Today officially marks the start of training for my first marathon in Edinburgh at the end of May 2019.

I’ve entered a marathon before, and predictably had to pull out after zero training, which basically sums up my running ‘career’. I have historically failed to train for any race, winging it on the day. I can’t recommend this technique: it means a harder run, and harder recovery. This year has seen me run consistently between races, at a variety of speeds and distances, and as such smash every single personal best I’ve held for years. (Amazing what a little consistency can achieve!)

So, determined not to make the same mistake (or kill myself trying) I actually paid for a marathon training plan. You can get marathon training plans from a variety of providers for free, but there’s something about paying for something that makes it a) real, and b) unavoidable: I can’t skip a day, otherwise I’m wasting the knowledge and experience of the folks who’ve put this together that I have paid actual, physical cash for.

I purchased the plan from Renaissance Periodization, the folks behind the diet template that I used to cut (lose weight) with earlier in the year. Because I know and trust their process, I didn’t feel like it was a big risk: I know that there’s actual science and experience behind their recommendations. Even better, because their primary focus is diet and physique training for lifters, I knew that I’d get a plan that would incorporate my strength training rather than making me cut it out completely. I recognise the demands lifting heavy weights has on the body, but strength training makes me a better, faster runner.

And, I suppose, that will be the hardest part of this training plan. Not maintaining pace — although I was supposed to run more slowly this morning and failed miserably — or getting out there and running, but reducing the priority of my strength work to accommodate the longer runs (both from a recovery, and time perspective). I need to lift, but I’ll need to run more. It’s a massive sacrifice having worked up to a 4 day training plan over the course of the year; I’ll need to drop down to a 3 day split, decreasing further as the marathon date approaches.

Day 1 then? An 8 miler at 12 minutes per mile was in the plan, but after a couple of weeks off and a rough night’s sleep I only managed 5.7 miles at 10:25 min per mile. It’ll be easy to catch up on the distance, not so sure how I’m supposed to drop my speed though. I never was very good at pacing myself.

Lead photo by by Jörg Angeli