There are times when training for a marathon makes you question your life choices. Lying face down on a massage table in a small room with a stranger’s elbow rammed into places you’d usually slap someone for touching is definitely one of them.
I’ve got a confession to make. Since I lucked out and got one of the club ballot places at the Christmas party it’s possible that all my good intentions to be less lazy than in the first half of December had gone, as my mother would say, for a Burton. I didn’t think I had that much going on over Christmas but when it came to it I had a few weeks where there was a lot of stuff in the diary on usual running days, and everyone knows you can’t just run on a different day - that way madness lies. I’m sure there’s a rule.
In other words, I just stayed lazy. I was completely aware I was being lazy but was pretending it was really unavoidable with my terribly busy Christmas, until a man at Aberdeen parkrun started on at me about ‘just making sure you find the time don’t you know, it’s really not that hard’. At which point I accepted that actually I was quite happy letting myself have a lazy December and wasn’t going to take a politely worded slagging on Christmas Day stood standing on a freezing cold Aberdeen beachfront from a random parkrunner who didn’t even have the decency to be actually Scottish. The cheek of it.
So I decided I should probably get my act together before marathon training officially started in the New Year. I ran a nice little 7 miler down the Deeside Line on Boxing Day. I went to parkrun again and stuck with a pacer instead of just relaxing my way round (nothing to do with the pacer being my pal, of course) and whilst I’d known for a while I wasn’t going to be exactly racing the Serpies New Year’s Day 10k I decided to see if I could manage it in something like my hoped for marathon pace.
Most crucially, I’m sure you’ll agree, I bought new shoes and wrote my training plan out long hand in no less than 6 different coloured Frixion pens.
Actually this had seemed genuinely crucial as it turned out. On New Year’s Eve I sat down with the businesslike black Moleskine containing my plan because I thought I’d better schedule a dummy week’s training for the week before the first proper week, just to see if I could manage a full set of sessions. Alas, the tragedy of the type A brain; I was denied the special pleasure that only comes with using nice pens and paper to organise something...because I’d already done it!
I had a good laugh at myself for being such a little geek and faced the dawning of 2019 with renewed determination that I’d be fine getting going again. It’s ok to be a little bit lazy when you need to. It does you good.
Serpies went well. I was only 2 seconds off my PB and ran faster than marathon pace. In fact since my actual PB isn’t on Power of 10 (seriously Winter Run. You’re that expensive and you can’t even be bothered to be an accredited race?), this was a sort of PB reset and I was chuffed to bits.
The rest of last week also went well. I hit all of my other sessions without making them easier - a 4 mile shakeout, hills, a fast-ish parkrun and a training pace 10 miler.
Garmin tells me my total December mileage was just 39. I ran 25 miles in the last week, so its been just a teeny bit of a shock to the system.
Hence why I was in a physio office today being pummelled, stretched, and elbowed in the backside. I’ve decided to apply some lessons learned to this round of training and lesson number one is to get regular massages BEFORE anything goes wrong, just to ease out the kinks. Arek the mountain marathon man and ‘soft tissue specialist’ might just be my new favourite sadist.
Sorry, that’s lesson two. Lesson one is ‘always start a marathon plan with a rest day’.
Wish me luck!