I still have more than two months until our official 16-week marathon training begins for Santa Rosa, so in the meantime, I’m in this Limbo Land (of the non-dancing kind) where I’m not required by Hal Higdon, or anyone else for that matter, to run at all much less any set distances or workouts. Yet, to be able to start training for an aggressive PR marathon, you have to actually be in pretty good shape when you take that first 10-mile long run step. So I really should be running and covering some distance.
But, because I live in a state of paranoia, I believe that running more/harder than I’m supposed to is a recipe for injury and disaster, neither of which are useful. I’m scared to actively work at getting faster now because speed training seems to be the culprit of any weird aches and pains that I get.
I’m caught in this “why would I attempt to push the pace on a long run now if I don’t have to” vs. “I HATE that it is taking me 1 hour and 20 minutes to run 7 miles.” I don’t like this place at all. It’s like I’m training, but I can’t actually train the way I want to.
I’m almost to enter into Year 3 of my runnerhood, and this is really the first time I’ve allowed a substantial break in between races, so figuring out the whole “downtime” thing is a pretty new area of study for me.
My last race distance was at the beginning of September. We continued short bouts of running 3-4 miles until December, and then with the craziness of vacations, holidays, weddings, and sickness, I pretty much didn’t lace up my running shoes for about 6 weeks. As I’m sure many of you can attest, you lose a lot in 6 weeks of inactivity. We started running again in 3 mile spurts in mid-January, but it all felt so much harder. Three miles seemed especially long, and the mere thought of ramping up to 5 miles just seemed like torture.
One Run for Boston is in about 4 weeks, and my leg is 12 miles, so we’ve been adding a mile to our run every weekend. We ran 7 last weekend, and my feet hurt far worse by the end of it than they should have.
About a month after One Run is the Albuquerque Half Marathon, and about two weeks after that is the Run for the Zoo Half Marathon which happens to fall on the same weekend as our official marathon training kick-off.
As mentioned before, I want to do both of these races, not necessarily to gauge where I’m at speed wise, but more to get in the groove of racing again.
I know that with the way I’m going, I’ll be probably hitting very substantial personal worsts in any race/relay that I do prior to official marathon training. I really (really, really) don’t like the thought of running personal worsts. At all.
On the other hand, any attempt to train for and “race” these events will likely interfere with my goal of entering marathon training uninjured and free from burnout. Santa Rosa (even though it isn’t for another 26 weeks) is my priority, and I’m trying to make decisions over the next couple of months that support that, even if it means running practice races slower than my pride will let me.
I have two months to reconcile this in my head. I know this is way overdramatic, but I’m really not a “racing for fun” type of person.
Other efforts I’m taking during “downtime:”
1) Heavy weights to build leg muscles: Weak muscles result in overcompensation (resulting in injury) in other muscles. But, heavy weights result in tired and sore legs which do not make for great runs. I’m trying to build muscle now so I don’t have to run 800’s with a sore bum.
2) Yoga: Being limber and stretched out is good. Being tight is bad. The more I can start training with un-tight muscles, the better.
3) Paying a ridiculous amount of attention to every little niggle, no matter how slight: Pulling in my calf? Lower back aches? If I notice it, I’m trying to address it immediately. I want to enter into marathon training feeling 100% because Lord knows it won’t last very long.
And, because it is Friday and Fridays are happy, here is my jam of the moment. It makes me want to dance in the streets! But not too hard. I don’t want to injure myself!
Have a fantastic weekend!