This seems like something interesting to write about, seeing as it’s the first week back into the office for many and for a handful it will no doubt be the turning of the tide for your health and fitness routines. However more specifically it will be the time when everyone who has been lucky enough to get one of the 80,000 places in the London marathon in April, decides that they have left it late enough and that there is no avoiding lacing up the trainers and starting the long slog to marathon fitness.
At 26.2 miles it is often viewed as the Everest of personal fitness for many, the challenge being making the tape at the end not so much pushing for a good time. However we each approach our training and our race differently. This is exactly what has to be done. The recipe is simple; the hard work you put in over the 12-13 weeks through January to the end of March will be what matters when you're jostling with the crowds on the busy London streets. Ideally, 30-40 mile a week is what you want to be building up to. This is best broken down into 3-4 sessions a week, one of your runs being longer and slower than the others. Aim for 3 x 7 mile runs and 1 x 12 mile, with a longer slower run on the weekend. If you're just starting out go for 3 x 4 mile runs and 1 x 8 mile on the weekend. The important bit is often getting out there and running, missed sessions will catch up with you on the day. The better you get the more important it is to pay attention to the pace at which you train. The biggest mistake people make is doing their quick runs (which are shorter) too slowly and they do their slow runs (which are longer) too quickly. A quick run is anywhere between 6-7:30 minute miles and a slow run is 9-12 minute miles. If you're training in between these don't worry, you're obviously fit and should be looking to increase the distance of your runs.
For me I have something slightly different to look forward to this April, 100 miles. Just seeing it written down makes me wince. So how do you train for an ultra marathon? What is an ultra marathon like? It’s tough. Both the training and the race, but tough also describes the people who take part. Honestly no one knows on the day if they will make it to the finish for sure, it doesn't take much for things to take a turn for the worse and bring your whole day (and a bit) crashing to a halt. I'm coming off the back of a 57 mile ultra, which I did this Dec 23rd, I can’t say I loved it but I love having done it. Whether it’s a marathon or an ultra, it’s simply all about the training.
I would never belittle what people have to go through when they do a marathon. We all stand on the start line, look up and see Everest. It’s just a question of whether you're prepared to be the person who smiles knowing that they have put in the hard work. Love it or hate it, we're all in this together so dust off the trainers and start punishing the pavement.