I don’t like suspense so here it goes: I’ve signed up for a September marathon.
I have not run a marathon in 3 years. Mostly because I’m really loving Crossfit, and you can’t really go at max effort at Crossfit and marathon train as well. Also because I wasn’t all that excited about all the hours I’d have to spend plodding on the streets of London in preparation. And I definitely did not want to do a September marathon because I don’t run fast in the summer and prefer to train for marathons in the winter.
So who made me sign up for one that’s just 22 weeks away?
The thing is I had trouble falling asleep on Sunday night and was thinking how it would be good to do the London marathon before we leave Europe (our lives are in a bit of a limbo right now due to the wonderful thing called Brexit). In order to have a decent chance of getting a place in London marathon, I’d need to run another one and get a Good For Age time. For anyone my age, that time is currently 3:50.
Enter the pre-London marathon: Tallinn, Estonia. I’ve also always wanted to run a marathon there (because I’m Estonian) but the September timing always put me off.
I woke up on Monday morning though and signed up. Enough indecisiveness. It’s done. I have 22 weeks.
I think I can get that sub 3:50 time. Right now I only run 30km a week and no runs are longer than 12km (yesterday I went for 14km) but I ran a hilly off-road half marathon last week in 1:44 so I think I can do the sub 3:50. I’m actually going to be training for a 3:40, being the optimist that I am :)
I’ll be following a plan from Run Less, Run Faster book. The idea is that the weekly mileage is less than in traditional marathon training plans but the focus is on quality i.e. the paces are a bit faster.
The plan includes 2 days of cross training but they say Crossfit does not qualify. Crossfit is intense and can mean that the legs just can’t keep up with the paces needed for the running training.
However, I’m going to wing it in that department. I like to experiment. I’m going to keep up Crossfit until August, I will not go 100% with weights, maybe up to 80% and scale it back if it does start effecting my speed. All of August I’m in Estonia so no Crossfit, which is perfect, and the marathon is on 10th of September.
Less Crossfit, more running
I’m really excited and a tiny bit relieved that this gives me a reason to dial back Crossfit a bit. And by that I mean a little bit. The Crossfit Open that’s still fresh in everyone’s memories, was rough. Crossfit at max effort is so bloody hard that no normal human being will ever comprehend it without experiencing it themselves. I’m all for not half-arsing your workouts and I try to make sure that every time I’m in the box I get the most out of the session, but that can happen even if I don’t go to failure each time. I can focus on the quality of movements and speed, and I actually think that without focusing on the weight numbers so much and going with what feels challenging but safe, I’ll actually be a stronger Crossfitter in the end.
Everything I do, I do because it’s fun and because I know it’ll keep me feeling well for a long time into the future. I do not need to be able to say my back squat is x and my deadlift is x. I am too old to have that kind of an ego :)
So I’m winging it. I’m starting the training plan at 16 weeks so for now I’m just going as I’m going with 3 Crossfit sessions, 3 runs & one swim. Rock climbing and bouldering I haven’t decided about yet. It might be that I will need that time for running instead as I need to increase my mileage from now on from 30km a week to 50km a week.
Running in Estonia in August will be interesting as the sun raises at 5am and sets at 11pm and when it shines, there ain’t no shade. But I will figure it out. And marathon training will make sure I don’t eat as much junk there as I normally do as I cannot run when I don’t eat properly.
Crazy or not but I’m actually really excited about running long distances again. It happened almost overnight. Two weeks ago I didn’t feel ready for this and now – boom, I’m all over it and can’t wait to get started!