Friday, 15 March 2013

Marathon survey

My running club was conducting a marathon survey this week, so I thought I'd post my answers here.

Nick B

What made you decide to run a marathon?
Watching the London Marathon on television as a child.

Which marathon did you choose?
I started with London in 1998. A painful experience and it was a month before I could run again.

This year I ran the Braintree Boggle in February, a brutal experience sliding around the muddy edges of fields, in bitterly cold winds.  In March the Steyning Stinger, big hills over the South Downs.  Then a week later a PB running 105.5 laps of Telford athletics track.

I don't have anything else lined up yet, but I fully expect to run another marathon in April.

How did you choose on what training plan to use and where did you get it from?
I used to try and follow rigid training plans like you get in Runners World or in books, but found I never stuck to them.  Worst of all was trying to fit in 3 hour runs on a Sunday morning, spending the rest of the day wanting to eat and sleep, and not being recovered by the next weekend.  It is essential to listen to your body,otherwise you will end up tired and injured.

How many runs do you do in a week on average?
Three.  A typical week would be two of the Trent Park Tues/Thu/Sat training sessions and then a long run (or race) on my own.

What is the longest training run you are scheduled to do and how long before the main event is it?
One hour.  I rarely run for more than an hour, except in races.  Before I marathon I find a short, fast run (30-45 minutes) three days before, feels right.  Other than that I'll try and avoid too much running in the week leading up to a marathon.

Do you train mainly with other people, on your own or with music?
Mostly club sessions with other people.  Longer runs typically on my own.  I rarely listen to music except in longer road races where the music helps keep me focused.

What has been your favourite training route so far?For local runs, a circuit of Trent Park and Hadley wood. or Hilly Fields and Whitewebbs.

Do you do any other training apart from running for your preparation?

10 minutes foam roller and/or yoga most days - both good for core strength and flexibility.  20 minutes weights (squats, chest press, etc) once per week.

Have you practiced eating and drinking on the move yet and how did it go?

It is impossible to absorb enough water, even on cold days.  I found Gu Electrolyte tablets work better than plain water (I carry a couple of tablets and mix them with water at drink stations).  I get hungry during a marathon so I carry a small bag of peanuts and raisins and try and eat a small handful just before each drink station.  And much cheaper than gels!

Getting the right amount of food/water in during a marathon makes a huge difference to how I feel towards the end of the race.

What do you like best about the training?
The social aspect, getting to chat while running.  And feeling good while running!

What do you find the hardest about the training?
Fitting it all in.  I'd love to spend more time running but have to work too!

What has surprised you the most so far?
That as long as I run lightly and avoid tarmac for long runs, I can recover quickly.  I usually feel fully recovered from a marathon in about 5 days.

How hungry marathon running makes me.  I have an enormous appetite for several days after a marathon.

What do your friends and family think about you running a marathon?
That I am nuts.  But I often see a grudging respect too.

Have you promised yourself anything when you cross the finish line and if so what?
That I will take some time off from running for a while, but I never do!