I can’t believe a month has passed since I ran The London Marathon.
If you read my previous post you would of seen that I set myself the challenge of running the London Marathon at the beginning of the year with the aim to achieve a sub 4 hour time while raising as much money for the Sick Children’s trust.
The day was hands down one of the most amazing experiences of my life to date. There is really nothing quite like the atmosphere on race day with both supporters and runners cheering each and every single person on. It is also probably the only time of the year that strangers will strike up a conversation on the tube. Whether your running or watching going to experience the day is a must!
I was really lucky to have plenty of supporters throughout the race which kept me going when the miles started to get to me, or my injury started to niggle (during my training I picked up shin splints in one leg and tendonitis in the other…not fun!). Seeing these faces in the crowd helped me push through.
The training was tough. 4 months of hard work, 5:30am runs in the dark and lots of long lonely miles. I can hand on my heart say that, apart from in the final week when I had to skip my last two short runs to rest my injury (this decision didn’t come lightly), throughout those 4 months I never missed one session or cut any miles short. However, all the hard work paid off in the end when I managed to raise £3,530 for charity and achieve a 3 hour 42 minute time.
I thought I would post my complete training plan for anyone who may want to run a sub 4 hour marathon, or just for people to see the type of training I did to achieve it. My training lasted 4 months including a tapering stage (the weeks leading up to the race when you bring your miles right down) and although this was my first marathon I was already at a good level of fitness.
As you can see I combined other forms of training into my plan all to help build not only my fitness but my endurance, strength and speed. I have given the lowdown below incase you weren’t sure about any of the lingo used.
INTERVALS: Interval/speed runs are so important and are often missed out. These runs are so beneficial in helping to bring up your average pace in those longer runs. The idea is to run as fast as you can for a certain length of time or distance, then bring the speed right down in your recovery and then repeat.
RECOVERY: These are slow runs which should be fitted into training the day after long runs and hard interval runs just to get your legs moving. These are to be just ran at a slow comfortable speed. I completely ignore my pace on my watch for these.
STRIDES: Strides are medium paced sprints lasting for 20-30 seconds or 60-100m as part of your normal paced run. Focus on pumping your arms and legs more quickly than your usual pace.
KOBOX: This is a high intensity boxing based class in London. The class combines heavy bag boxing routines with functional strength training. KOBOX is amazing for strength and conditioning and was a staple throughout my training. I went AT LEAST once or twice a week, apart from the one week I was away for work.
BARRY’S BOOTCAMP: This is a high-intensity class also based in London that combines 30 minutes of cardiovascular work on the treadmill with 30 minutes of strength training on the floor. I’ve been doing Barry’s for over 3 years and it really was where my love for running and fitness was born.
BARRY’S BOOTCAMP DF: Barry’s also offer a Double Floor (DF) option in their classes if you don’t fancy running and just want a full hour of strength. This worked for me while working as it allowed me to get in a strength session mid week if I didn’t have time to drive to my gym after work, or if I had done a run already that day.
WEIGHT TRAINING: My weight training sessions were mainly leg focused. I’d rotate between heavy compound exercises (squats, deadlifts etc) and single leg exercises. The single leg exercises are really important to build up your balance and strength as when you’re running you never have both legs on the ground. Obviously.
TRACK TRAINING: This is something I should of done more of. A bit like the interval runs, track training is so beneficial to help bring up your natural average pace. The idea is to run as fast as you can for a certain distance, bring the speed right down for a certain distance and then repeat, changing the distance in each round. Remember to time yourself and keep trying to beat your best time.
HEARTCORE: Heartcore is a studio in London which offer a few different types of classes. I do their Reformer Pilates class. Its really important to schedule in something like this or yoga to help stretch you out. Its again something I probably should of done more of. The reformer is amazing for your core strength and really targeting the smaller muscles that you wouldn’t normally use.
EVOLVE: Evolve is a circuit based class combining strength and cardio. This was just a class I did once in my training but thought I explain what it was incase you were wondering.
I wanted to say a massive thank you to everyone who sponsored me and supported me throughout my training and on the day itself. The London Marathon was hands down the hardest challenge I’ve ever set myself but one I’ll remember forever. It may have been my first, but it definitely wont be my last. Watch this space!