Training Week 12 - The Final Week, Lessons Learned and The Weekend Ahead.

The final week of training has come and gone. Like every week beforehand I failed to complete all my runs (not for the lack of trying mind).

But in a way I think that will be to my benefit. My knee is feeling a lot better and the one run I did do this week felt easy and straight forward. I can only hope that on Sunday my knee will survive the distance and the training I have done pays off.

Now my plan is completed I have an opportunity to reflect on the past 12 weeks.

In total I have run 1923 minutes (32.05 hours) and covered a distance of 287.73km (178.79 miles). It seems like a lot when it's written down.

If I am lucky enough to get a place in London next year though, this is what I would do differently:

1. Start training 6 months before.

This was a stupid mistake on my behalf. I am not unfit. Before Christmas I was cycling and still regularly attending Body Conditioning but it had been over 2 years since I had done any serious distance running. I had a plan though. A three month training plan that I could start in January and everything would be ok. The only bit I missed was the sentence at the top of the plan that said "You should be able to easily run 10k before starting this training plan". I was struggling with 2km.

Going from 0 to 50 minute runs in a week meant I was injured far to quickly and this affected my training for two weeks. But I am glad I had the sense to switch to the bike rather than give up so soon. Thankfully with the help of a sports massage and a helpful man in a shop I was back on track quickly.

2. Nutrition

As much as I try to eat healthily, I will be the first to admit that my diet isn't perfect. My metabolism is a nightmare and fluctuates a lot depending on the amount of exercise I do. I also have a bit of an annoying mentality of thinking I need to eat when I don't. I worry. "I'm doing a really long run tonight therefore I should probably eat loads beforehand".

I saw a quote that summed it up perfectly this week - "Exercise will not mask a bad diet". I wish I knew more about what to eat rather than eating lots of bread and pasta over the past 3 months. As those of you would have seen from my weekly updates, my weight has been up and down like a Yo-Yo and I wish I had managed it better and lost some weight. My shape has changed slightly but not as much as I hoped.

3. Go somewhere hotter to train

Ok, maybe in a perfect world where I could take a reasonable amount of time off work to do so, but training in the weather we have experienced for the past 3 months has been physically tough as well as mentally draining.

I don't think there is anything I could have done differently at the time though. Running more than 30 minutes on a treadmill is hard unless you have a film to watch or something to take your mind of the fact you are practically running on the spot. And I ran in full winter gear right up until last week.

4. Say no more

My social life was more hectic than I would ever have imagined at the start of the year and as a result it is fair to say it had more of an affect on my training that perhaps I admitted at the time. Despite trying to give up beer I haven't completely (although I am now limiting myself to a half when out and drinking soft drinks the rest of the time).

If I did it again I would say no to more things. Don't get me wrong, there is a lot of stuff I did say no to but I think if I had my time again I would say no to more to ensure I hit my training targets each week. And I would try harder to properly give up beer for at least two weeks beforehand.

There are things I have really enjoyed as well. I will continue to run home from work once a week (even when it gets cold again!). I will try and keep an exercise plan so I have something to aim for each week.

And then there are the things I am looking forward to afterwards. I cannot wait to get my hair cut and coloured on Thursday as I will no longer have to keep it tied back 90% of the time. I look forward to staying in bed on a Saturday rather than having to get up and go running. And I look forward to planning my weekends around what I want to do rather than a training schedule. Basically I am looking forward to having my weekends back!

Roll on the marathon!


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