Diet, Marathon tips, Training

Marathon Training Diet

My approach to marathon training wasn’t just about running.  I approached it holistically and tried to make changes in all areas of my life, from how much sleep I was getting to what I was eating.

I worked out a diet plan with help from my personal trainer.  It required some quite significant changes but the results were amazing.

My previous diet was usually based around:

  • Breakfast – porridge or granola
  • Lunch – white bread and cheese sandwich
  • Evening meal – pasta, or beans on toast, or casserole
  • Snacks – cakes, yoghurts, chocolate bars, some fruit, lots of tea and coffee

I thought this diet was okay – maybe a bit too much sugar but nothing too hideous.

My new diet looked like this:

  • Breakfast – porridge or wholemeal bagels and honey, banana
  • Lunch – couscous and mackerel, chicken salad wraps
  • Evening meal – wholemeal pasta or chicken, rice and vegetables
  • Snacks – fruit, yoghurt, one cup of coffee a day and then fruit tea

The initial change was stupendous.  I had a couple of woozy days as my caffeine and sugar intake reduced, but after that I found I had much more stable energy to use for longer as I wasn’t peaking and troughing.  I also slept much better.  I was eating a lot so I didn’t feel like I was being cheated or starved, and I still ate out one night a week with wine if I wanted it.

My weight went up when I was marathon training but I wasn’t too worried about it – since the marathon finished 2kg has just fallen off.  In the week after the marathon I ate horrendously, but I’m getting back to a happy medium now.  Basing all meals around a mix of protein, carbs and veggies is a simple way to get what you need – and get to the right weight for you.   It’s surprising how much fuel you need when you’re training, and I think the number one top tip is don’t be hungry!

Advertisements
Standard
Diet, Marathon tips, Training

Marathon Training Tips

It’s been a long journey to my first marathon.  I trained for 6 months, following the Virgin London Marathon intermediate plan but adding much longer runs than they suggested each Sunday.

These are my top 5 training tips:

1) Use a plan and stick to it

At the start of each week, I wrote what I needed to do in my diary so there was no chance of me forgetting what I needed to do each day.  If there were some runs that didn’t quite fit (for example a long run on a day I knew I’d only be running to the gym and back) I swapped them around so that I still did all the days, not necessarily in right order.

The confidence of going into a marathon knowing you have trained as much as you possibly can is invaluable

2) Cross train

As well as running, I did spin classes, weight training, yoga and even some rock climbing.  6 days of running every week left me with ankle pain, so I turned some runs into spins to give my body chance to recover.  Cross training helps you to be strong all over – running is about your core and upper body strength as well as your legs.

3) Set a goal, and be realistic

For my first marathon, I said I’d be happy with any time under 5 hours.  I could translate this into a mile pace and relate that to my training.  As long as I was achieving that pace in my long runs, I knew I’d be okay.  If I’d set an unachievable goal I would have hated my training and started the marathon ready to fail.

4) Do high miles if you want to

Most marathon training plans only take you to about 18 miles.  Because I was so scared, I did a 22.2 mile run as my longest training run, about a month before.   I needed to do it build my confidence, so it was right for me.

5) Approach your training holistically

I didn’t just run for my marathon training.  I changed my whole diet, slept more and boozed less.  The 2 weeks before the marathon, I ate cleanly and had no booze at all.  Changing my diet has led to long term benefits, both the husband and I are sleeping better and have more energy.

Training for a marathon can give you good habits that carry on into your future life.  My training plan gave me focus and strength during a very tough year, and I loved the training as much (if not more) than the  marathon itself.

What are your top training tips?

Standard
Running, Training

Week 24 training

Last week was my final taper week leading up to the marathon on Sunday.  I’ll put a review of the race up on Thursday, but I finished in 4.57.54 – just inside my 5 hour target!

Here’s how my final week of training looked:

  • Monday: jog 20 – 10 minutes to the gym, 1 hour weights (legs), 10 minutes home
  • Tuesday: rest
  • Wednesday: run 55 minutes
  • Thursday: 20 minutes walking and 1 hour 15 yoga
  • Friday: jog 20 – 10 minutes to the gym, 1 hour weights (upper body), 10 minutes home
  • Saturday: rest
  • Sunday: the Yorkshire Marathon!

The only note I’d add about my training was with hindsight I would have taken it a bit easier on Thursday and Friday.  I had some upper body muscle soreness on Sunday, I don’t think it affected my running much but it wasn’t a great way to start!

