Saturday, January 31, 2015

Let's Get it Started!

Boston is a little less than 12 weeks away as I write this! It seems so close yet I have an entire training cycle to complete before I get there. So close, yet so far away and so much hard work between point A and point B. There are a lot of methods and philosophies of training and many factors go into choosing how you will make it happen. For me, I have to find the balance between performance and reality. I have to be at work 40 hours per week, I have a 5 and a 3 year old and I have a husband that is very supportive but also happens to have a 50-70 mile per week running habit. Having a running husband is a double edged sword. He understands and will do what he can to make sure I can run. On the other hand, we both need to run and someone always needs to be watching the kids so this presents some obstacles. Lets talk plans first.

As far as a training plan, I’m going to use the Pfitzinger/Douglas method.  Their book, Advanced Marathoning, is incredibly helpful. They outline their training philosophy and provide numerous variations on their plans. For my first two marathons, I used some random plan I found on the internet. I have no idea what it was. It wasn’t horrible and, the second time around, it did lead me to a BQ, but when I signed up for Chicago in 2008, I decided it was time to take it up a notch. That’s when my husband introduced me to their book. The book outlines plans of different lengths and different weekly mileage. I chose an 18 week plan that topped out at 70 miles per week for Chicago. Not only did I PR in the marathon by 18 minutes but I also PRed in every other distance too. Even in the 5k I went from a 20:45 to a 19:42 blowing away the notion that marathon training makes you slower at shorter distances. It made me a better all-around runner and prepared me for the marathon. I later used their 12 week plan that topped out at 70 miles for the Lincoln Marathon and it was an even better fit for me. Last year, I used the Smart Coach Tool from Runner’s World’s website to train for MS Blues and it was pretty good. It has similar principles but it isn’t quite as intense. I don’t know when I’ll get to run Boston again so I am going aggressive! Pfitzinger/Douglas it is!

The plan you chose for marathon training is going to depend on several factors and is a personal decision. What works for one, may or may not work for another. The only way to find out is trial and error. This will only be my 8th marathon so I have a lot to learn still but I do feel like I have a pretty good idea what works for me. I chose a 12 week plan because the 18 week plan I did in 2008 was just too long. It mentally and physically wore on me and I seemed to get the most gains in the first half of the plan. I chose the 70 mile per week cap for several reasons. I need one true rest day per week meaning no running at all on that day. Some don’t need this but I do for both physical and mental recovery. When you start going over 70 miles per week, this gets hard to do. And I'm not going to lie. 60-70 miles per week is hard on my body. There will be times in this training that I cuss life and wonder why the hell I do this to myself. The thought of 80-90 miles per week is just too much right now. Also, time is a big factor. If I were to go over 70 miles per week, I would need to take a daily nap, do more yoga, have daily massages, etc…  With a full time job and a family, these things aren’t going to happen so 70 miles it is!

The next big thing is logistics. My husband I have gotten really good at this but it is still a big challenge. We are both schedulers by nature so that helps. We also tend to alternate our training a little bit. Since having kids, we’ve never marathon trained at the same time. If one of us is working on something big, the other is training too but not putting in as many miles. Some things will have to change now that I’m training for Boston. I’ve been running at 5 am which was really freeing up my afternoons but now that I’m having to do longer mileage, I’ll have to shift to the afternoon. There’s just no good way to get an 11-15 miler in at 5 am and still make it to work on time. I talked to my boss a few weeks ago and told her I would be leaving early Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday in order to get my training in and she said that was fine. I have lots of leave and my patient schedule is usually over by 2:30 so it won’t be a big deal to cut out early a few days a week and it will really help me out. The last time I trained hard for a marathon, I was on a 4 day a week schedule working 10 hour days so I didn’t get to leave work until at least 5 pm. Most of my runs were done in the dark and I got home late. I had to be at work by 6:30 am so going before work wasn’t an option. My schedule is 7:30 to 4:00 now so I have a little bit more wiggle room. I plan to do my Thursday run in the morning still so I can free up some afternoon time for yoga-my other passion. While training for Lincoln, I hit an emotional low point and told my husband that, no matter how fast I ended up running, it wouldn’t be worth it. I of course, changed my mind later. I think the problem was being a first time mom to an 18 month old. He had just weaned a few weeks before I started training so even though my husband is a great hands on dad and had no problem taking up any slack for me, I felt really weird and guilty about it. He was also so little and my schedule was so long that I left the house before he woke up every day and if I had a long run, he might be asleep before I got home. It was tough on me. I’m in a better place now and I have a better schedule so this hopefully won’t be as hard. My husband will get most of his runs in during his lunch break and in the afternoon. Between me leaving early and daycare closing at 6 pm, we should all be able to make it happen.

So here is the plan for week one:
M-Medium Long Run 11 miles
T-8 miles w/10x100m strides
W-Medium Long Run 11 miles
R-Recovery 5 miles
S-Medium Long Run 15 miles
S-Recovery 5 miles
Total mileage: 55

I’m excited that there is no hard speed work the first week. I’ve been doing tempo runs with 6 miles on tempo pace and I just did an hour long race so I’m looking forward to just putting one foot in front of the other without having to push really hard. On the other hand, two medium long runs on random weeknights will not feel like a party. I plan to check in here at least once a week with a rundown of the past weeks training and the plan for the upcoming week.

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