Long weekend runs. Quicker miles during the week (whether I feel like it or not). A little less strength training. Learning to balance more mileage with long days training at the gym. Fueling on the go. Welcome to marathon training.
I wanted to share a few thoughts about how things are going on the running front as this is my first time training for a marathon and following a training plan of any kind. I only had about 10 weeks to officially train for it as I decided later I would run the Banff Marathon. Here’s a glimpse at training so far…
I’m following Hal Higdeon’s first-timer marathon training plan, “Novice 2.” This is for someone who is running their first full but is comfortable running half marathons and is generally fit. So far it’s been great, although I need to find a new way to get strength training in as it’s taken too much of a backseat, in my opinion. A typical week will have Mondays as rest days, Tuesdays with around 5 miles (a bit faster), Wednesdays with 8 miles (at pace), 5 miles on Thursdays (a bit faster than race pace), rest on Fridays, long run on Saturdays and cross training on Sundays. But lately I’ve been taking Sundays to rest and that’s impacted the rest of my week, as does the power cardio class I teach on Tuesdays (think LOTS of squat jumps, tuck jumps, push ups and other dynamic, explosive movements). Sometimes I switch my mid-week runs a day back and start on Mondays, and today I had a GREAT strength training workout…felt great to get back in the gym and lift some iron!
I’m pretty flexible with what I do and am mainly concerned with getting it all in rather than following the days exactly. Those long runs are important for building my mental strength – if I’ve done up to 20 miles in training, I know I can stay strong mentally to gut the rest out – and my mid-week runs are important for helping get the miles in on tired legs and practice going a bit faster.
In general, I stick with what I know and have used before, and that’s GU’s! I buy a few every week at MEC (Canada’s “REI”) and take the first about an hour in (just after 6 miles for me) and the second about an hour later and only on my long runs. But now that I’m starting to run for more hours (this weekend’s 18 miler took me 2 hrs 55 min), fueling is becoming trickier. I need to bring 3 GU’s or something else. In the past, I’ve used dried cherries in little baggies, jelly beans and gummy bears, but the GU’s seem to go down easy and don’t bother me. Any thoughts on ways I can improve my fueling or add something else in?
As far as my food in general, I’m eating the same ol:
farm fresh eggs from a client (so grateful for her generosity!), green smoothies from time to time, the rare protein bar (mainly Simply Bars if I do have them), lean meats and trying not to carb out too much.
This past weekend I had an 18 mile run on the plan. 18 miles! I’ve written before that mentally it seems to help me if I think less and just to get out there, move and explore with more of an “outdoor adventure” than a “long run” mindset. I was pumped because the forecast was great and the sun was shining and because my 16 miler the weekend before had gone fairly well.
But then, I stepped outside and was hit by the wind. Oh man, the wind! It was brutal. Often in Calgary the warmer temperatures come but what accompanies it is the wind, and it seemed to hit me in the face from every direction regardless of where I turned.
(Here I am waving to my family down in CA, many of whom were hiking in Lake Tahoe this weekend together! This picture doesn’t do it justice, but my dreads were flapping around in the wind!)
It was not easy, but I decided to embrace the weather, be happy for the sun and realize that it could be crazy-windy like this on race day, you never know. It was great until about 2 hrs, 30 min in where the movement just started to get hard. Upon finishing, I was so happy to have accomplished it but couldn’t believe I’d be running for at least another hour (I’d love to hit 4 hrs but for my first marathon don’t know if I can! Thinking 4:15-4:30 might be a more attainable goal for those last unknown miles). The doubts started creeping in a bit, but I’m convinced that to finish a marathon is more mental than anything (not to discount the physical!), so I’m working on bolstering my brain. 🙂
I love the feeling of accomplishment post-long run. I’ve always felt like I could tackle anything the rest of the day after running 10 miles; now I’m running 18 and while I’m not jumping off the couch ready for more action, that sense of accomplishment is still there and that feels great!
Also, I’ve discovered that I’m getting a bit faster. I’ve simply been logging more miles and didn’t think I could keep up some faster-than-race-pace speeds over 5 and 8 mile distances, but it’s happening! That’s an awesome thing to see. My 8 mile times have dropped from more like 1 hr 15 min to 1 hr 12 min without me even trying. Thankful for this discovery!
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That’s about all I’ve got on marathon training to date. Anyone else out there training for their first full like me? Anyone got some inspiring words of wisdom for this marathon newbie?
It’s been a long, full day of clients. Tomorrow I’ve got another 5 miles on the plate and my long run drops a bit to 13 miles – wahoo! I’m oddly excited for when I approach that 20 mile run…but for now, I’ll keep foam rolling, keep fueling well and keep up the miles!
Live well & be well friends,