Two years ago, I started doing a reflection of my marathon training every Monday in a series aptly titled Marathon Reflection Monday. In this weekly series, I would detail what type of workout I was doing each day along with analyzing what was going well and what needed improvement. It really forced me to stay on top of maintaining good habits while also giving me a record of everything that I was doing to reach my lofty first marathon goals. You can lie to yourself, but you can’t lie to your blog friends.
It is a goal of mine to reintroduce this weekly series, even though I don’t think I’ll be calling it Marathon Reflection Monday anymore because CHEESINESS. Also, promising something on a Monday is kind of setting us up for failure. I would have already been behind on week 1 since today is Tuesday.
Marathon training started one week ago. Unlike most of you crazies, it is my preference to only train for 1-2 races big per year. My last big race was at the beginning of September, so I’ve spent the last 7 months happily doing things that aren’t training (mostly home improvement projects…house update post coming soon!). While this has helped me get to the start of training excited and hungry to work my ass off, it also means that I’m really out of practice.
For example, Garmins need to be charged or they will die. Similarly, dehydration will cause side stitches and lots of them. Not to mention that when you start getting the clammy cold sweats, you might be close to throwing up. All valuable lessons that I learned this week.
THIS is why I need the 18 week plan…two of those weeks are purely there to use as a grace period.
MONDAY: 3 mile recovery run
TUESDAY: 800 repeats: By race time, my goal is to consistently hit the 800 meter distance in 3:25 for 8-10 repeats which loosely translates to a “Yasso 800” workout (no, I don’t buy the concept, but I do use it to determine my 800 speed). This week we started at 4 repeats. I was running the last one at the 3:25 pace when I got sick. So, I guess this means that I have a long way to go.
WEDNESDAY: 3 mile recovery run
THURSDAY: Tempo run (10/10/10): I forgot to charge my Garmin, and it died 7 minutes into the 10 minute warm-up, so I really have no idea how I did for the speed part which was supposed to be at marathon pace (eventually, I would like this to be in the 7:50 minute range, but for now I’m working toward an 8:00 minute mile). My shoulders did tense up which I know only happens when I run faster than I’m comfortable, so I hope that was a good sign.
FRIDAY: Rest day: we were thinking of doing yoga, but I ended up having to work later than anticipated, so we just drank wine instead. Working out on a Friday night is lame.
SATURDAY: 11 mile long run: for me, the long run is the best gauge for what I’m capable of on race day. In order to feel confident going into Santa Rosa, I want to run my last 20 mile run at a “cruising” 8:50 average pace. Until that point, I want to keep my average somewhere between 1 minute to 1.5 minutes slower than goal race pace. Getting time on my feet and building endurance are far more important to me during long runs, so, especially this early, pace isn’t a primary focus. I ran 11 miles at an average of 9:34 per mile, which is exactly where I wanted to be.
SUNDAY: 5 mile recovery run: I know it isn’t a popular training method, but we do utilize back-to-back longer runs on the weekend in order to get more miles on tired legs. I did this for Chicago but laid off it a bit for Boston. In the end, I think it helped so much more to do the two long runs on the weekend. In the next week or so, the Sunday long runs will work themselves up to marathon goal pace and in general are about half the distance as the Saturday long run. First week in, we used it as a recovery run instead of a speed workout.
TOTAL MILES: About 30 (I’m estimating 4 miles for the tempo run)
WHAT WENT RIGHT: Getting all of the miles in, and feeling like each workout was a quality one and a step toward reaching my goals. Also, I’ve started my visualizations. I’m imagining what I will put as my facebook status when I hit my goal time on race day! (kind of kidding, but not really).
WHAT NEEDS IMPROVEMENT: Nutrition (during the week…all bets are off during the weekend), hydration, sleep, foam rolling twice a day, core exercises, weight lifting (so…just about everything except the running).
Overall, aside from little mishaps, I’m very pleased with how this week turned out. I’m finally getting to the place where my body is embracing distance training. I feel so much stronger going into this race than I did for Chicago two years ago (plus, I have the benefit of now having 2 full training cycles and races under my belt). I’m still terrified that something is going to go completely wrong, but this first week back was incredibly reassuring that I have the ability to reach my goals and a that 3:25 marathon is an actual possibility.