For the first time in my life, I have actually followed a training program in preparation for a race. The race in question is the Marine Corps Marathon. If anyone recalls, my last marathon was a bit of a disaster in my own opinion. So, this race I decided to do some reading and find some support. I found one book that help quite a bit. Marathoning for Mortals by John Bingham & Jenny Hadfiel. Based on this book, I found a plan to follow. I used a website to help create a calendar of my training program which I was then able to put in all of nerdy devices to keep track of when and how far I was running. The site I use is www.yourtrainingcalendar.com . This site uses the Hal Higdon training program. So, armed with a calendar, a plan, a book, a Garmin and the supportive running community at DailyMile, I set off to train.
I have found sticking to a training program more exhausting than the way I use to train. I use to train as to how I felt. If I felt like skipping a day, I skipped it. If I felt like only running 4 miles, only 4 miles I ran. The plan started me out slow. This was a very annoying process. Add to that I was to run slower than normal. This was a change for me. I am used to going all out as hard as I can. Now, I was being trained to reserve some energy. It all mad eperfect sense. I got it. I just, didn't like it.
I kept up with my plan. Only on occasion skipping a run due to parenting, work or a slight knee pain. This was also something new to me. For the past few years I have ran, I have had some nagging pain or injury every other month. Now that I was training "properly", the only pains I ever really felt was the soreness after the Sunday long runs. I'll take that. A challenge came a few weeks into training. Roads are...boring. I needed some trail. Some excitement. Some dirt! I ran a couple trail 10Ks, known as the Blue Crab Bolt. Fun races, great people, highly recommended. Soon after, on my long runs, boredom was really setting it. I couldn't find any new (or old) music to keep my mind active while on the long run. I turned to audio books. I have made it through almost the entire Born to Run book. This not being a very exciting book, but very informative which leads to my next challenge.
Information overload is the next challenge I seemed to have. I have many running friends and they all have an opinion. Books, websites, magazines...it can be overwhelming. I started to ignore some of these. And yes, I even ignored some people. Not all, but some. I also tossed some books and magazines to the side too. After while, it seems every thing you do, someone or something will say you are doing it wrong. I saw that I needed to commit to one train of thought or I would never get started. Hal Higdon won.
I was feeling good. I was feeling strong. And then, I get sick. That seems like once I get to a point where I feel as if I can do a marathon tomorrow, something happens. With my marathon, MCM, only 5 weeks away I was started to worry. My "illness" lasted a weekend. I missed one long run. Runs after that were sluggish and reserved. However, I noticed how fast I was bouncing back. I wasn't up to the same speed as I had been before, but I saw how fast I was recovering. Maybe this plan is working?
Taper. I have heard about it. I have heard the stories of going nuts from not putting the miles in. I have heard stories of 'you don't need to taper'. Again, information overload. He is the truth. I am welcoming the taper. I have out in many miles over the past few months. I have tried to follow the plan as much as possible. Now, I enter in the my taper week before the marathon. THANK YOU! Now, this does't mean I can go out and drink beers and eat burritos all night. Now is the week where I need to watch what I eat, stretch, hydrate and most important...relax.
So with many miles of training behind me, around 462, I think I am ready. I am confident I will finish. I am confident that I will have a good time. I am pretty sure I can make my target time of 4 hours. I have my iPod playlist ready. I have a couple things to pick up this week, GUs and some new socks. All the prep work is done. It's time to put a training program to the test.