Valencia Marathon Lowered Expectations
My training for the Valencia Marathon did not go as planned and I’ve lowered my expectations. Why, well I have a thousand excuses. I moved to a new country. I’m living out of a camper van. I caught Covid early in the training cycle and it stuck with me for 9 weeks. Quite simply, anything that could go wrong in the early months, did go wrong. The entire Base and some of the Pace phase of my program were just left in shambles. But it is OK, not every race will be a great race. We’ve all had those training blocks where we suffered an injury, or life just got in the way. This is what happened for me.
Early on I knew I was going to have to lower my expectations. Moving house was a big obstacle, but maybe not as big as you’d think. It is running after all. What do you need to train? Just some running shorts and some trainers. The moving house was just slightly inconvenient. It wasn’t until recently, when we moved into the camper van that everything turned on its head. Living in the camper van meant that my yoga, strength work and sleep habits were disrupted. This was something that I struggled to overcome.
Valencia Marathon – Training Out the Window
The biggest obstacle that caused my Valencia Marathon to not go as planned was the damn Covid. It only hit me hard for 3 days or so. However, the knock-on effect of Long Covid stuck with me for about 9 weeks. I would go out for a short run, say a 3 miler, and come back only to fall asleep. My energy levels were shot. I probably slept more in those 9 weeks than I did in the previous 30.
So that was 2 months out the window. I did think, believe it or not, that I would still be able to pull it back and make up for the lack of dedicated training. I did, somewhat, but I was still lacking all the peripheral training. When I’m in a training block, I track everything. For the Valencia Marathon, I haven’t logged any data other than what is on Garmin and Strava. There is no focus on nutrition, or even protein intake, which I consider to be of huge importance.
My self-care was neglected as well. I didn’t get any sports massage or do any foam rolling. I haven’t had any yoga or extended stretching. If I was one of the athlete’s I coach, I’d be concerned about the lack of focus.
Valencia Marathon – Sometimes It’s OK to Not Achieve Greatness
Sometimes it is OK to give up. I had the best race of my life earlier in the year during the London Marathon. I can live with that and take aim at a spring marathon, which is exactly what I’m going to do. Because my Valencia Marathon training didn’t go to plan, I can go and just enjoy the race. No pressure, lowered expectations.
My race plan for Valencia will be to go out and aim for a 7:30/mile pace. I honestly believe this is achievable. In the last 3 weeks of this training block I managed to work up a pretty heavy mileage load. Last week alone I hit my highest ever week at 96.2 miles. This included my staple 28 miler. Big miles, unfortunately, won’t make up for the lack of speed and speed endurance work. It should, however, give me what I need in order to finish the race feeling at least somewhat comfortable.
The Final Word
Just because I’ve lowered expectations for the Valencia Marathon doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy the experience. I have friends coming to Spain to take part and it will be great to spend time with them. I’ll be able to chalk up another iconic race to my experience. I have also really enjoyed trying to make up for lost time. Hitting the big miles over the last few weeks has been quite rewarding. It doesn’t hurt, as well, to be training in a singlet at the end of November. Most importantly, it will be fun to take part in the race format I love to run, the marathon.