Month 1 – Manchester Marathon Training

Starting my training plan and getting new trainers!

Okay, so I’ve just finished week 3 of my Manchester Marathon training plan. Before I tell you more about what the first 3 weeks have entailed, let me give you some background.

This will be my 3rd marathon.

I ran the London Marathon in 2018 (hottest EVER!) in 5:29 and the Milton Keynes Marathon in 2019 in 4:22 – a huge PB. My goal of London was simply to finish. My goal with Milton Keynes was to just get a PB and so I just kind of made up my own training plan. This is the first time I’ve ever seriously followed a plan or received any kind of coaching.

My goal for Manchester is 3:59. A little ambitious, yes, but feeling scared will ensure I do everything I can to make sure I get as close as possible.

With this ambitious goal in mind, I was delighted to be accepted onto the Sponsored Athlete Programme run by Clean Coach Katie, Up & Running Store and The Treatment Lab (sports massage). I am one of two athletes – the other being Mark (Run Like Duck) who has run something crazy like 135 marathons and ultras.

The Sponsored Athlete Programme

The programme provides excellent coaching and a training plan by Clean Coach Katie, a full Motion Matrix Analysis (a much more advanced version of a gait analysis), running trainers, nutrition, weekly core and strength classes, PT sessions and monthly sports massages – an opportunity that I could not refuse!

The Training Plan

I’ve received the first month of my training plan delivered online / via an App. The plan has details of what pacing I should be aiming for with space for me to review how each session went. It’s also linked to my Garmin, so Katie can see my heart rate, splits and average pace!

Each week of the plan looks different and is tailored around my requests. I asked to do my long runs on Saturday rather than Sundays, as I prefer to just ‘get it done’. Typically, the plan looks like this:

  • Monday – speed session
  • Tuesday – rest day
  • Wednesday – core & strength class + 1 hour club run
  • Thursday – tempo run
  • Friday – rest
  • Saturday – Long run
  • Sunday – rest or recovery run

At the moment, I am running 4 days per week and 1 strength session. Katie provides comments on the app to let me know if I’m doing a good job (I haven’t missed a run yet!). I can’t believe how much more motivated I am by having a coach. Yes, you can follow online training plans, but being accountable to someone else has been a game changer. The other game changer has been my new pair of trainers I received from Up and Running after I used their Motion Metrics Gait Analysis!

Gait Analysis (Motion Metrics by Up & Running)

The Motion Metrics at Up and Running Milton Keynes is a new innovative gait analysis done in-store. Whilst running on a treadmill, the technology looks at your full biometrics to analyse your running style, your energy efficiency and rating and also lets you compare your running style when using different trainers. I left with a video and a super detailed 6 page report giving me scores on all areas, from my braking force to how much I lean forward.

Ever since I started running. I’ve always run in Adidas Ultra Boost. I once walked into Adidas and said ‘I need some running shoes?’ and simply purchased the first pair they showed me. They’ve always been fine and so I never thought to change. Then, Dionne from Up and Running brought out some Saucony ISO 2s…

My energy efficiency (how much energy I can recycle from my muscles per step) went from 9.3% to 18.3% – that’s a huge increase! The trainers felt like I was running on marshmallows and I knew from that point that these would be a game changer. So, unfortunately it’s the end of a great love story between me and my previous 4 pairs of Ultra Boosts. I still need to name my new Sauconys though.

My sexy new Sauconys and a tonne of nutrition to try out before race day!

Dionne gave me lot’s of nutrition to try out – gels, blocs, trail bars, all sorts. Now that I’m in the swing of things, I will be trying out each one over the next few weeks, so I’ll let you know what’s good!

Now that I’m part of the Brooks Run Happy Team, I will be fortunate enough to test out their range of trainers and I will be interested to see how my gait changes in those!

Sports massage

Rudi at The Treatment Lab has completed 8 marathons, so I knew I’d be in good hands when I went to see him. I had a 30 minute assessment to check for injury risk areas and a 30 minute massage.

The assessment was in-depth and he noticed I have a tight ITB band and pretty tight hip abductors. I have noticed some pain previously. He gave me stretches to do 1-2 times per day and then a comprehensive foam rolling plan to do 1-2 times per week. It’s been two weeks so far and my legs feel pretty good, but hopefully by the next blog I will be able to report improvements!

What’s next?

My next update on the programme will be at the start of February. I’ll be sharing a bit more on strength training for runners. I’m attending weekly classes and it’s the first time I’ve done real, deliberate strength training as part of a training plan.

Happy Running, Anastasia x

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