally designed this website - although I haven't had much interest to take it further. Jantastic is a great example of how you can train with others in a virtual environment. Team RunningBeside.me has a mixture of abilities, targets and goals. Some people just want to get out and run 3 times a week with a target long run of 3 miles, while others are training 6 days a week with a target long run of 20+ miles but the great thing is, we can all encourage each other to get out and train, no matter what.