Thursday, August 25, 2016

Marathon Training

I'm training for a marathon. This October, I am signed up to take part in the 2016 Newport Marathon.47 days to go.

 So I'm training and running more than I have in the past. However, while my training has been inspired by the Hal Higdon marathon training plan, I've also kind of been doing my own thing. In order to clarify, let me talk about my goals.

Marathon training goals

  • Train sufficiently so that I can finish the marathon, running most of the way. Time does not matter. Having a good experience does.
  • Enjoy training. See training runs as an adventure and opportunity to explore new areas where I live.
  • Avoid hating running when I am finished with training for the marathon.
  • While training will involve a significant amount of time, I do not want it to take over my life.
  • Allow energy for the other physical activities I enjoy:
    • Strength training and attending the strength and conditioning class at the Amherst College gym (which I love!)
    • Hiking and going for walks
    • Riding my bike to work daily
    • Obstacle course races (super super important!) 
  • Have the ability to do the long runs without problems. (i.e. Having the ability to run the distances.)
  • Don't get injured. (I'm not prone to injury, but I want to be careful. I've heard statistics that up to 70% of first-time marathoners get injured during training. Note I don't know where this statistics is cited from, so take it with a grain of salt.)
As a result, I've implemented my training in an interesting way. 

Marathon training implementation
  1. Run three days a week, strength train two days, one day of cardio/strength training of my choice or doing an obstacle course race, one rest day.
  2. Calendar out all my long runs, making sure that I work around my obstacle racing schedule.
  3. Skipping the midweek long runs for two weekday moderate runs of 4.5 miles and then the weekend (extra!) long run.
  4. Execution of plan!
My ultimate goal of having trained enough to finish the marathon running most of the way and generally enjoying myself has yet to be realized. However, I can speak to some of the other goals and how they're working.

Over the past few weeks, I have begun to tackle some of the longer runs. Recently, I did a 15 miler. This was a couple of weekends ago. It was hot -- think 80s and humid. However, for the first 13 miles, I felt totally fine. I have charted out a running route that takes me along the bike path and through parts of Belchertown before returning me to Amherst. This run has allowed me to discover a bunch of new places that are close(ish) to my house and that I never knew existed. Case in point: Arcadia Lake and the Belchertown Town Beach. These were lovely discoveries along my 15 miler. 

Mid-week, I have been doing my standard 4.3 mile loop near my work. Again, I frequent the bike path. I also enjoy doing about a mile of trail running along the Emily Dickinson Trail -- this loop is great for variety. I usually do this run on Mondays and Wednesdays at a moderate pace and leave my long runs for Saturdays.

This past weekend, I tackled a 16 mile run. Because of my strategy of adventure and exploration, I ended up running uphill for almost two miles between miles 10 and 12 -- not ideal! Still it was fun to run along the bike path in Northampton and Leeds and then explore some of the lovely farm area in Leeds, a town I have not really ever visited.

The marathon training journey is ongoing. I will admit to not wanting to go for a long run some Saturday mornings. Last Saturday it was kind of a challenge to leave the house after a rough night sleep. However, it must be said things are going well. I have been able to complete all my runs, I usually spend the bulk of the time I am running relaxing and enjoying the scenery -- generally having fun -- and I think I am able to balance my running with my other interests. Fingers crossed that all this gets me across the finish line in October.

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