That’s right folks. Marathon training officially BEGUN! I feel psyched, ready, and admittedly a little nervous.
I kicked off my official training plan this morning with 8 miles, including 10 x 100 meter strides. I didn’t wear a watch, so both my effort and distance on the strides were all by guess-timation, but they were actually fairly enjoyable! I liked the switch-up in turnover rate. I feel like I have a decent gauge of what 100 meters looks/feels like from my track days, so essentially I just picked objects in the distance and sprinted to them. A little fartlek-y. Ugh, talk about making a gross word grosser. But you get the point. It was a good run.
I really liked doing weekly recaps when I was training for Chicago, so I’ll do my best to get my training weeks up here on Mondays. Some of you might find them boring, so I apologize, but they really help me a lot—so, yea…sorry?
I’m very much equal parts excited and nervous for this marathon training kick-off to begin. Excited because, as I’ve said before, I’ve never quite had the base like I do now. I’m anxious to apply the running I’ve been doing these past 3 or so months into a very structured training schedule. My miles won’t end up being all that much higher than what I’ve already been doing, however they will be much more strategic and organized than what I’ve done in the past. I’m releasing the reigns, in other words, and I love it. Letting the expertise of others feels like the right approach this time around, and hopefully the results will reflect that decision.
However, I’m a little ball of worry about this spring as well. Historically, spring has not been good for me training-wise. Two years ago, after a half-marathon and way too much over-training/stupidity, I tore my hip flexor and was out until the beginning of July. I’m not really worried about something that extreme happening again (read: I like to think I am a much smarter/safer runner nowadays), but it’s more the haunting memories that get to me.
Also, last year I got sidelined with bad knee bursitis while training for this very same marathon. Luckily, due to some rest, cortisone, and rearranging, I was still able to run a Spring marathon (though not Eugene)….only to be struck down (literally) by a bad race and a heaping side of IT band syndrome.
In other words, spring has historically not been my strongest months. Which sucks, because the idea of spring running is always appealing to me. More sun! Flowers! Birds! Birthday month!
It’s time to reverse the cycle though. While I definitely don’t like the feeling that bad luck is waiting for me every time the calendar turns to March, I also know that prevention is the best weapon against almost all running-related plagues.
I’ll be switching up just about everything regarding this training schedule, and I’ll therefore also be switching up my dedication to injury prevention. It has always been easy for me to say that I’ll hold off if something hurts, and that I’ll stretch more, roll more, and ice anything that feels “off.” Doing these things is a whole other thing—and if there’s one thing I’ve learned through my bouts of training/recovering, it’s that training for a marathon requires much more than the miles.
So, you can consider this my oath to train both on and off the roads. I will not be brought down by another spring monster, in fact—I refuse it, and I’m trying to internalize the fact that I am actually in complete control of my training.
Nothing changes if nothing changes.
And speaking of such, I decided not to run the 25k race yesterday. After receiving the opinions from you lovely people, as well as a scary-tough-love opinion from my dear mother, I realized something: It wasn’t the distance that was an issue, it was the fact that it was a race.
Yes, no matter if it’s a months-in-the-making goal race, or a haphazard, low-key neighborhood run that happens to include bibs, I have a very hard time not racing a race. Even when I decide to “take it easy” or “promise I’m not going to race,” I will always run faster than I would have on a normal long run, and—should the opportunity be available—I will try to perform well. Last year, I won the 25k, and even though I would have vowed to not take this race seriously—I can guarantee I would have tried to win again.
Maybe I’m just a huge asshole. Maybe I’m just too competitive. Either way, I know myself well enough to know that “racing” 15.2 miles the day before marathon training is supposed to start wouldn’t go along with the theme of keeping myself healthy. It probably would have been fine, I probably would have had a great time, but even that ounce of possibility that it would have takne away from my planned training program wasn’t worth the risk.
So instead, I still ran long. I waved at people racing along the way, and although I was a little sad I wasn’t there with them—I was glad that I went against my instincts this time. Again, nothing changes if nothing changes—and if the decisions I’ve made in the past have lead me into injury-ridden corners of sadness, well, I’ll be steering clear of them.
And on one final, somewhat unrelated note, I give you a photo from the weekend:
I cannot tell you how fun it was to spend a weekend day not running, sitting on the couch, shopping at Target, or running around trying to do every errand possible. Those things are good sometimes, but sometimes it’s better to switch it up by spending a day outside in the mountains.
My shins still hurt from my boots and my back still hurts from my bad posture, but Saturday was one of the best days I’ve had in a while. I can completely understand how people abandon all other weekend activities during the winter in favor of heading for the slopes and the snow.
And in a completely apbrupt, non-transitional ending to this post, have a good week everyone!