Virgin Money London Marathon 2017: The Masterplan

It still hasn’t quite sunken in that I’m actually going to be running the London Marathon! It’s a long held dream of mine to be able to run that 26.2 miles between Blackheath and Buckingham Palace and to think i am actually going to do it makes me giddy with excitement! So much so I’ve been meticulously planning every detail of just how I’m going to get to the start line. After all, “Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance”.

As such I’ve been frantically applying for my place officially (Which is confirmed – I will be number 21162) and finding a hotel that’s nearby the expo and with decent transport links to the start. We’ve gotten a room at the Ibis next to the Excel, perfect for the expo, but a (potentially very busy) DLR trip with 1 change to the start.

Phew. That was the admin sorted nice and early.

My thoughts then turned to “How am I going to get myself in shape to run a Good-for-Age” time. And the method is as simple as it was for Manchester. Train hard, lose weight. A bit like this snazzy diagram I’ve put together.

plan

Training

No good marathon was ever run without good training behind it. I needed a good training plan to get me in the right sort of shape – and why change what has worked before? I used the Pfitzinger and Douglas up to 55 miles, 18 week plan for 2 successful Greater Manchester Marathons. The third, Bournemouth, I tinkered with the method to use heart rate zones rather than pace zones with less than stellar results. So I’m going back to the tried and tested and use the old faithful McMillan Running Calculator to tell me my pace zones.

There are some things I know based upon my last Manchester experience. Firstly, they all need to be a bit faster than I did in Manchester, to get my body used to running at faster paces. This will of course be carefully built up and I must not forget, I am in significantly better shape now than I was this time last year. Secondly, the marathon paced runs are crucial. For Bournemouth I missed all of them, and boy did I suffer.

So I’ve carefully plugged all of my sessions into Garmin Connect calendar so my watch will tell me when to run, how far, and how fast.

I also learned at Manchester to trust the training. It really did deliver and it’s only on reflection I can recognise that.

I’m also going to make a conscious effort to work on my Core and upper body. So I have bolstered my training with a series of “30 day challenges” which I’m hoping will earn me some marginal gains.

Racing

The P&D training has some slots for “tune up” races later in the schedule. These were really helpful confidence boosters to me last year. o get faster at the marathon you need to get faster at the shorter distances. Before Manchester I ran an 18.54 so I figure to get GFA I’ll need to run a sub 18:30.  In the build up to Christmas (When P&D starts) I have a mini plan I’ve put together with some targets to get me at least sub 19:30 by then. With any luck a solid training block will see me break that a bit lower even, especially with the other “strand” of my training in play.

Moving into next year, along with some tune up 5ks I’ve scheduled in some bigger, longer races. The first one is Bramley 20. According to my schedule, this should be 18 miles with 12 at MP. So its a slight break from the plan, but its a good race thats relatively flat and a good distance to test myself with. My thinking is that I want to try and race this at target Marathon Pace, so 7.03 per mile (Sub 2.21). It will give me a good measure of “where I am”. If I can run that at MP or close to it with 8 weeks to go, I’d hope the remainder of my training can deliver me that extra 6 miles come race day.

The next big race is one Jodie and I have wanted to for a while, the Silverstone Half Marathon. A flat fast course around the famous racetrack, this is organised by London Marathon Events and PB friendly. According to McMillan I’ll need to run around 1.27.30 to be “on track”. Before I ran Cardiff in the build up to Manchester I thought this was in reach, but come race day I wasn’t feeling great, the weather was poor and it was actually during the Taper, so badly timed. Silverstone is much better positioned in my calendar this year and I’m hoping that if training goes well I’ll get somewhere near this.

Weight

No getting around it, the lighter I am the easier it will be to run. Its a lifelong battle but with the London Marathon on the horizon this is “game time”!

Using some fairly ropey calculations and information identified on Wikipedia, the body fat % for an “athlete” is < 18% which for me will likely equate to 13st 5lbs.

I’m going to start using MyFitnessPal again, but to be honest I know exactly what I need to do and I know I just need some willpower. Now London is in sight its the biggest motivator ever.

Time to execute the plan!