How to Train for a Marathon - When You are Crawling Around the Course in a Snail Costume!
Just how does one train for a marathon when the method of getting around the course is to lay on a sled and drag yourself around with your arms whilst inside a giant snail costume?
A tricky one indeed and no orthodox marathon training programme is going to be worth following.
As a result I had to devise my own to ensure it incorporated all the rather unused muscle groups for this specific challenge.
The key to my training programme has been the following pieces of equipment:
Firstly the Concept II Rowing Machine - I have really enjoyed using this piece of equipment.
I have used a Concept II for a number of years now, but this has been the first time when it has been the really focal point on which my training programme has been concentrated.
I have been listening to the entire back catalogue of Gilbert O'Sullivan and Elton John whilst on the rower (no, this doesn’t make it harder - it does help, honest!) and my longest session has been 1 ¾ hours, with the resistance on level 9 (the maximum is 10).
An average of between 28 and 30 strokes a minute has helped to build up strength and stamina.
Using the correct technique really does provide a great workout for the arms, tummy and legs - all vital for my attempt.
The only slight drawback has been that my shirts seem a little tighter now than they were around the shoulders!
The Second piece of equipment is the Ski Erg - This is using by cross country skiers and involves pulling down on handles attached to cords with varying degrees on resistance.
Again once the correct technique is used it provides a fantastic workout for the arms and shoulders and also the thighs, as in effect the operator is doing a series of squats using their own bodyweight.
Finally the exercise bike of all exercise bikes - the Wattbike. The first thing I noticed about the Wattbike is that it has the feel of a real bike and has the capability of being able to be adjusted to provide a real customised ride.
Although it is my intention to crawl around the London Marathon, I am not going to be able to do this using my arms exclusively. My legs are needed to act as a kind of backboard to assist me pull myself along. This is where the Wattbike has proved invaluable. I need to have a strength and fitness to last me several hours a day, not just power for a short bursts which would primarily be achieved by using weights.
The other benefit of the bike relevant to me is the ability to measure the work rate of each leg. This ingenious feature is especially useful, as I prolapsed a disc in my back a few years ago, which means my left leg has gone from being my strongest to my weakest; this in turn has led to problems with my left knee.
Consistent use of the bike, with the ability to monitor the work rate of each leg, has led to a strengthening of my knee joint and minimised the problems I was experiencing.
To add a bit of entertainment to my sessions on the Wattbike which has been set up in the garage, I have set up a television and DVD. I am currently working my way through every episode of Thunderbirds.
It is unusual source of motivation but to date I can report that everything is F A B!"
So there you have it a marathon training programme with absolutely no running at all - I just hope it works, as I won't have a leg to stand on!