Strength training is getting Lorna though her marathon training this week. Well, strength training and nice lycra!
Goal: To finish better than last year!
Marathon history: One marathon under belt – London 2013. Finished in 4hrs 54 mins
What training has taught me this week: What I learnt this week. Must. Keep. Improving – that’s all that is going through my mind. That, and the fact I still haven’t lost the ability to get over emotional when training. The tears this week have been, well, dehydrating quite frankly.
Right at the very beginning of all this marathon talk (back in August 2012) I had no idea what I had to do in order to get me to the start, and ultimately across the finish line. All I knew is that I needed guidance, and that guidance would be in the gym. I knew I needed to get fit, I knew I needed to change my lifestyle but I had no idea how.
Now it’s the second time around, and I know how I got there previously, I know I can go the distance, but how do I improve? This is the million dollar question right now.
As mentioned last week I’ve made some changes since embarking on marathon number two – namely in how I get stronger – which boils down to a sparkly new strength training programme.
For marathon number one lifting weights improved my balance and shredded a fair amount of fat (I was not a healthy weight). The programme went hand in hand with increasing my mobility and keeping me injury free. I wasn’t in the slightest bit bothered about speed – I just wanted to be able to stay upright for however long my runs were going to be. Now I’m at marathon number two and I knew what I wanted to do – IMPROVE, and honestly I’m still learning HOW with just 12 weeks to go.
I know the key components that I have to keep in mind in order to improve. My diet is more or less on track, I know I can run, I’m getting sufficient rest (ish), so now I need to get faster and strength training is the way to do it. Why? Well:
Why I’m including strength training
1. I can see the results. I’ve shaved off at least 30seconds per km on my longer runs since marathon training has started again – I can only really put this down to keeping with my twice-a-week weights regime as I can honestly say I didn’t really run too much in the interim (apart from that wonderful Half Marathon PB in October!)
2. It’s keeping me lean. Lifting weights keeps the weight off me. While that isn’t the defining reason as to why I train it sure does help me overall
3. It keeps my training varied – I’m of the opinion that if you train the same you’ll race the same.
So I’ve mastered that I need to lift, and I need to be both clever and sensible about it. So I factor in professional help to this part of my marathon madness. I prefer to strength train with a trainer simply because they know what they are doing better than I do – I am absolutely clueless at knowing where to start, what muscles to work and how hard to work them. They know how far to push me to get the best results and they know what’s going to make me stronger in the specified time frame.
I’m currently working with two trainers for the London marathon – both with different areas of focus for me – one has put together a programme to make me more dynamic – it involves plyometric exercises (read – leaping like a crazy lady) as well as focusing on working all muscle groups with lighter weights and higher reps. This programme has been designed to ultimately build muscle which equates to more speed and power in my runs. My second weights session concentrates on building either my upper body or leg strength (we alternate each week) – it’s been put together to make me strong enough to last the distance. Our sets use heavier weights and lower reps to really challenge the target muscles. All in all it’s challenging, and I’m only two weeks in to training this way, so I’m excited to see where it leads!
Weekly training stats: 28km covered
Friday 10 Jan
A scheduled ‘active rest day’, which meant a core blasting, physically challenging Yang & Yin Yoga class at Good Vibes. My legs simply did not want to move before, during and especially after.
Saturday 11 Jan
18km. A slow, not so steady, absolutely frustrating 18km. I’m still recovering from being sick over Christmas, which is really having an impact on how long I can run for continuously. Although I ran the distance I had to walk a fair amount.
Sunday 12 Jan
Rest. I barely moved. I only got out of bed to support another runner as they dragged themselves across Blackheath. Once I bought them breakfast I was back to bed for the duration.
Monday 13 Jan
5k interval run, which somehow turned out to be at better than race pace. It was HARD WORK.
Lunchtime yoga at Goodvibes with Choi. This class is not to be taken lightly – Choi is demanding of you – she will make you stronger and she will fire up your core until you want to cry. She is amazing.
Evening home stretch using the Nike Training Club app – I completed Gabby Douglas’s Perfect Alignment Workout to give the core one last hit for the day and finished with Leah Kim’s Dynamic Yoga Workout.
Tuesday 14 Jan
Weight session with a personal trainer. This was a disaster for so many reasons. Too many to share right now. But It was attempted and completed. This session included jumping squats, glute work and a sprint session.
I had another NTC session this evening – Leah Kim’s yoga and had a date with my daring friend the foam roller.
Wednesday 15 Jan
5km run with Nike+ Run Club Holborn. This is my second week running with a group rather than on my own and I couldn’t be having a better time. I am convinced I am not a group runner – I tell myself I’ll be too slow, I won’t be able to go the distance, I’ll show myself up – So I decided to start the year and confront this demon. I’m so glad I did because this is a great group of people to run with. It’s led by three fantastic runners who are incredibly kind, supportive, encouraging and impressive in their own right. They are inclusive and simply make running what it should be – a challenging work out in a friendly environment. I’m hooked.
(This is a free running group for all abilities – if you want good company on a run I would recommend giving it a go – 6 for 6/15pm start at Runners Need in Holborn)
Thursday 16 Jan
Rest day, blessed rest day. I did absolutely nothing today. Nothing.
Lycra of the week
My Nike Running Cape. Its warm, it’s lightweight, it looks so so good. I’m in love. I tend to wear this to/from workouts or live in it on rest days but it is designed to run in and is fantastic if it’s extremely cold.