Tag Archives: marathon training

Second Marathon: Losing the Fear, Losing the Plot?

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Dundas Aqueduct, Bath

Oh the perils of running a second long-distance race. Has this happened to anyone else? The first time I do something I’ve not done before, e.g. running a marathon, I prepare like crazy. I’m so scared that I won’t be able to manage it that if anything I over do it. For example, I started training 8 months before the race, I ran 5-6 times a week almost without fail, I cried when I got so busy at work that I couldn’t run, I got my mile-per-minute time below 7:20/7:30 for short excursions and comfortably ran a half marathon at just under an 8-minute-mile clip.

Take two. Reykjavik Marathon 2016, and I’ve kind of been taking it easy. I’m not afraid I won’t finish. I’m hoping to better my time, but I’m not filled with the same kind of dread that really really motivates me. And so I have actually done LESS. Much much much less, and now I’m starting to panic!

This happened to me before when I did half marathon distances – I ran Royal Parks Half in 2009, scored an okay PB of 1hr 57 mins (not so bad for someone who did not think of themselves as a runner at all), and then completely ballsed up the Windsor Half the following year. The course is certainly more undulating at Windsor, and the day was pretty hot, but if I’m honest with myself I just didn’t train enough, because I’d done it before. I lost the fear.

It helps that I wasn’t starting from scratch this time around, and that I’d been running pretty consistently throughout the winter and spring. I’m about 4 kilos lighter and my feet have now fully recovered from lost toenail and blood blister hell. My core strength is better having taken up a package at 1Rebel (I ration my sessions to one per week, and that seems to sort me out). I’ve been trying to run more varied terrain – hills, trails, fun runs – and get lost whilst running. And I’ve flirted with the Maffetone method – sadly having to give up before the benefits could really pay off in order to switch gears for the pacier training the marathon requires of me.

Excuses, excuses. Enough! Begone! Now is the hard graft. Now is the getting up at 6am or earlier for the 5 miles before breakfast, which shouldn’t feel as hard as they currently do. Now’s the time to ramp up from my 14 miler down in Bath over the bank holiday to the steady and exhausting 16, 18, 22 mile weekends ahead. I’ve got about 11 weeks to finesse the raw material of my muscle memory and cardio conditioning. Perhaps the fear of not having trained enough will be sufficient motivation!

Has this happened to you? What do you do people to get through this idiotic barrier? How can I find the fear again?? Help!

(A few pics from the weekend below… amazing bank holiday weather!)

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From Dundas Aqueduct, Bath

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Top of Lansdown Hill, Bath

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Stretching on the steps at home afterwards

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Filed under Life, marathon, Running

1Rebel: pretentious but effective

Okay, I’m in love. It’s thrilling, it’s energetic and it’s killing my bank balance. It’s making me develop ABS and CALVES and BICEPS for the first time in my life. No it isn’t what you think… it’s 1Rebel.  

In case you’ve been living under a fitness rock (or perhaps you don’t live in London, which is totally acceptable), then you’ve probably heard of 1Rebel, notorious for being the most pretentious gym around with its oh-so-beautiful Lyrca-clad attendees, its smoothies named for the instructors, and its dark nightclub-esque interior. It’s got all that, sure, but the workouts truly deliver on the promises they makes.

So what makes 1Rebel so good?

– The instructors who steer a fine line between personal shaming and group motivation. This really works for me, but being singled out for burpee technique is not everybody’s favourite way to work out. Different instructors have different styles, and you will always see who is leading the session before you book.

The workouts: these are challenging, full stop. You’ll work with big weights, fast speeds and tough inclines. These routines will leave you so sweaty, but there will be muscles, promise.

– The changing rooms: shiny copper lockers, exposed piping, subway-tiled showers, heated benches, yum yum yum…

– The showers: enough that you rarely have to wait longer than a couple of minutes (at least at St Mary Axe). Occasionally they have problems with the hot water. Very occasionally. 

– The smoothies. Basically a meal-in-a-bottle for when you emerge pink-faced and pulsing with blood from the darkened training room of flashing lights.

– The darkness. I loathe white shiny gyms where it’s really hard to focus. Not 1Rebel. It’s like being in a nightclub in the 90s but the music is faster. (And it’s 7am).

1Rebel offer 3 types of class (and a few combinations of these three) – Reshape, which is HIIT strength/cardio class, Rumble, which is a boxing/cardio class, and Ride, which is spinning with weights. I’ve only tried Reshape as I don’t get on too well with spinning, and I’ve not found a good slot for the boxing yet.  

The catch: it’s probably the most expensive workout experience you’ll find. Yes the towels are included, yes the changing rooms are filled with lovely products (body and face moisturizer, toner, free kirby grips, hair straighteners and dryers etc.), but classes range from £14 to £20 depending on what package you buy.

And how does it fit with the marathon running? Well seeing as Reshape is intense cardio and weights it’s like doing a sprint/hills session and a strength session together. It is fantastic for kickstarting your fitness if you’ve had a few months off, or for topping up once a week or fortnight to complement your other runs. For example, after only four sessions in January, I went for a 4 miler intending to run a slow steady pace and ended up doing incredibly fast bursts of speed from lamp post to lamp post and sustained sprints up Clissold Park hill, running 7.30min/miles for the first time in months. My legs felt stronger, my heart and breathing were working in sync, and I had barely run since last September. 1Rebel paid off.

Verdict: 1Rebel isn’t for the frugal or the faint-hearted, but it’s addictive and the results far exceed expectations.

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Filed under London, Running