Marathon training as a triathlete

I began my marathon training journey with a blog post about why I chose to do a marathon as a triathlete. Shortly after deciding to do one, I came across many, many articles in triathlon magazines asking the same question – “should I do a marathon as a triathlete?” The vast majority concluded that no, you shouldn’t. I kept going. Why? Because I’m stubborn, for a start. I’d decided on something and I wasn’t going to stop just because a magazine told me to. Secondly, because I had faith in my reasons.

This is what I wrote at the time:

1 – I read so many blogs where people run them that it got me inspired
2 – I need something to make me run over the winter. I am so bad at skipping workouts if I’m not actually training for something.
3 – my run is my weak spot. Even though marathon training isn’t normally recommended for triathletes, I can’t possibly see how running three times a week, including endurance runs, tempo and intervals won’t improve my running!
4 – I’d just quite like to

Ten weeks in and with only two “long” runs to go I thought it was a good time to reassess.

I am SO pleased I decided to run a marathon.

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I’ve had a wonderful ten weeks and at no point have considered giving up or regretted signing up for this thing. It has more than fulfilled my desire to improve my running. Last week I ran 17 miles in less than three hours and I only stopped for a few seconds at the turnaround point. On my first “long run” (of 8 miles) I was still stopping every half hour for a breather and needing quick walk breaks!

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I am not sure how much it has improved the speed of my running as I’ve stopped doing the intervals runs – BUT I am at the point where going for a 10k run is an easy distance – if I think like this it will make speed training for triathlon so much easier rather than seeing the distance itself as really challenging.

It has kept me running. I have run twice a week without fail, normally three times a week (although there have been a few weeks I haven’t managed this!) I have clocked up hours and hours and miles and miles on my feet.

And most importantly? It has made me love running. It was my weak spot for triathlon as I said above – it was also my weak spot in terms of enjoyment as I always found it so hard. I ran 18 miles today and enjoyed (most of) it – I am able to completely zone out and forget I am running rather than focussing on the constant difficulty of one foot in front of the other. I have spent so much more time outside when I would usually be snuggled in bed, I have watched the seasons change from autumn through to winter:

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I have run on the Thames Path, past Elephant & Castle on my way to work, over Tower Bridge. I have run in Spain, in Northumberland, in Chichester and in North Wales. I have hated some runs (usually the shorter, meant-to-be-faster runs) and loved others (almost always the long runs).

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Training for a marathon has improved my running endurance, which will make that final 10k much easier. It has improved my running ability. Most importantly, it has made me love running. I wouldn’t recommend it for every triathlete, but I would also say don’t listen to those magazines or anyone who tells you not to! No matter what happens in the next weeks or in the actual marathon itself, I will be happy with where I’ve come and what I’ve achieved up to this point.

Janathon Day 22 – 18 miles run, 15 minutes of yoga to stretch, and if that wasn’t enough, an hour of gentle cycling. Think that more than makes up for my laziness yesterday!

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