In the past, I’ve talked a lot about running, so I wanted to give an update on this. I’m pretty sure that I have run more this year than in any year before, but it’s still on and off. One reason I’m starting with this topic is that I am getting back into it right now and I need both a plan and some accountability.
First, there’s some catching up to do though. On 5 February 2020, I randomly ran my first half marathon in Tokyo. Yes, randomly. I was getting back into running and had planned to go on a 5 to 10 km run. I found a nice park near my accommodation where I could run laps and had access to water fountains and a toilet. And for some reason, I got so much into the zone that I just went on and on and on. If I remember correctly, I did not look at my phone or watch between 5 km and 18 km, and at that point, I thought I could just as well go for the half marathon. I ended up running 21.8 km in about 2:30. A fairly slow pace, but it was basically without training at all. For me, it was a big accomplishment because even back in 2017, I never got to the half marathon.
On 9 February, just four days later, I went for another run. I was in Kamakura at that time and it was a nice day, so I wanted to run from there to Enoshima and back. The run was nice and pretty slow with some walking, especially because Enoshima is basically a hill. (I was told afterwards that it might not have been appropriate to run on Enoshima, oops.) When I was back in Kamakura, I was at around 16 km and decided to just go for another half marathon. That was pretty crazy, two half marathons within less than a week with almost no training. (I actually made a YouTube video about that second run: https://youtu.be/Gdc92CUbYO8)
I think one reason I was able to do it was because I’ve been walking a ton during that time in Japan. It wasn’t unusual for me to walk between 20 and 25 km a day, sometimes up to 30. So my legs were at least a little bit used to it. I also was in a good mental space I think. I was so pumped about running that I actually signed up for a marathon in Japan in April, but that didn’t happen because of the pandemic, and so far I haven’t run a marathon (or another half marathon for that matter).
In the months after getting back to Germany, I picked up running again and for a while was able to do it two to three times a week. I wasn’t going for very long runs, but the habit is important. One problem I have here where I live is that there is no route that is in any way flat. No matter where I go from here, it’s always steep downhill, so at the very least I need to get back up here. I found a pretty nice 11 km route that I’ve been running a few times, but even that one is pretty steep in total.
The reason I’m getting back into running now is that I remembered a goal I had: Run a marathon before I’m turning 30. Well, that’s only about four months away, so I need to get going!
I’m going to write about my specific plan later this month, but the plan is roughly to first get going with the habit of three runs a week again, then training on my 11K route, and then running a half marathon on a flat surface in the beginning of December. From then on, I can imagine going for a long run every two weeks, slowly increasing the distance up to 30K or so. And then in February, I’ll go for the full marathon.
Since there won’t be any organized marathons for a while, I will have to organize it all myself. I was thinking about getting a friend or two to help me out, maybe accompanying me on a bicycle or, if there’s a lap I can run, setting up a station with drinks and snacks. I think I’ll be able to figure something out even though I won’t be able to participate in an official marathon event (though I definitely want to do that at some point!).
If you have any tips or recommendations about training for a marathon, feel free to let me know! I realize that 16 weeks is less than what you’d usually plan for marathon training, but I’m not aiming to run a particular time, I just want to do it at all. Also, with what happened in February with my random half marathons, I’m pretty optimistic that I’ll be able to do it. 😅