This week I shall mostly be taking it easy and eating some bad food, before I reassess my goals and decide what to train for next 🙂

Standard
Attitude, Kit, Running, Training

The final furlong

York Marathon are being very good about emailing me EVERY day to remind me how many days there are left to go now…like I can forget!

In 3 days time, I should be coming towards the last few miles of my first ever marathon.  This week has been more tapering and little bits of mental nagging.  I mustn’t forget this…I must be careful to…I should do…

I’ve got my number and my pins ready to go, and I’ve got my outfit prepped as well.  Unless snowpocalypse arrives, I’ll be running in shorts, a compression t-shirt and an asthma UK vest sent by my charity of choice.  Ipod, sunglasses, baseball hat, Spibelt, garmin will then be added on top.  I’ll have some timings written on my arm too so if I fall below my 5 hour goal pace I’ll know and can recover.

The biggest thing I need to do now is sleep!  I need to get lots of rest because I’m pretty sure I won’t be sleeping the night before.  I also need to charge all of my gadgets and gizmos – nothing worse than a flat garmin when you set off on a run.

Have you got any pre-marathon rituals?  Is there anything I should remember or do?

Standard
Attitude, Positivity, Running, Training

Week 23 Training

I’m still not sure I’ve got my head round the whole ‘tapering’ thing, but week 23 was okay.   I’m struggling with tapering because it feels like a chance to relax, when my brain wants to carry on at fever pitch until the big day.

On Sunday night I thought ‘this time next week it will all be over’.  Looks like I’ll need a new goal after that.

Here’s how week 23 looked:

  • Monday: jog 20 – 10 minutes to the gym, 1 hour weights (legs), 10 minutes home
  • Tuesday: run 25 minutes
  • Wednesday: run 55 minutes
  • Thursday: walk 20 minutes, 10 minutes to yoga, 1 hour 45 minutes yoga, 10 minutes home
  • Friday: jog 20 – 10 minutes to the gym, 1 hour weights (shoulders), 10 minutes home
  • Saturday: 10 mile run
  • Sunday: rest

I swapped my rest day to Sunday because I had a lot to do.  The 10 mile run on Saturday went brilliantly and I’m so pleased about that, just what I need to boost my confidence.  I’m having no booze until the marathon is over and I’m eating fairly well, although a few cakes have crept in to my mouth 🙂

This week I’ve got minimal runs to do but I’m keeping my two weights sessions and my one yoga session.  Yoga helps me to stretch out and I’ll train my back on Friday so it won’t affect my running.

I’m very nervous and very excited!  Obsessive checking of long range weather forecasts will start soon…

Standard
Attitude, Running, Training

Tapering

Well, this whole tapering thing is a bit weird isn’t it?  I feel like I’ve stopped training before the event, I’m even one day late with this blog post!

My training schedule for this week and next is very cut down, with fairly short runs.  I’m throwing in some yoga and spin sessions as well to make sure my feet and ankles are rested before the big day.

I’m trying to stay on track with my eating and keep the training mentality going but it’s just…odd.  I feel like I’ve lost my goal and my direction, my focus.  It’s a taste of what’s to come after the marathon too I suppose.

I hope my body is taking advantage of this rest period and will be ready to go, strong, fit and healthy on the big day.

9 days to go!  Have you done a taper before?  How did it make you feel?

Standard
Diet, Running, Training

Week 22 Training

My last proper week of training before the taper begins!  I feel like I’ve been preparing for this  marathon for five minutes and for ever at the same time.

This week I was a bit uninspired as I mentioned in my last post, but a break and some cross training have actually done me a lot of good.  The pain in my ankles is much better for having taken a rest period – funny that eh?

Here’s how week 22 looked:

  • Monday: jog 20 – 10 minutes to the gym, 1 hour weights (legs), 10 minutes home
  • Tuesday: run for 1 hour
  • Wednesday: have nightmare day with the builders, sulk, do nothing – rest day?
  • Thursday: jog 20 – 10 minutes to yoga, 1 hour 45 yoga, 10 minutes home
  • Friday: jog 20 – 10 minutes to the gym, 1 hour weights (chest), 10 minutes home
  • Saturday: rest day – shovelled a skip full of soil until my back hated me
  • Sunday: 16 miles

Overall not a bad week!  The 16 miler on Sunday went well, I had a few little walk breaks but apart from that it was pretty consistent.  Yoga was phenomenally hard but did a good job of stretching out my battered hamstrings.

My focus now is on eating perfectly for 2 weeks and doing little bits of training to keep me going until the big day.  No booze either, and I’ll be keeping my mitts off the builders biscuits.

Happy training this week!

Standard