Monday, 2 January 2012

16 weeks to go, and still undecided...

I can't pretend anymore that it isn't happening - in 16 weeks, I will be participating in the London Marathon.  I still haven't decided on a training programme though.

Despite my active fantasy life in which I smoothly breeze across the finish line in under 4 hours (a time which is not unreasonable given my 10k PB, even if 'smoothly breeze' remains firmly within the realm of fantasy), the reality is somewhat different.  I'm worried that the training itself will result in further injury and an inability to take part at all, but I'm also struggling to come to terms with the possibility that it might be better to focus on just finishing the race, rather than on pushing myself to run as fast as I can.

To run my fastest on the day, I will need to incorporate speed work into my training.  But, despite the improvement in my achilles tendon since my new running shoes and since doing nightly heel dips/toe raises on the stairs, anything over a 10 minute mile pace results in concerning twinges.  This might improve as the weeks go on - there certainly has been an improvement in the last month or so - but it might not. 

So what do I do?  Do I follow a programme that would maximise my chance of finishing in the time that I want but that places greater stress on my body and so runs a greater risk of injury?  Or do I play it safe and just build the miles, letting my speed continue to evolve as it will, and be happy that I'm able to run at all?  The latter is the infinitely more sensible option, but I have to say that even writing it down irritates me.

I suspect, however, that what will be even more important than the training programme I choose are optimism, compromise, and patience - qualities that I don't particularly have in abundance.  Who knew that the most challenging part about training for a marathon would be wrangling with what's going on in my head?

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