Well, I'm a month into my training routine for the Plymouth Half Marathon and truth be told, I've hit a bit of a snag. See, I have never really run in my life - and I only stopped smoking just over a month ago, so my initial level of fitness isn't the best. I found a running schedule for beginners on the internet to prepare for a half marathon in 20 weeks and I can't keep up. Or more to the point, my fitness isn't improving fast enough to keep up with the schedule. I guess there are 'normal beginners' and then there's me.
To be fair to my already dented pride, I always thought the schedule was ambitious, to say the least. To go from wheezing, smoking couch potato to running for 30 minutes without stopping in just 6 weeks was simply never going to happen, no matter how many ice baths I take. And I haven't missed a session in the last 5 weeks or so since I started, no matter how much I hurt - I just can't progress at the level I should be according to the schedule.
At first glance, this may appear to be yet another 'Chez in massively over-ambitious and highly unrealistic doomed to fail plan shocker', but it won't be. I am training when I need to, I just need to take it more at my own pace and develop naturally and organically, rather than by some off the peg plan. The plan works on paper, but is simply unrealistic in real life.
So I have thrown it in the bin and got a more realistic plan from a friend who's recently got into running herself - I've tweaked my diet to be a bit more training-friendly - and now that my fitness is better, I'm ready to go to the gym to build up a bit of muscle so my shell-shocked body can handle it a bit better. And I'm still doing the ice baths - my legs would have fallen off by now without them. Seriously, they're not as bad as you think. Well, they are, but you get used to it.
And the marathon? Well, my plan is to not worry about it too much, just gradually keep increasing my fitness. And I suspect that if I am able to do that, to the point where I can run for more than half an hour without stopping - well, I will run, walk and crawl my way round if I have to.