Here’s one thing I (stupidly) hadn’t checked out until this week: what the actual route of the Bristol + Bath Marathon I’m running on 26 October will be like.
So I had a look at the event website, hoping it’d say, “No worriez m8 lol, it’s a piece of piss. All downhill, might not even be a full marathon tbh lmao.”
Sadly, it didn’t say that. Instead, I got this:
What that zig-zaggy line means, apparently, is that the course is going to undulate like a kids’ drawing of the Loch Ness Monster, and that there’s 270ft difference between the lowest point of the course and the highest – by way of comparison, the difference between the lowest and highest points of the London Marathon is 170ft.
I don’t love running up and down endless hills, because I’m not a self-loathing masochist
Sooo, that’s a bit of a worry. I don’t love running up and down endless hills, because I’m not a self-loathing masochist who enjoys having fire and electricity scorching through his thighs.
I think I need to get stronger, so that I don’t cry/die ascending hill number 232. So I got Unbound’s in-house personal trainer Jonny Jacobs to take me to the park and give me a 20-minute bodyweight workout.
In all, I lasted 14 minutes before swearing and staggering off, ignoring Jonny’s exhortations to continue. It hurt. I was hurting. Actual pain.
Once I’d calmed down and stopped acting like a grumpy baby, I asked Jonny why I should be doing strength training for a marathon rather than simply running (which I can definitely do for longer than 14 minutes without throwing any toys out of any prams).
“Running longer and longer distances is going to get you better at running,” he explained, “but to improve your running economy – as in, to make each step require less effort – you need to get stronger.”
To improve your running economy you need to get stronger
So could I just get away with doing one 20-minute (*cough*14-minute*cough*) bodyweight workout a week? “Depends what you can fit in. Twice-a-week strength training is going to be optimal, but your running training schedule is always going to take precedent. At the end of the day you need to be able to cover the distance.
“Twice a week is best. Once a week is better than nothing.”
‘Better than nothing’ it is, then!
(Apols: if you look very closely at the gif above, you can see me dropping an F-bomb.)
High point of the week: While my first go at strength training was tragically feeble, my running is rolling along to a teutonically precise schedule, and I’ve yet to miss a run. I’m an A+ teacher’s-pet swot – for now…
Low point of the week: Season two of True Detective is a bit crap so far. Nothing to do with running, I know, but still. Feel very let-down and disillusioned. Sigh.