Marcus, Agata and Tuula are now in formal training for our November trail marathon.
Every day we will be running, and I intend to go for a programme of steadily increasing distance, hopefully at least +1km every day.
Wednesday was our first day of training and despite the 2 degrees climate we got out and about. Very gentle pace.
All About The Training
Marcus thought about what makes for good training. First we can set the scene that all of us can quite easily run a trail marathon, in awful conditions mud/rain/cold. The desire is not just to finish, but finish well, and finish using a fitness level so that if we had to perform the same activity the next day, or every day following, it should be no problem.
Here then are my training tips for those wanting to hone their technique
- Train with a friend.
Doing it solo is just soul destroying. Not for Marcus anyway
- Music is your friend too. Agata and Marcus will train together but we'll most likely be listening to music or a good book. Something exciting. Marcus' current favourite is Peter James.
- Every day
You can have an off or illness day, but you yourself will know if you excused yourself when you should instead have just gotten out there
- Temperature and Clothing
Wearing too many or too few clothes has a dramatic effect on performance. On my first run today despite the 2 degrees C I was sweltering. Tomorrow I will be better prepared.
Also, closer to the event you need to run in exactly your race clothes and carrying exactly race loads. Again this makes for a huge difference! If the rules say carry 1.5 litres of water and a waterproof, make sure representative training runs do so, with the race bottle and the race jacket.
- Shoes for
You need to run with shoes allowing for temperature (hot cold), conditions (wet, dry, muddy, torrential). No single running shoes will cover everything. I'd say a dry shoe, a waterproof wet shoe and a mud shoe. Practise running in all of these and select the shoe on the day.
For something as short as a 42.1km marathon I'd take the clothing and especially shoes and make sure they are good for the full distance via training without causing blisters. It's a paranoid step, but failing to make it because you have the wrong shoes (equipment failure) is just heartbreaking. Don't do it
- Check the Stats
Agata and Marcus use Garmin Connect, but you might use Strava. Whatever your watch is recording, sit down and actually look at the data. What was your pace, your min and max heart rates, how many minutes do you pause for when you eat and drink? Your metrics are there to see, check them!
You might indeed be a naturally talented runner. But even you will benefit from training and developing your technique to match the upcoming race.
Having a focus and a goal, in this case a specific Trail race to aim for is not just an isolated target in itself. In doing so you'll also eat and sleep more healthily to match your improved training plan. It might slide you into a healthier lifestyle that after an event you might think ... you know what, I like how I'm feeling now, maybe I should make this positive change and set it as my daily norm. Keep training and improving, because nothing is so rewarding as making real measured progress after a determined effort. Every runner and athlete will tell you that.