The plan with 2016 was to have a relatively quiet January and then build up over 6 months to Endure 24. The only problem was that the number of marathons I have been doing is not making me any stronger or more able to cope with the distance better. In fact by April I think my immune system had taken such a battering that I had come down with a series of 3 or 4 bouts of flu or chest infections which hit my training in between marathons.
I wasn't injured but my endurance wasn't improving either. I felt I should be able to knock out a sub 5 hour marathon relatively easily, then have a light week to recover, do a couple of medium to long runs and then another marathon on a 2 to 3 week cycle. But that wasn't happening as I was getting ill just after a marathon and couldn't run at all. My times for the marathons I listed above were
5:06:26 Portsmouth - chatting on course with Jo Yarnall and Ruth Benzimra amongst others.
7:48:45 Punchbowl - very muddy, hilly, sometimes flooded 30 miles of trail
4:56:22 Marathon Day
5:46:46 Relativity Run three days after the Marathon Day run. Cold and windy at Westgate, Kent.
6:34:35 very muddy hilly trail for Book Day Challenge
5:07:51 Two days later and then it was Thames Meander
5:42:08 Wonderland Caucus run on a very windy Samphire Ho
5:37:51 Next day at Deal for a windy St George's Day marathon. My knees do not like this course.
5:30:18 Top Grun took most pf the allowed time to do this one - what a hot day!
6:42:10 Greg and Janet's Wedding run - one huge hill climbed 14 times on a punishing hot day.
Admittedly there are a few closely spaced marathons in that list, either back to back, or with one or two days in between, which is not a bad way to build up for Endure 24, but I was obviously missing something in training that meant I couldn't cope as I would have liked. Usually I would have been doing the running and then adding in some cycling to work for recovery, but the weather hadn't been great for most of the spring, with lots of named storms in the mix, so I hadn't been on the bike much at all. Added to that I hadn't been doing any other strength training.
After St George's Day's marathon I had about 6 weeks until Endure 24, with a 6 hour and 8 hour event planned as training before. I thought I needed to do something other than just run and, although it was probably too late to do much about it at this late stage, improve my strength and conditioning for the long term. I need the right kind of kick up the arse and as I can't do that by myself (I'm just not that flexible) I decided to enlist the help of a personal trainer. Luckily I know Jo Longmuir and some of the runners she has helped through Frimley Lodge parkrun. I have had a couple of sessions of assessment and strength/balance training. She is now my new best friend/worst enemy depending on how many variations of planks and bridges I have just done.
Having completed Endure 24 relatively unscathed - I managed a 24 minute parkrun at hilly Barrow less than a week after doing 60 miles at Endure - I can really see the point of the training. I just need to do more and possibly get some extra training from my daughter to improve my skipping!
Here's some pics from the year.
|Punchbowl Marathon, no medal, but plenty of free beans on toast!|
|With Fetch Monkey and Ron Burgandy on Marathon Day|
|Cardiac Hill - another 'oh dear' moment at Book day Challenge|
|The bling was pretty good though.|
|Relativity Run - another cold and windy winter's day in Kent.|
|Thames Meander spring marathon|
|Wonderland Caucus run bling. What we marathon runners will do |
for a bit of shiny metal!
|At work as a marshall at London marathon the day after my |
first back to back marathons
|More very cool bling together with my 'costume' for the day.|