CIR Program note: Join me live here on the blog during the early morning broadcast of the women’s Olympic marathon 6 am ET, Sunday, August 5th. I’ll be live blogging through the event and you can live comment through it and that way we can feel like we are watching it together but no one has to get out of their PJ’s. GO TEAM USA!!!!!!
Marathon training started this week! Yahoo! I am signed up for the Philadelphia Marathon , set for Sunday, November 18th. As previously noted, this is race is a favorite of mine for a number of reasons. In the spirit of my Lizzie, here is a list why:
1. Mid-November is usually prime running weather in the Northeast. Many years have been near perfect conditions – bright sunny skies, high temps in the 50s or 60s.
2. The course is fantastic – plenty of eye candy to keep your mind occupied (Center City, Fairmount Park, Kelly Drive, Manayunk) and not too hilly, which suits this flatlander just fine (all my hill work is completed on Ocean Drive bridges. Not ideal, but it’s what I have to work with!).
3. The crowds are great. There are also quiet parts of the course, but I like that. I don’t mind slipping inside myself for periods of time and when you do once again hit a wall of spectators, it feels even more exciting. There is something wonderfully human about marathon spectating – the people who are willing to spend their day cheering on a loved one for few seconds and then hours of cheering on strangers speaks volumes of what our species is capable of. Philly does not disappoint as there is usually a group of people in the Park that dress up in 80s workout clothes and dance to songs like “Let’s Get Physical”, there are the hootin’ and hollerin’ frat boys and sorority sisters, and the people in Manayunk party like it’s 1999, despite the fact that it is 9 am.
4. The race has become more popular in the years that I have been participating (almost doubling in size!) but the race director has done a really good job of growing it smartly. It is very well organized, from the bib pick-up, to the bag drop in UPS trucks, to the corral start (hurray for running with people at your same pace and not being hemmed in!), to the finish line, where despite there being tens of thousands of people, you don’t feel like you have to walk forever to reunite with yours (I’m looking at you, Chicago).
But to enjoy all those things, I first have to make it to the start line. This can be easier said than done – most marathon training plans are ~16 weeks and an awful lot can happen to derail your plans in 4 months. Family emergencies, injuries, unexpected life events and sometime just a lack of motivation can all conspire against you. I am among the runners of the world that is very goal driven and wild horses couldn’t drag me away from a plan once I have committed to it. It’s a blessing and a curse (just ask GD or Lil Sis what a joy I can be because it’s not just race plans that I have a hard time of letting go of once I have my mind set on something!), but for marathon training it’s a blessing. Unless I lose a limb, I’ll be there… and even that is questionable, cause I am kinda a little in love with the Flex-Foot Cheetah and would definitely hop on that carbon fiber train.
I thumbed through a fair number of training plans trying to decide which to try this time around. I want to PR so I needed a plan to help me achieve that. My current PR is 3:57:59 (Garmy said I hit 26.2 at 3:55:xx but that’s not official). This number drives me crazy. Crawl the walls, strap me in a straightjacket and videotape me crying about leaving Britney Spears alone bat-shit crazy! Yes, I am proud of it and worked hard for it… but according to running calculators like this one, my times at other distances would suggest a much faster marathon. These potential marathon times that the calculator so casually presents to me are the digits I obsess over. “What if, what if, what if?” each footfall during training seems to say.
I will be using the intermediate plan (see below) I found in Runner’s World a few months ago, with some Kashi tweaks. I will try to do as much hill training as South Jersey allows and round it out with more speedwork than is called for to make up the difference. I prefer to have Mondays and Fridays off, so I will follow a Tuesday (speedwork or hills), Wednesday (easy), Thursday (tempo or some MP mixed with easy), Saturday (long run) and Sunday (easy) schedule. I will add more tempo work to Thursday workouts than is called for, since I really feel it was the tortuous tempo runs that helped me run my fastest half-marathon. I will probably add a few more miles in the early weeks, since I am regularly running more than 30 miles right now and I hate going backwards (but I will do this by feel since the speedwork and tempos I will be doing incorporates faster paces than I have run in some time, so it will be critical to make sure my body feels fresh and lower mileage may be the answer to that). I really love that this plan has multiple 20 (or 22) milers, I think that is going to be perfect for building for mental toughness and confidence. I am also excited to see how the foundation I laid during ultra-running training will translate to this cycle.
Among the many running rituals I engage in is this one – I must have a handwritten plan that hangs on my fridge (I then log the outcomes of all these runs in Excel. Sounds obsessive, but it is an incredible training tool that most running nuts use – whether it is in Excel, on Training Peaks, or through their Garmins, those numbers are the key to cracking your running code). I like standing in front of it, looking at the weeks of running to come and picturing what those long runs are going to be like (as much as I appreciate what tempo runs do for me, nothing will ever touch my love of going long).
I have much more to say about marathon training, but for Pete’s sake, we have 4 months! I’ll shut my trap for now and just look forward to all the training tales we will share as we enter the fall race season together!
What training plans do you follow?
Do you change them up, or follow to the tee?
What is your favorite part of training?
See ya Sunday!! Go Desi (provided she starts, hoping so!), Shalane and Kara!