Henry Ford proclaimed that the man who knew his job well, never considered himself an expert. He was too busy seeking new ways to improve and get better to think about how efficient he was.
Now, I’m far from being an expert, but I do constantly seek new ways to improve myself. And I’m not naive or big headed (enough) to think that I can coast my way to running 26.2 miles comfortably in May’s Edinburgh Marathon, without careful preparation and regular running.
For the past few weeks I have, against the advice of my previous post, being putting in some regular miles. with even a cold earlier in the week not stopping me doing seven miles today with another five planned for tomorrow and my longest run yet, of fifteen miles, on Sunday. Before long I’ll be up in the twenties, with nothing stopping me…..
And then I remembered about the terrible toos – doing too much, too soon, too fast. It goes against my mantra of “Only Too Much Is Enough” but then I also remembered something else. I’ve only been running for just over a year and although I have the race bibs and medals, the snazzy running shoes and kit, the soon to arrive (Santa willing) Garmin 610 which will make me the happiest, most excited and appreciative bunny in the world and a strong passion for running, I know practically nothing about Marathon training.
Like the Sea Captain in the Simpsons, I look the part, I talk the part and I live the part but like him, when his boat sinks, I have to admit: “Y’ar, I don’t know what I’m doing!” . I do know that I should only really be increasing my weekly longest run by a maximum of 10% and that a fair percentage (or unfair, you may say) of those training for marathons never see the start line, due to injury. I don’t want that to happen to me. I have too much riding on this and it means too much to me to scupper. My marathon effort will not be sunk.
So I had an Epiphany of sorts and decided I needed an expert of sorts. I needed someone who has been there, got the bib and who could mentor and train me, both physically and mentally, for the biggest race in my life. Someone who I could trust with my development and trust not to shy away from telling me when I was going adrift (sorry for the sailing puns).
So being a Jog Scotland member (look out for my feature in the New Year edition of Stride), I went searching on their site for registered running coaches/groups and lo and behold I found some old friends, who had introduced me to the joy (and pain) of Pilate’s. Jen and Elle of Forward Fitness Glasgow
I got in touch, explained my voyage and my intended destination and quickly agreed that I would let Elle be the captain of my ship, that she would be the wind that guided my sails….right enough seafaring puns, sorry.
Her first pieces of advice were, to start lifting heavy things, to supplement with peptides and cut Sunday’s run to 10 miles (music to my ears….just hoping she isn’t a siren). Along with..get a bike. Now, I’m not one to question specialists and I was especially fearful of being made to do a plank (sailing and Pilate’s pun) but at this point I reminded her that I’m running the marathon. I’m a brave guy on the keyboard but having been on the end of a few Elle broadsides in the past (she’s a no-nonsense -but fair-trainer), I was waiting for her rebuke. Thankfully Elle simply advised that it would help strengthen my peg legs and then that I should invest in some ice grips for my running shoes. Guess we will be setting sail in all weathers.
But come what May, I’ll be ready and in the Edinburgh Marathon I will be flying the flag for all those feel their weight limits them and prohibits them from change.
If I can do this, so can anyone.