I now have a few more weeks of training under my belt and 13 weeks remaining before Edinburgh Marathon. As often happens, I reached a high point with things feeling really good and then a blip in the form of a very tight and tender hamstring. My physio helped ease it immediately, and a few days later I was hitting good splits for 800m track intervals, closely followed by a really good time over my 10km training route the following day. I felt incredibly upbeat and this feeling lasted for hours before my hamstring turned to stone. The planned “easy” 5km next day was anything but! It was hard, hard, hard. Every stride was a struggle and lifting my right leg to even mount a kerb was painful to the point where I was resisting lifting it and eventually felt like I was running with a wooden leg.

After a few days rest – including skipping my first training day of the plan – I was feeling much better and able to take on the longer runs yet again. It was probably good to get the warning relatively early in the plan. My recovery from the metatarsal injury had been a pretty smooth and I needed to be reminded that this is a long, hard plan and there are no prizes for breaking records in training runs when you are still 16 weeks from the starting line.

When I started parkrun last summer I used to marvel at some of the club runners heading off at the end and tagging on an even longer run. In order to both continue my parkrun experience and achieve my weekend training objectives, I have now started doing the same. I had expected this to be a bit of a challenge to complete the post-run registration and get moving again, but I have very quickly settled into a groove both physically and mentally.

Next week I will have the chance to test myself in a 10 mile race at Lasswade. I have taken part in this race a few times before, and this is a tricky course with a seemingly vertical climb after a few miles. Being “only” 10 miles will give me the chance to test out my marathon pace and provide a measure of the progress so far. This has the potential to provide a stark reminder of just how prepared I am at this stage, but it should still be a good component of the training.

The most important note to make is that I am genuinely enjoying my training. Only the very painful hamstring run previously mention was devoid of any enjoyment and I relish the challenges being presented on a steady and frequent basis. I am also seeing a steady improvement in stamina and my ability to stay on my feet for longer and longer. This week will mark a couple of major landmarks for me with my biggest running week and biggest weekend both being achieved. To meet the demands of the plan, these new highs will need to be short-lived, but it is reassuring to be in new running territory and still feel you are coping well.

 

I’m now exactly two weeks into my first marathon training plan and everything is going really well so far. The fragile foot seems to be getting stronger and stronger, the achilles is exhibiting nothing more than the expected slight tenderness, and most of all, I am enjoying myself.

I have been able to stick to the plan exactly so far. I enjoy the balance in activity and there has genuinely been no part where I would have rather been doing something else. That has to be good, eh? I was actually looking forward to each run. I had expected it would be hard to finish my demanding parkrun (Falkirk) and then head off for an adjunct run to meet my goal for that day. Surprisingly, this felt good during the “added-on” run and I was left feeling really fresh afterwards. The long runs on Sunday remain good fun with the chance to chat without worrying about the pace. I must confess that I have so far been very lucky with weather that sometimes got cold, but never (fingers crossed!) the windy conditions that I dread.

This week has also seen a welcome return to the track after an absence of more than 3 months. It felt really, really good to push the legs in a tempo run and as a result having that satisfied burning on chilled legs afterwards. I don’t yet have speed in my legs and am still a few kilos from my ideal race weight, but the objective was always to build a solid base, and so far, so good.

Edinburgh Marathon is 16 weeks today.