The Zurich marathon - on April 19 - remains my main target for now, it is my next attempt at the 3 hour marathon.
My training is going well, though I expect I only have a 5% chance of achieving the 3 hours. It is too big a gap from the 3h09m51 that I achieved in Vienna last year. However I do have a chance this time. I am faster than previous years at this stage, and the Zurich course looks a lot flatter than the Vienna course.
At the beginning of 2015, I ran a long run with a friend of mine. Afterwards I stood on the scales (mérleg), and was shocked to see I was 84kg. I had relaxed too much and for too long after the last Budapest marathon.
Strangely I was able to run 30km very comfortably at that time, but I had no speed. So it was more a matter of improving the diet and the runs. I have done that!
I am now around 80kg, and I hope I will get to 79kg – if I am lucky to 78kg before the marathon. I suspect I have more muscle this time, as I have worked on upper body strength.
The 14 week plan started soon after, and I soon realized that I had been focusing on the long runs a lot. That is OK. After all, we all need a base on which to build.
I hit the 14 week plan shortly after and suddenly it was so clear that I had been neglecting the tempo runs and intervals.
Thankfully, the weather in January was good, I could do these tough runs, and I really needed them!
There are several challenges to think about, and the biggest is my backache. I have severe backache – left side, upper back. It is worse after cycling, but that is such a useful sport to increase my fitness that I can’t eliminate cycling, particularly as I want to do triathlons – half ironman and maybe ironman.
So I have seen a gyógytornásznő for a while, and she has certainly heped.
I also saw a rheumatologist that a friend recommended. He recommended swimming – it as a strong recommendation– particularly backstroke – and he also he recommended yoga. I have tried that, but can’t say I like it that much. I have to keep doing it I guess. I wonder if pilates or body art would be better.
Separately, I have bought new running shoes and that has made a difference, funny how you feel that immediately! I had been feeling aches in different places and it disappeared with the new shoes,.
Oh, the other thing the rheumatologist suggest was sulyfurdes. I feel a little weird going to Szechenyi and going in that pool given most people there are over 60, though I think it helps.
My focus – via the plan - has been on the speed this year, and often I have felt aches and pain in my legs, so I have bought proper orthopedic slippers, so my feet are comfortable. I try and stand to work, or sit on a massive ball. I don’t put the laptop bag strap over my shoulder, and try not to drive long distances. All to try and reduce unequal stress on my back. I also have worked on the muscles in my left arm and should which were weaker than the right side before. I have started using a proper pillow, and that has also made a big difference.
Last weekend I ran in the Zoldgomb futofeszt and did quite well – I was 2nd in the 30km. I was surprised that I could keep up a good pace most of the way, though I felt my left calf towards the end and took it easier. I was never going to catch the first person anyway!
Tomorrow is Debrecen rotary half marathon. I really hope that I can do well there.
I have come off my 14 week marathon plan now – I need to be careful to avoid injury, and I realize I can’t run too much. I need to cross train and try other things. This last week I ran only once – it will be a very low volume week, though I have swum and went to a good spinning class.
Then the taper starts before the Zurich marathon. However I think I will try one more tempo long run next weekend. I think I need the stamina of doing a 32-34km run at speed. Looking at my history of good marathons, I seem able to recover ok when doing long fast runs close to the race date.
If I am to have a chance of 3 hours in Zurich, I need to run under 1h26 tomorrow, but that is a big ask. My pb is 1h27m14, so I don't think under 1h26 will happen.
I think I will need to settle for a 3h05 marathon and try to run a sub 3 hour marathon again later, however I don’t think I can do this too many times - it requires a flexible job, and the training has effects on the body – I feel it with my back.