voulezvousI signed up to offer my marathon virginity to Paris four months ago with all the zeal of a turkey in springtime, safe in the knowledge that Christmas is a long, long way away.

When I started looking at training plans a few weeks back and found that I should have started yesterday, reality started to bite, but it was still comforting to know that the first few weeks of the plan would be pretty much in line with my regular mileage. No big change at that point, except that I was somehow officially training for a marathon, and could therefore legitimately sign tweets #marathontraining. OK, perhaps my running swagger ’round the park up-swagged a bit, and I started characterising other runners I saw as “potential marathon trainees” or “others”, but that’s all.

Time, however, has started to pass quickly. I am now nearly at the half way point in the training plan I adopted. The race itself is staring to loom larger on the horizon. It can no longer be ignored as something that is going to happen sometime, maybe. It is tangible.

So far, so good. I have kept pretty well to the plan. With business and family commitments, it was always going to be a guide rather than law. Since the start of the plan I have covered 162 miles versus the planned 169, plus I managed to get 37 miles in during the “whatever” weeks I had over a scheduled holiday. Although the runs haven’t always happened on the exact date specified by the plan, I have kept, as much as possible, my weekly mileage and long run mileage in line. This has often involved some jiggery-pokery. I had a 15 mile run planned for Wednesday last week, but found myself in Ireland on business with no spare time. I got back on Friday and managed to get the 15 miles in then, but in place of a 10 miler which I was unable to catch up. So, 10 miles down.

WeekPlanActual
2 Dec2525
9 Dec2627
16 Dec2324
23 Decwhatever21
30 Decwhatever16
6 Jan2626
13 Jan3435
20 Jan3525

At the start I was running all of my runs at an even pace, irrespective of distance. Now, I am paying more attention to my pace. I run one long run per week at about 9’30 pace, sometimes with a boost towards the end. This is about a minute slower than my half marathon race pace (on a good day). Technically, this is a slow run. I aim to finish each long run with the feeling that I could go further if I wanted to. I do one 3 miler each week at rocket pace, which is now about 8’10 for me. I don’t look at my Garmin at all on a fast run. I aim to be completely knackered at the finish. The remaining runs are done at a bit below half marathon race pace, somewhere around 8’45.

With very rare exceptions I am running on my own. The variety of pace has helped break up the routine, but more importantly, I am noticing improvements in my stamina. At least I was until getting hit with a cold this week.

Going forward, as the weekly mileage is scheduled to crank up another notch, I have business trips to US and Japan which leave no spare time for running. I will drop below the plan at these times, and I know it is not a good idea (neither is it practically possible) to try to recover the lost miles. In a double whammy, the Japan trip coincides with my planned final (20 mile) long run before taper time, so I am going to have to decide whether to try and delay the final long run to the week after I get back and reduce the taper time, or start the taper early. I don’t know which yet.

Health and fitness wise, touch wood, my body is holding up well. No signs of IT band strains or sore hamstrings. The only issue I have had so far is a nasty cold, which has been kicking around for a few days now. I have nursed it through two runs, with a noticeable drop in pace and stamina. I have taken a break over the last couple of days, but still hope make the mileage this week and be back to peak fitness next week.

I am not ready yet, but I am getting there. Paris, j’arrive!