#Chimarathon Participant Guide comes in the mail

Two weeks from now it will all be over.  The Chicago Marathon is on October 12th, approaching at light speed. I really want to enjoy the time leading up to the race, and then thoroughly experience Chicago while I am there.  What better way to enjoy Chicago than on foot through all of its neighborhoods?

On Saturday, this came in the mail…..

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It will go with me to packet pickup, along with my ID, to pick up my bib.  I’m starting in Corral D, bib # 12273.

Chicago will be my first of the World Marathon Majors, which also includes Tokyo, Boston, London, Berlin and New York.  Let me just say that unless I amass a large fortune in the coming years, Chicago may be the only Major I run.  Well, maybe NYC one day.  I cannot imagine how much it would cost to get to and from Tokyo to run the marathon there.  The Berlin Marathon was just held yesterday, I know someone who ran it.  Let me just say that it’s not a cheap trip from the States.  Boston?  I have to earn that one, and although not cheap, would probably be the most affordable.  But, I have to earn it.  I haven’t yet.  I’ve come close, but I’m not there yet.

So, Chicago awaits.  My recovery/training runs this past week were good.  The body feels better and better every day.  With my last marathon just two weeks ago, I am feeling pretty good about my recovery and prospects for a good race in Chicago.  September overall, has been a moderate to low mileage month for me because of the marathon a few weeks ago.  You can’t, well I can’t run multiple marathons during a season and back that up with high mileage training before and afterward.  I listen to my body, and react accordingly.  I want to have the legs to run Chicago, not burn them out.

Another interesting fact about October is that I have another marathon planned just six days after Chicago.  Wow, I’ve barely even thought about that.  Hummmm…..  Chicago first, Chicago is the focus.

Marathon training – almost there

Wrapping up another week of training, the countdown seems to be ticking away faster and faster.  I don’t know about you, but the tediousness of a long marathon training plan sometimes makes me feel like race day will never get here.

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Now just 39 days away from my BQ attempt, I have to say that training is going about as well as I can expect it to.  We had a nice break from the heat here in NC over the past five days which really helped.  I got in some quality runs, mixing in a lot of downhill work along the way.  I have to say, looking back at my training last Summer, I am certainly not putting in the miles this year like last year.  Last year in July, I ran over 110 miles.  This year like 83.  I really think the difference being that I have run five marathons this year already, and my body is still sort of in recovery mode.  Last year that wasn’t the case.  I’ve been hampered more than I care to admit by hamstring issues.  Yes, lingering issues.  Looking back at some older blog posts, I mention my hamstrings hurting damn near nine months ago.  I’ve been struggling with them, and I know it hampers my pace.  Sometimes I just can’t get loose, or it takes me a few miles before I really can get up to speed on a run.  I tell myself, just get over it, and run, but sometimes it just really is irritating, literally.

Enough about that.  It is what it is.  I will survive.  I go on vacation at the end of this month, and I will get my rest then.  I don’t plan on running at all while on vacation, so these next 25 days are really the final stretch of training.  I plan on meaningful and impactful runs mostly revolving on the downhill work.  I will try to get in two final long runs, but nothing over the top.  I know I can do the distance, and I don’t want to injure myself in an attempt to “get the miles in”.  I must arrive at August 30th feeling that I gave it my all. When I return from vacation, all I will do is some short maintenance runs in the five days leading up to my trip to Utah.  I want my legs to be fresh, and ready to take that downhill marathon by storm.

So, with a vacation involved in the final stages of this training plan, I have a taper built in.  What a great way to taper, too.  I really need this vacation.  The benefits a vacation will have on my mental game will help me too during the final stretch.

So, how is your training going?  How many days until your big race?  How do you like to taper?

Persistence pays off

Well, I did it.  I got that twelve miler in yesterday late afternoon.  

Here’s how I survived the heat and humidity….

– two changes of shirt

– two bottles of gatorade

– three sweat buffs

-plenty of Body Glide (love this product!)

-two towels

-1 hour cool down followed by a cold shower

-relaxing on the couch for three hours

How do I feel today?  Contrary to how I thought I would feel, I woke up feeling fully recovered.  That’s what training will do for you.  I thought I was going to die, but I didn’t.  Persistence in training works.  Follow the plan.  Try to be smart about when you run, and how you run and survive it.  Give your body the rest it needs to recover, and by all means stay hydrated.  That is key!

So I feel good about the next long run already.  Training for a BQ attempt sure is different from regular training.  I know what’s at stake, and it keeps me more focused and positively impacts my routine.  I know I need to put in more work than ever before, so if I don’t, my BQ attempt will be lackluster, and I don’t want that.  I want to be ready on race day.  If that means sucking it up on really hot days, the that is what it means.  Boston doesn’t come cheap.  Especially for an aging dude that’s not in 100% good physical shape.  I don’t always watch my diet, and I should.  I have to keep focused on the prize.  Eyes on the prize, as they say.

As you step out the door during the dog days of Summer, remember that goal race.  Use that goal to get you moving.  Use that goal to better yourself, however or whatever that means to you.  Best of luck out there on the road.  As for me?  Two more long runs prior to Big Cottonwood.  An 18 and a 20 miler.  That’s all that’s left.  Well, that and about 100 other training miles between now and September 13th. image

Marathon training in the Summer

I knew it would arrive.  Officially it still hasn’t arrived, but it sure feels like Summer.  Yesterday was in the lower 90’s, with oppressive humidity.  Today, much of the same.  It’s time to start planning that training plan for Fall, and how to have a successful cycle and beat the heat at the same time.

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When I look back at last years training, I am amazed.  One good thing about keeping a running log is being able to gleen some knowledge from what you have done right and wrong in the past.  From daily workouts to total monthly miles, keeping track of your workouts is important.  I’ve tried to adapt training plans from several I’ve seen online or in magazines because I just don’t believe that any one plan is better than the other.  You have to be able to mold and manipulate a plan so that it works around your home and work life, vacations, appointments, etc.  I feel this is especially important during the Summer months.  Sometimes it just doesn’t make any sense to run a 12 miler for instance, on a 100 degree day.  A Summer training plan must be kept fluid, to be successful.

Dont ask me how I did it, but last year my training in the Summer was amazingly successful.  It led to great rewards in all three marathons I ran last Fall.  After a lackluster training cycle this past winter, I have to figure out what I did differently last Summer that really set me up for success.  My running log sheds some light…..

Monthly mileage last Summer:  June 71, July 108, August 122, September 131.

All good numbers.  My conclusion?  More daylight during the Summer = more opportunities to run when it fits into my schedule and when the weather is more prime for getting that workout in.

Monthly mileage last Winter:  December 77, January 74, February 67, March 63.

To me that really tells the story.  I think commitment to getting in those miles is what held me back, and affected my race performance this past winter and Spring.  I really hate getting all bundled up and run in the dark.  I am much less enthusiastic to train in the winter.  Today’s brutal heat and humidity have me wishing for those days again.  I vow to change my strategy this year.

Mixing in some recovery this week, I really need to get started with training if I want to have a successful Fall.  I’m going for that BQ in September, with a back up race (Chicago) in October.  Let’s see if I can learn from my mistakes and grow as a runner and finally get myself to Boston.

Good luck with your Summer cycle.  How do you beat the heat and maintain your enthusiasm during the Summer months?  Any tips or tricks?  Please share….