Road to Faroe: 15 weeks to go

How do you train for a marathon?

This question has always confused me. If I dig into all the knowledge online and follow them all, I might as well stopped living and just train. Or stop training altogether

. I didn’t change my eating patterns (I still eat loads of rice), I hardly do interval trainings, I skip trainings (too often as well) and I lost my bike’s keys (which means I can’t do cross training either).

Last year for the Rotterdam Marathon, I trained like a running fanatic. We would run five times a week and several long distance runs above the 30km. And fast too. I thought that was the way to go. It’s only after the marathon that I realized I wasn’t really able to enjoy the long runs because I was too focused on my tempo and finishing in 4:30 hours. In the end, my husband suffered my exaggerated zealousness.

For this marathon, we decided to do things differently. No more 5x/week training. Instead we would do a 3x/week 4x/week intervals. We would run in the morning so that we would have enough time to rest in the evenings or see friends occasionally. No more obsession with the GPS watch and the tempo. We will not force ourselves to run a PR. We will just enjoy Torshavn Marathon.

Here’s how our first month of training went.

Week 1 – Back to training 23km

It felt like a déjà vu of last year. I came back sick from the Philippines and was unable to start training right away. So we waited until I fully recovered. Then Robin had an operation so we waited another week for the wound to close and heal a bit. It would had been futile to begin right away and risk getting injured.

We managed to start the training on the 3rd week of February, immediately with an 8km, 9km and 6km. By Thursday we were already exhausted but thanks to a painful Thai massage at Erawan’s, our legs weren’t protesting very much. We were scheduled to visit my parents in-law that weekend so we drove to Zeeland on Friday evening, tired and ready for bed at 8:30pm, like two old retirees. Saturday was our first long distance run, twelve long, painful and irritating kilometers. The temperature was freezing and getting up at 5:30 in the morning wasn’t easy but we managed to slide back into the training mode without too much drama.

Week 2 – Druk, druk, druk 36km

It was one of those weeks when our workload was overflowing. So we decided for only two long distance runs during the week. We managed a 9.5km and 11.5km on Tuesday and Thursday and started incorporating a 20-minute core training twice a week. Our second endurance run of 15 kilometers went smoothly especially with the early spring weather and generous sunshine.

Week 3 – Geen zin 40,5km

It was during this week when I blogged about why I hate marathon raining. The combination of  cold winter, exhaustion at work, and post-holiday syndrome made me whiny runner.

If I compare myself to other running fanatics, I’d consider this laziness. But I’d like to think I’ve become wiser. I listened when my body said I needed more sleep and more rest. So we cut the training to 3x again and not 4x as scheduled. To compensate we did long runs, 11.7km and 11.2km during the weekday. And finished with a 17.6km (trail) run in the dunes and forests of Domburg. Yes we were in Zeeland again, finishing week 3 with 40.5 kilometers.

Unfortunately, Robin’s knees started to hurt. It was probably caused by running in the sand, which Robin hates very much.

Week 4 – Runner’s knee 35,5km

Despite ice, rest and knee exercises, the pain in Robin’s knee didn’t go away. We managed an 8km run on Monday but the next day, the pain worsen that it hurts him while walking. There was no choice but to discontinue the training until his knee gets better.

Applying ice twice per day and rest seemed to have helped. We were able to run 5.5km after four days. It didn’t hurt the night after so we pursued the scheduled 22 kilometers endurance run on Saturday, starting as early as 7am while most people are still snoozing.

In the evening, we drank until 2am with friends and family to celebrate Robin’s 30-something birthday. I didn’t know I could still manage a whole bottle of wine without a hangover the next day. We closed the week 4 with 35,5 kilometers and a 2-hour leisure walk on the beach of Rockanje on Sunday.