My 18 week training plan for the London Marathon 2012 starts officially tomorrow. I have decided to write down the committments that I am making to that plan. I know that when I write things down I am more likely to make them happen and by making this public as well I am holding myself to account even more.
So here is my marathon training contract with myself:
1. My goal is to finish the marathon in one piece, with a smile on my face and having enjoyed the experience
2. I will not get obsessed by time. People will ask me what I time I am aiming for. My response will be as at point one of this contract. Whatever time I achieve will be a personal best.
3. I will follow my chosen training plan and run 4 times a week.
4. I will train to run/walk in 9 minutes running, 1 minute walking intervals. This is not cheating and is highly recommended for beginner marathoners. The walking breaks will conserve my energy and give me time to take in water or fuel and will probably help me to finish in a better time than if I tried to run the whole way.
5. There will inevitably be times when life will get in the way. If I miss one run I will not panic. I will review the situation sensibly and see whether it is best to try and fit it in another time, or just let it go.
6. I will see my osteopath/masseur at least once a month and I will follow any advice he gives me, even if it includes things which are painful, like sitting on tennis balls and using my foam roller.
7. I will stretch properly after every run. I will use my foam roller at least once a week. I will sit on tennis balls, as instructed by my osteo after every run.
8. I will include Yoga and Powerplates in my training plan for strength and flexibility. They are important, but not a substitute for running.
9. I will take rest days when my plans says I should.
10. I will listen to my body. If I need an extra rest day I will take it.
11. I will not use point 10 as an excuse to stay in bed because it's cold and dark and I don't fancy going out that morning.
12. I will run in all weathers. Rain, wind, snow (but I will keep my fingers crossed that I don't have to with that last one). If it's icy I will be very careful and will think seriously about whether it is safe to go out. I can always get a day pass at the gym if I really need to.
13. I will eat a sensible and balanced diet with plenty of complex carbohydrate to fuel my body as well as I can.
14. I will drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and will learn how best to keep myself hydrated when I'm running by experimenting on my long runs.
15. I will try to learn to love Lucozade sport - it's what will be available on the day and it will make things easier if I can use it as part of my fuelling strategy.
16. If I am ill I will rest. If I train when I'm not well I could seriously injure myself. Colds do not count, I will run as long as my temperature is not raised and the cold isn't in my chest.
17. If I get injured I will rest. I will see my osteo as soon as I can and follow his advice.
18. I will keep adding new music to my mp3 player so that I don't get bored of listening to the same songs.
19. I will vary my running routes so that I don't get bored of running the same route.
20. I will run parts of the marathon route as part of my training. This will help me mentally on the day as I will be familiar with them.
21. When the going gets tough I will remind myself that I can and I will do this. It's not going to be easy, but it is possible. In the words from one of my favourite running tracks "you can do anything you set your mind to"
18th December 2011