The marathon transition

Triathlon to marathon is an interesting transition, the optimist in me hoped that 6 months of training for a half ironman would be the perfect cross training for a crack at a marathon PB, but I knew 5 weeks to shift my training and get prepared was going to be a challenge. Turns out the marathon transition is not easy!

York marathon is now a week away and I’m feeling moderately optimistic; I’ve managed to get 4┬ádecent long runs of around 30km each and got up to that distance relatively easily. I’ve also been really enjoying a 10km tempo run each week, it’s been nice to have the time without the distraction of 2 other sports to focus on running and getting some quality work in. For me the long run and the tempo run are the core of marathon training, the first builds that base endurance and gives you the confidence about time on feet while the second pushes you and tests you mentally and physically. I also do a speed session most weeks plus some easy miles of course, but those 2 runs are the ones I make sure get done properly and with focus.

The long tunnel of marathon long runs

Light at the end of the long tunnel of marathon training

The 2 things I’ve kept from my triathlon training is swimming and yoga. I’ve not been in the lake since my race but I have been trying to keep my lunch time session going once a week, I liked the feeling over the summer of having a bit more muscle which swimming gives you vs. last year when I just ran. Sure there is extra weight that comes with it but I think in those final miles having a bit more strength could make a difference. I did yoga during my triathlon training mainly for the stretching, but I’ve shifted it slightly now and use it also for strength. There is a great 45 minute YouTube video from Cara Gilman which not only provides running specific stretches it also gives you legs and core a workout.

Post tempo run face!

Post tempo run face!

A 5 week training plan doesn’t give much room for off weeks or injuries, every session counts and it’s pretty darn hard to catch up if you miss a long run. But with that pressure comes focus and I’ll be honest I struggle to push myself without it. I did a 16 week training plan for Taunton marathon last year and by week 7 I was already a bit bored and losing focus. 16 weeks feels like such a long time and I just don’t think I’m suited to that sort of training structure. I much prefer the shorter more focused plans, which if you have a decent base already I think work just as well. Although the test will of course be next Sunday!

Long run with a view

Long run with a view

My big goal for York marathon *whispers quietly* is sub 3.20 which feels a little frightening to write down. It means going 10 seconds a km quicker than last years race which doesn’t sound much but we all know that after 42km it’ll feel like a huge difference. To keep my progression going though that’s what’s required; my first road marathon last spring was 3.39, then 3.26 at York last year so 3.1x is perfect! Plus I have this grand aspiration of a good for age time for London Marathon where I need a sub 3.05 (which is frighteningly fast) so need to keep getting faster.

That is a long way off, for now all I can do is focus on the taper, eat well and stay healthy. If you’re running an autumn marathon too then good luck!

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