This post was originally going to be an update of my marathon training during June, but this changed when the Edinburgh marathon, which I was set to run in September, got postponed to May 2021.
I completely understand why it has had to be postponed again and, although I’m a little disappointed that I won’t be running a marathon this year, I’m also slightly relieved.
Putting my body through the intense training needed to get a good marathon time doesn’t feel right during a pandemic. On top of this, with so much other stuff to think about and worry about, I don’t think I would have had the right frame of mind to fully commit to the marathon and get the sub-4 hour time I’m aiming for. Instead, I would rather focus on improving my fitness, staying healthy and getting stronger ready for when I can run marathons again.
So, while the marathon will no longer take place this year, I’m still keeping my training up and looking to make improvements with my general fitness.
During June I ran a total of 76 miles – the most miles I’ve done in one month since August last year. Although it is not a huge amount of mileage, I’m slowly increasing my miles to enable my body to adapt and to hopefully not get injured again.
Right now I’m running four to five days a week. I aim to do one long run a week, although I’ve not done this for the last couple of weeks, with shorter runs on the rest of the days. I’m adding in a few speed sessions but, until the marathon was postponed, my main goal was gradually increasing the miles. Now I’m mainly focusing on easy runs to stop myself from burning out, but I plan to start structuring more tempo and speed sessions to stop myself from getting bored. Along with my solo runs, I’m also doing running drills every few weeks with my PT. These are really helping me to focus on my technique, which is something I want to improve over the next six months.
Right now, without access to a gym, I’m really struggling to get proper strength training sessions done each week. Even in the gym I often find strength training boring, but now that I only have two 5kg dumbbells, which I’ve been using since March, and body weight exercises, I’m really struggling to keep motivated. As I don’t have access to heavy weights my ‘strength’ training is more conditioning, which I try to do two to three times a week – although some weeks I don’t do any.
If I have time after my runs I try to fit in a short yoga session. I’ve been doing a lot more yoga since March and have focused on poses that will help loosen my hips as they often get tight from running. All the yoga seems to be working as, since doing these poses regularly, I’ve really noticed an improvement with my mobility when I run.
During June I also managed to fit in a 14 mile hike. I love hiking and it was something I really missed during the lockdown, so being able to get out for a few hours and hike across the Norfolk countryside felt great. As well as this, during the week I’m regularly walking four to five miles a day, which is helping me to get in a little more exercise during the day.
Last weekend I also dusted off my golf clubs and went to the range to practice my golf swing. I used to play golf a few years ago but haven’t really touched my clubs in years. I find golf really relaxing and helps to clear my mind, plus it is a great way to spend more time outdoors, so it is something I’m hoping to get back into over the next few months.
Although my diet is never terrible, over the last few months I had gotten into the habit of cooking the same foods each week and my diet had gotten a little boring. Last week I bought Charlie Watson’s recipe book Cook, Eat, Run. This has helped motivate me to get more adventurous with my cooking again and I’m now making an effort to cook new foods for lunch and dinner each week. So far I’ve made two recipes from Cook, Eat, Run – the Mexican Bean Salad, which I had for lunch over three days last week, and Cheat’s Paella, which I’m having for lunch for a few days this week. I’ve found both recipes really easy to follow, the ingredients were easy to get and they have tasted really good.
With everything that has been going on and not being able to go to the gym, I’m really happy with how my training went during June. Right now, with no races coming up and living through a global pandemic, just making an effort to do some exercise and eat healthily feels like an achievement.