In the latest part of his marathon training blog, AW’s Euan Crumley looks at why the more mundane aspect to training is still crucially important

Consistency. It’s not a very glamorous word, is it? It doesn’t immediately conjure excitement, dramatic images of amazing sporting achievement or remarkable feats. For now, however, consistency is exactly what I’m looking for when it comes to the early stages of preparation for the Virgin Money London Marathon. Being solid, if unspectacular, is the aim.

We’re midway through week three of the schedule now and the main objective has been laying foundations. I’m following a
15-week plan, which is longer than the 12-week period I would normally opt for, but because I wasn’t at my sharpest going into this training block, and had fallen out of the pattern of properly regular training, I wanted to give myself time to get back into the habit, back into a routine, and to build things carefully. Only time will tell if that approach works but for now it feels like the right thing to do.

It’s important to set small goals and little landmarks along the way and my first target has been to get through these first three weeks unscathed but showing small signs of improvement. Thankfully, there have been a couple of reasons to feel encouraged.

Firstly, and fundamentally, I’m enjoying it. There’s a satisfaction that comes with sticking to a plan and a motivation that is provided by aiming at a long-term target. I live and train in Scotland and, believe me, there have been some days recently where the weather has done its best to put me off. Without that marathon goal, I’m pretty confident it would have won on a few occasions and I wouldn’t have done nearly as much work as I’ve managed thus far.

My kit feels like it’s sitting just a little more loosely, too, as my body starts to change a bit and the excesses of Christmas begin to get truly burned off. There’s just a little glimmer that my running is improving, too. Out on a session which included easy running mixed with some miles at marathon pace, I began to find – albeit momentarily – something approaching a flow. There was a hint of increased strength, I managed to get into a good rhythm without feeling like my lungs were about to explode and, though I’m always wary of placing too much store in what my watch tells me, I was pleasantly surprised by a couple of the splits.

I’m certainly not breaking any records or approaching personal bests, but the curve definitely feels like it’s inching upwards and that’s all I want to see.

The latest edition of AW includes a substantial training section which features insights from some of the top athletes as to how they train and prepare. It was interesting to note that a common thread across a lot of disciplines involves laying the groundwork and creating a platform before, as Steph Twell puts it, “laying on the additional layers of quality”.

I’m not sure how high my own level of quality will ultimately be but it’s definitely true that – and this applies across sport – you won’t get very far if you don’t get the basics right. I’ve got 26.2 miles to run and a long road ahead to London so I’m hoping that I have at least set myself off on the right path.

How’s your training going?

Thank you for the responses to the blog so far and please do get in touch to compare notes about training and let me know how you’re getting on. What mini goals have you been setting yourself on the way towards your ‘A’ race and how do you like to prepare? It would be great to hear from you.

Happy running.

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