Last Saturday I was invited out to St. Mary’s university to participate in a training day for all the #extramile London Marathon ambassadors. With the promise of a free lunch (oh yeah… and training led by Martin Yelling) I was quite excited.
St. Mary’s itself is a beautiful campus and on the way there I was scoping out dream houses in Strawberry Hill. We were based in the athletics centre and spent an hour in the morning speaking about our goals for the marathon and going over the basics (enjoy it enjoy it enjoy it!).
Once on the track Martin led us through one of his “favourite” workouts of 3 minute efforts. After a warm up all together we ran 400m at what we thought would be our marathon pace (based on our goal finish time from the morning). This is near impossible to do. Running on a track makes you want to run faster and if you’re me, your marathon pace is pretty pedestrian. 10:00 minute/miles make you feel like you are moving backwards after a morning of rest and a little warm up. Obviously at mile 22 they will feel a lot different, and this was our lesson of the session to keep steady even when feeling good (over 26.2 miles that good feeling will come and go!)
My first lap of estimated marathon pace was 30 minutes faster than I hope to finish the marathon. Second lap was 5 minutes slower, third lap was 10 minutes faster. It was pretty clear I have “pacing issues” when it comes to consistency but I’m hoping a few more of these 3 minute efforts interspersed into my runs will help me get a bit closer. The truth is I like running and 99% of the time run to feel. That means if the wind is blowing directly in my face I’m probably not running the same pace as cruising down the canal. It’s all a part of my enjoy running philosophy and while I agree that pacing is important (and can help avoid a world of pain in the end if you went off too fast) I think that learning how to run to feel is even more important.
We finished the day chatting over lunch about nutrition (eat and drink normally! No company or “expert” will come up with a better idea) and general training tips. Martin had a good quote from Mike Tyson who said, “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face” which is the truth. I think you shouldn’t put too much into your plan as it might not be perfect and being adaptable is more important than having a perfect plan .
And just to prove I had a great day and didn’t need to break anything physically or mentally to improve – I took a #notbrokenselfie on the track.