Planning, not doing

Image by Tung Pham (Creative Commons)

With less than four months to go until the big day, it’s fair to say my training is off to a slow start.

In my defence, I have been on holiday. We spent two and a half weeks in Argentina, on a really active break which saw me hiking, climbing, swimming, rafting… but not running.

I’ve become quite obsessive about my Fitbit, clocking up an average of 22,000 steps a day pounding the stunning countryside in Patagonia. On one day we did over 35,000 steps, which is about 14 miles – more than a half marathon. I’m trying to tell myself this is progress, but I’m probably not convincing anyone else.

Likewise, my nutrition strategy – lots of steak and red wine – has been sub-optimal.

If I’m going to make that 26.2 miles it’s time to take charge of the situation: it’s time to make a plan. As the old army adage goes, fail to plan and you plan to fail, right?

On the recommendation of a marathon-running friend, I’ve started reading Run Faster, Run Less. This advocates a strategy of running three times a week, combining one long run with two shorter ones aimed at improving speed. In truth this about all I can realistically fit around my job anyway, but it’s nice to have some confirmation that this is a workable plan.

So with that in mind on the plane home I sketched out targets for the months ahead, starting with getting my long runs up to 10 miles by year end, then working upwards from there by adding a couple of kilometres a week.

I’ve scheduled in long runs and target distances for all my weekends between now and April. I’m aiming to combine these with a weekly run home from work, and an hour’s interval training on my working from home day.

I popped this all in to a Google Calendar, colour coded by run type. I’m pretty proud of it. My other half is less impressed: “If I were you I’d put more effort into the actual running”.

He might have a point. I slipped on my trainers and went for my first post-holiday jog. 6.78km, around where we live. It was hard. All that steak and Malbec, lovely though it was, has taken its toll.

I may need more than a plan. I need to up my game.

Photo credit: Tung Pham

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