Monday, April 19, 2010

Marathon Training...or how to do 800 miles without leaving your neighborhood.

So, I had my mission, my objective, something to keep my eye on the ball with my running program. I love a good spreadsheet challenge, and this helped me come up with a good way to track my program. I'm not sure what the source was, but essentially I came up with a 25 week program that tacked an 18 week training program on the last 7 weeks of a mileage building schedule. I started at 25 miles per week, a distance I'd been pretty comfortable with and grew it to a peak of 43 miles/week 12 weeks before race day.

My previous marathon, gulp, 13 years earlier had been a 12 week program with only one long run of 20 miles. The current program called for 3 20+ milers, the first of which was more than 2 months before the race. This would be fun.

The other complexity to deal with was that for some unknown reason, pretty much any plan you find for free, comes with exercise and workouts scheduled for BOTH days on the weekend. Well, I didn't have that luxury. Perhaps we spoil our little P, but essentially, the wife's directive was get your weekend workouts done before 9am on Saturday. This meant getting up real early to get those long runs pretty close to completion by 9am. Yep, I remember one long run starting at 5am on a Saturday. There were a couple of 4am days too mid-week, since my runs were too long to squeeze them in after P had woken up and was ready to go to school.

I started off pretty slowly failing to complete the mileage for the first 3 weeks since I seemed to be stuck at 25 miles and the plan called for 30 by week 3. BUt I kept at it and got into a schedule.

Not sure if you're interested, but the breakout was 5 run workouts a week, Monday's were typically a 6 miler. Tuesday was half the distance of the long run on Saturday (so if the schedule called for 14 miles on Saturday, you could count on Tuesday being 7 miles). Wednesday's were make weights for mileage from 5 miles on rest weeks up to 7 miles on heavier weeks. Thursday was a rest day, Friday's were mostly a quick 4 miler in advance of the Long Run on Saturday. Sunday was another rest day.

I continued my twice weekly personal training sessions concentrating (or rather, without any specific focus) on overall body strength.

Once we had my routines (the royal "we" is used to denote the family since this pretty much became a family affair), the miles started getting consumed.

The most fun was taking P out for 4 milers in the B.O.B. "Dualli" stroller. That thing is awesome. I loved running down the road I run along regularly and seeing cars stop 100 ft ahead if the road narrowed to let me by. It's like the "wide load" carrier of jogging strollers. No one ignores that thing. It's a shame it's so darn bulky to put in the trunk. Or we'd use it more frequently.

My somewhat unreliable Nike+ helped me track the miles, but I pretty much knew how many miles were on each circuit. I've got circuits that I can run 4, 6, and 10 miles. The tough ones were the odd long runs, like 16 miles, or 22.5 miles. Those I sometimes had to make up as I went along. I ended up planning poorly on my 22.5 mile long run and ended up covering the distance still about a mile from my house. Shame on me, but I called K to pick me up. I'm sorry, I'd had it at 22.5 miles.

Another time, I remember I ran around the zoo one frosty morning at around 5am to add some mileage to a 12 miler. Even in the cold and in the dark of morning, you can tell when you're down wind from the zoo.

Next time, some more training mishaps and a Race Report!

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