Lessons learned training for the Marathon

Lessons learned training for the Marathon

As I enter the last week before the London Marathon, I’m in what is known as the tapering
stage. So now is the time to also reflect on the lessons I have learned plus some of the
negative things I have encountered.

1st lesson is to train for a marathon isn’t just about getting out there and running
every day
. It’s about learning to breathe correctly. It’s about understanding that to
be successful and in my case that means finishing, you have to have rest days.

2nd Lesson has been to listen to my body. What do I mean by that? Lets’ take the other
week, it was a Saturday, and the aim was for me to dun 20 miles but as I reached the
bottom of my road my lower back began to hurt, so instead of “sucking it up” I turned
around and went home and spent the next couple of hours stretching. The next day I went
out and ran my first ever 20 miles, in a pretty good time of 4 hours 19 minutes.

3rd lesson EAT what your body needs. Before I started to train for the marathon, I
followed a strict Keto diet as that suited my needs. However, as was pointed out a Keto
lifestyle would not allow me to run a Marathon as my body needs Carbs. So, I had to
change & now I start every day with a bowl of porridge and if I’m going on a long run then
I have a large bowl of overnight oats. What I have found interesting is on my rest days
around 11am I suddenly get ravenous. At first I tried to ignore it, but Becky pointed out
my body is only demanding what it needs and we reviewed my diet, again and added in
snacks (this was so against my instincts having been of one diet or another since I was

Positives that have come out of my training: While I only now weigh myself at the end
of each month since January, I’ve lost around 8lbs, I did think I would lose more. However,
it’s my body shape that has changed as I have lost inches and for the first time since my
teens, I seem to have gained a six pack & according to my wife my bum has disappeared.
According to the results of my last set of blood tests my blood sugars are down to 5.3 as
is my cholesterol and my blood pressure is now in the healthy region. So, while my BMI
is technically high, the doctors are really not worried.

Negatives that have come out of my training: In life we are told that for every positive
there is always a negative and this is true when it comes to training for a marathon. Let’s
face it running puts an incredible strain on your joints with up to the equivalent of 10 times
your body weight going through your knees and ankles.
Now for me I have been suffering from three problems. The first is a minorish problem
and that is knee discomfort, so I went on to Amazon and bought knee sleeves and while
I still get an occasional twinge, my knees are not a problem. The major issues have been
my back which has triggered IT Band issues, which initially presented as a stinging
sensation in my left quad. I spoke to my PT and we worked on a number of stretches
which helped but we know that it has been triggered by the back. Now being a “butch”
man, I been running through the pain, but with two weeks to go the last few days have
been really painful and will be seeing a physio on Friday 14th.

Tapering period: As I mentioned I’m now in the tapering period where fortunately you
are supposed to keep running to a minimum, but obviously you can’t suddenly stop so
I’ve been mixing it up. Everyday is a stretch day with at least two sessions. Nice gentle
walks, or around 90 minutes on a spin bike, or a swim or a gym session. My last physical
activity will be next Thursday (20th) followed by a massage on Friday (21st) total rest day
on Saturday and then on Sunday the 23rd I will be lining up on Blackheath Common
around 11:15 waiting to start my first and possibly last London Marathon.

Have I enjoyed the training? YES
Would I do it again? I’ll get back to you

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