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  • Ollie McCarthy

Run Stronger- The Paris Marathon Blog pt1

Updated: Feb 27

As I ease into my 6th week of training the steady tiredness of marathon prep is beginning to nip at my heels. Next week my volume jumps up a notch with my 400m intervals jumping up to 600s and my 800m intervals jumping up to 1km repeats. The “longer” runs, while still being relatively low mileage are beginning to increase too. I had my first wobble last Sunday, as a 10km time trial felt horrendously slow and hard. It didn’t help that with a storm raging outside, I was confined to treadmill in a gym, which always seems to be slower and mind numbingly boring.


The plan


So my overall plan is a low volume one with a concentration on building skill, strength and speed over the 12 week programme. I have taken it from Brian Mckenzies “Unbreakable Runner” book and to be frank, am unsure of how it will play out. I am intrigued with the concept of a low volume marathon plan and so am using myself as a guinea pig to see if it works.


It focuses on 3 days running- 2 x speed days and a longer run per week, which I am currently pairing with 2 days strength training. It finishes the week before the Marathon with a 13.1 mile (half marathon) time trial, which is where you work out a strategy for your speed on race day. Pretty late in the game to be doing so, I know.


How am I finding it?


As of yet it has been good. I still have energy, am not finding the volume difficult and enjoying every workout (apart from Sundays slog.) I am getting leaner and have dropped roughly 2kg in the last 6 weeks. This will be (in my opinion) a key part of racing well on the day. I have always been on the heavy side and previous runs have seen me always running above 91kg. Currently weighing in at 90.8, I will aim to race in the low 88s.


My speed is still not quite where I want it to be but I am gradually feeling the decrease in difficulty in holding faster speeds across sets of intervals. Time will tell over the next few weeks as I will get to test in on a few 10/12 mile time trials.


The overall aim?


My aim is simply to improve my time from my last marathon. I ran Brighton in 2018 @ 4:22. My aim for Paris 2020 is simply to improve on that and hopefully finish the race without injury and without being tired wreck. I have a few goals to complete this year and quite frankly do not want to break myself running one marathon, hence the reason I am training like I am.


Sub 4 hours would be lovely but the aim is longevity. Realistically I still need to be lighter to complete faster marathons and other aims (an Ironman) so I am not pushing any pressure on myself to perform to a certain level. So far I am simply enjoying running and looking forward to seeing the end result, whatever it may be.


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