Ok so I am writing this training update after the fact so it will be a little brief and missing those key details. Fear not, future training blogs i.e. my prep for the Berlin Marathon, will be written and posted as I go along.
Paris was my first full marathon, I had signed up for this race back in April 2016 one month before running my first race in over 10 years, the Great Manchester 10k. 2016 came and went, I managed to not only finish that 10k but also ran the Great Donnington 10 Mile as well as four half marathons so the fitness was on the up. I had begun 2017 with a solid 12 week training plan in the hope of getting around in under 4 hours, an ambitious target but something I felt I was capable of given my half marathon PB of 1:47:39 (double the time and add on around 10%). The training plan didn’t quite go as originally hoped, the first seven weeks I went from 3 months of zero running in October to December 2016 to covering 280 miles, smashing my 5k and 10k PB’s and my longest ever run of 14 miles.
Then on a planned long run of 16 miles I felt some pain in the buttock area, this turned out Piriformis Syndrome, amazing what you can find out on Google, ignoring all of the duff pages suggesting I was dying or needed legs amputating etc.. I took a few weeks off running to rest up, this went on and on for what felt like forever, to the point where I wondered whether I would be able to make that start line in Paris. One month before race day we had a family holiday in the Dominican Republic to celebrate my wife’s 30th birthday, I managed to run 5k virtually pain free on the soft sands for the first time in 5 weeks, giving me hope that I would be able to get back on it and pick up where I left off, then came disaster number 2, a sickness bug! Resulting in three days in bed and not being able to eat anything, the struggling to eat went on for ten days in total, causing well over 14lbs of weight loss, all the strength and conditioning I had built up in the two previous months, gone. My first ran back in the UK was the toughest run I have ever done, a 4 mile run which I do 2 or 3 times per week but lacking energy and strength I was a full 10 minutes slower than my worst time! This shocked me a lot but I knew I needed to eat cleanly and build my weight back up but with only two weeks until the marathon it was a tall order. During those two weeks I recovered some of the weight and my running got a little easier and most importantly, I was running pain free but only managing 4 – 6 mile runs.
I was going into Paris with only 7 weeks of training, one long run of 14 miles and a substantial weight loss & illness just 2 weeks before hand. It is safe to say that the preparation for this race, the biggest race of my life, could have gone a whole lot better. However, I like to always look for positives, during those 7 weeks of training I had ran just over 300 miles (my 2016 total mileage was only 311) so I had some fitness there, I had also concentrated on strength during my weeks out, pin pointing the glutes and hips as weak areas. The biggest positive was I am running pain free, albeit over short distances and I was going to be lining up on the Champs-Élysées with 42,000 other marathoners. The question still remained, would I be able to manage the 26.2 miles without the Piriformis flaring up again, would my legs hold up for 12 miles further than my longest ever run?