Marathon training week one – the Trump approach: unfit and slow

Manchester Marathon 2017 training blog week 1/20

My approach to starting a training block is the same as Donald Trump’s for the Presidency – to be wildly unfit for the task at hand. I’ve made no secret of the fact that my off season has been pretty unhealthy, indulging in continental beers and Ben and Jerry’s while I still can before the advent of full Brexit Britain. I feel that if you don’t schedule in time like this, then a continual full on approach to training can just wear you out physically and mentally, and that you need some time off.

It’s not that I wasn’t running at all during that time, but as soon as you start a training block again, with a structure to your week and a target for each session (whether that’s to run at a comfortable pace or to run a structured speed session) it really focuses the mind again. You go very quickly from thinking that you haven’t lost too much speed, to realising that there is a long, long way to go. You begin to get twitchy and compare every session to what you want to try and do at your goal event. You finish an easy run thinking that it was both too slow and not comfortable enough, and you finish a short hard run blowing but having run underneath your PB marathon pace. You compare every single session to how fit you were immediately before race day last year.

This is all alright though. I know I’m not starting from as far back as I was last year – then a couple weeks before I started I struggled to a low 39 minutes at a flat 10K, and this year I finished first man in 37:16 at a hilly 10K. Also I have faith in the process of the training block I’m about to start on. Last year it took me from the form that I was in, struggling to break 40 minutes in a 10K, to a 2:46 marathon runner, and this year I am confident that with the right preparation I’ll get to sub 2:45.

It’s a long road ahead, and winter running will be tough – whether it’s coping with horrible weather or anticipating it and overdressing – but I’m looking forward to building week on week and seeing the progress. But right now I feel very, very unfit.

Philip Goose

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