For some the Autumn marathon season is already starting. Saysky athlete Paul Navesey is going to share his journey to the Frankfurt Marathon. 

We recently featured Sussex based Paul Navesey about his journey from ultra running to 2:18 marathoner and as a reward for his hard work Navesey is representing England at the Frankfurt marathon this Autumn. There can’t be too many athletes who got their England vest as an ultra runner before their vest as a marathoner.

Over the next few months the Alison Benton coached athlete will share his training, thoughts and ups & downs of the marathon training cycle with the Fast Running audience. So here’s the first of a series following the Crawley AC club record holder.

Getting the ball rolling

You’ve got an Autumn marathon place, so better start training at some point. The early weeks of marathon training are important. You have a goal that is exciting, is far enough away that it isn’t daunting & motivation is likely very high.

So, how to get it right from the start?

Don’t stress

Times and paces will likely not be quite where you’d like early on. If you are injury free, healthy and able to train at the required volume. Ideal.

I have an excellent coach in Allison Benton. Recently she has reminded me, more often than she would like to, that I don’t need to be, or necessarily want to be, at my fittest now. The only time you need to be able to run 26.2 miles of marathon pace is on race day.

Hit your early sessions, train smart, pace accordingly. A session doesn’t need to be run at PB pace to be a quality  session.

Fuel the fire

Marathon training is hard work. You are planning to run 42.195km, most likely faster than you ever have before. From the very beginning fuel your body to maximize your long workouts, lots of time on feet runs, double days and of course the S&C sessions. Don’t let your body down and it won’t let you down!

You also need to think about what you’ll be eating on race day so better to start practicing that as early as possible too. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve spoken to athletes in race week who don’t have a plan for their food on race day.

Love racing, but not too much

I love racing. More so than any thing else in running, I love to race. However, I have learned in previous build ups that it can take a lot out of you. If you want to to race, do so. Allow for them, ease up a little before hand and don’t rush back to those tough sessions too soon after.

They can be an honest measure of fitness and are really good fun! Don’t race everything out of yourself before you’ve even got to the marathon startling.

Photo of Paul and his coach Alison Benton. Photo: Tom Craggs

My training

July is the first month of my marathon build up to Frankfurt in Oct. Following a run of races and results that far exceeded my expectations early on in the year I was very disappointed to not make a couple of planned races post Brighton Marathon. However, my first 4 weeks is now well underway. I have hit a couple of early tempo sessions and I eventually made a couple of races! Listening to your coach really does work!

As the base builds in running so does the gym work. As with most athletes we know our weak spot. How often do you hear “Oh yeah my hamstrings are always tight”, “If I get a niggle it is always my calf”  or “I have had achilles issues on and off for years.”

We are all managing something, it is always important to work on those as much as your time permits. It can be the difference between 12 weeks of uninterrupted build up or a stop start build up. Do you want your 2:19, 2:29, 2:59, 3:59? Or would you prefer 2:21, 2:31, 3:01, 4:01?! Do your S&C!

As I mentioned, I finally made a couple of races. I am always really keen to support locally organized events where possible so had a real blast racing the Phoenix 10k and have recently run the MK5000 PB Special organized by Elliot Hind. Two very different events but both hugely enjoyable, with the 5000m track race being a big shock to the system. The best way to support these events is to turn up, run hard and tell everyone about it (we all enjoy talking about our running right?!).

What’s Next…

Heading into the next four weeks I have one more race lined up, another local event at Withdean in Brighton organized by Tom Ulliott of Brighton & Hove AC. Each year he organises his Birthday Boys 10,000m (Aug 1st) & 5000m (Aug 22nd). The entries for the 5000m are still open, get down there and give Stephen Ferroni some company for 12.5 laps. [Paul actually ran a new track PB of 30:25 last night – Robbie]

I will be building in some longer tempos and the mileage (kilometre-age?!) will increase slightly. The extra volume will come as a result of increased session length and a bit more time on feet for those long runs… Anyone free on a Thursday morning, company always welcome.

If you want to follow Paul on his journey then he’s on Strava and has a red hot Instagram game.

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