Why I am quite happy that my marathon plans changed…

So, in part one of How I Ended Up Entering a Marathon (despite always saying that I wouldn’t), I admitted that I had planned to enter one, just not this one.  I am happy with this change of plan and this is why…

Running Karma
Helen had to pull out of the Brighton marathon because of injury and then two weeks later she  soldiered on through London (dressed as the Twitter bird) to raise funds for three very good causes. I had been thinking to myself “It would be lovely to run a race with Hels as part of her challenge, I wonder if she’ll be doing a half marathon where I can tag along”. The gods of running defintely heard this one, but clearly went “LA LA LA LA LA LA NOT LISTENING” at the bit where I said ‘half’.

Running with lovely friends
So I get to do a tiny bit to support Hels, but I also get to run with other lovely people – there’s Cathy and Rachel for starters and then any other number of people who will be encouraged, bullied, bribed and cajoled into entering as well. The current rule seems to be, if we’re talking about it on Facebook and you comment on the conversation, then you’re in. Anyway, I miss running with friends. I have no running friends near me, they all live on Twitter (my real life friend who got me into running moved away for love, pah). When I see people meeting up for races I get a twinge of envy and so this is my chance. You may point out that I could make some running friends round here, but that would be scary and for now I will reply “LA LA LA LA LA LA LA NOT LISTENING”.

A year is a long time
Contemplating Manchester, my actual voice was saying “that gives me a year to train, that’s brilliant, I can take it slowly, build a good base, get fitter…” however my inner voice was saying “a year is a very long time, I have to wait for aaaages, waiting’s boring*…”.

But six months is just long enough
Would I be able to keep my focus for a year? Probably not. Will I be able to keep my focus for six months? There’s a marginally better chance. The other advantage of having six months to prepare is that it gives me a bit of wiggle room because I am dreadful at following training plans and…

I don’t have a training plan
And I do not want one. If I have a training plan that last for say 12 weeks, I will start it with 12 weeks to go until my race. Several things will then happen. Something will go wrong; I will get a niggle, a cold, go on holiday, be faced with extreme weather conditions, whatever, what it means is that I will miss a week or two. I will have bad sessions where I struggle and this will knock my confidence and I will struggle with the same thing the week after or I will simply abandon hills/intervals/whatever I have done badly. I will also see the weeks ticking down, 12, 11, 10… until I panic, feel that I will never be ready (because inevitably I have missed sessions) and I will sabotage myself by just not running. Training plans and I do not see eye to eye.

But I do have a plan
I am trying to run three or four times a week, one will probably be hills or intervals (dusting off the old Audiofuel Pyramid sessions again) and one will be a ‘long’ run. I’m increasing the distance of my longer run by a mile each week. I will keep doing this until my half marathon in September and then see how I’m doing.

I also have a book
I do love having a book. This is mostly due to my love of procrastination, but I feel reassured by having a book. My book is a second-hand copy of  The Non-Runner’s Marathon Trainer and I think that I like it. It has already spoken wise words to me, mostly about the psychological side of things because (and you may not have noticed this…) I do tend to panic and get a bit negative about things at times. At the moment though, I am quite positive and feel that I can do this thing…

But I am also realistic
I have been bubbling with enthusiasm and positivity since signing up and I am sensible enough to know that it is easy to do this when the marathon is still months away and my training is within the realms of my experience. However, I also know that when the doubts creep in (and they have been giving me a nudge this week) I want to be be able to look back at the bubbling enthusiasm and remind myself that I can feel like this.

Oh, and did I mention the bling…
It’s very good bling.

*A phrase trademarked by my five-year old niece