For three years I didn’t seem to get any faster, but I was enjoying my running. My haIr hadn’t fallen out again and I was coping better than ever with work stress. At 57 years old I had assumed that I just couldn’t improve much, but them I saw others around me who were older or of similar age who started running later in life and were fast.
I decided 2013 would be my year to put as much into my running as possible and see what happened.
Here’s what I did:
- I went to the gym and got an exercise programme focused primarily on leg strength.
- I trained on my own, if I couldn’t find someone to run with. This meant some long chilly Sunday runs wearing beanie and gloves and many of my ‘home circuits’ alone.
- I used the foam roller which my daughter (and personal trainer), Aimee, had kindly given me as a birthday present.
- I ran three half marathons over winter, each of which was a PB (personal best).
- I took part in some club cross country events.
- I joined a Wednesday morning core strength and speed work group.
After the Rarotonga race in late September, I decided I should make the most of the winter training and I entered the Auckland Marathon. I found and downloaded the book Run Less, Run Faster and read it all the way home on the flight from Rarotonga.
For the next five weeks I trained alone until I found a running buddy, in Alison King. We connected when Alison put a post on Facebook, looking for someone to run with at 5.30a.m. That is my best time for training and so we began what has become a strong friendship. We live fairly close and fit in with each other, as much as possible, sometimes running at 4.45 a.m.
The Auckland Marathon was awesome. Having trained by the book I felt confident that I had trained properly and I HAD A PLAN. I’m slow to warm up, so even splits are not realistic for me. I Googled ‘negative split calculators’ and found MARCO. I made a wrist band, wrote on my splits, according to MARCO, for a realistic time of 5 hours. My previous best was 6 months earlier in the Rotorua Marathon, where I recorded 5 hours 15 minutes. The day was perfect and I ran to my plan. It was the easiest marathon so far and I finished 2 minutes behind my goal, in 5 hours 02 minutes. Nothing could stop me now!