Training to train? Oh no, not that!

Now I’m about to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, I can start thinking about joining my running group for marathon training. However, right now I feel unfit to join. Their training schedule is pretty hard, which is logical, considering what the goal is. I’ve let myself slip into an unfit state, overweight and lacking endurance. The endurance part I can tackle through training, the overweight part has to be dealt with through time and discipline; it will take years, rather than months.

Running again

Considering I’ve aged since my previous marathon in 2016, I suppose I have to lower my goals, which were pretty high back then. Since my first marathon I aimed too high, since it’s such an expensive and intense event. The result of preparation for and actually running the marathon has been a breakdown afterwards or during the marathon (cramps). In short, I ran my marathon like any road race, which obviously is not how one should run a marathon. Call me stubborn, and I won’t object to your assessment.

This approach and attitude was clearly unproductive. It’s best to aim low, reach that goal, and aim higher next time. While others did just that, they progressed over the years to their actual goal. Taking a shortcut, as I did, did not work.

My first goal should be: being able to join the training sessions of my running group at the lowest level, 10 km in 50 minutes. There are runners for whom even that’s too ambitious, and I can join them temporarily to get to that base level. Based on past experiences, this might take as long as 3 months (or more now I’m older), provided I don’t get injured, so around the end of 2021.

Here’s my plan. I’ll temporarily join another running group, meant for runners who need more than an hour to run a 10 km race. My reason for joining is to get back into a habit of running with a group every week. Luckily, this group is being described on my track and field club’s website as a means for injured runners to get back into shape. So, knowing that, it shouldn’t be much of a problem to join the group, once a week.

In the meanwhile I’ll be working on my endurance and speed separately, and hopefully will be able to join the training sessions of my marathon group mid September this year. My main training goals for the moment are 60 km per week, and a single long run of 30 to 50 percent of that weekly distance (18 – 30 km), slowly increasing the long run by 2 km per week. A few walk breaks are allowed in long runs, since overall speed doesn’t really matter that much.

I don’t mind training hard, but I do mind not having a goal in mind. Training for training’s sake is not my cup of tea.