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?

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….

Uber Fatigue

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This past week has been one of those weeks.  A week of very early mornings, lots of work, and little play time.  Do you ever have one of those weeks?

Just trying to muster up the strength to get any exercise has been a challenge.  I think I’ve run about 14 miles total this week.  Actually looking at it now, I am surprised I was able to get that tally.  I’ve just not been getting enough sleep, and certainly not enough fun.  Yeah, I know my body is in full on recovery mode, too, which doesn’t help the overall feeling of listlessness.  It just makes me crazy to feel run down.

I managed a few decent, albeit short runs this week.  One day I would feel decent, the next, just so tired.  I laced up though, even when my body said “no”.  Just getting in a few miles helped my mind and heart get a brief uplifting.  I just find it difficult to mix in enough rest, all the while still wanting to get in some training miles.

So, what’s up next?  Well, the marathons are over for the season.  No more until September.  Body says thank you.  I only have one half marathon in two weeks, and a 10k the following weekend.  That’s it.  Seems simple, yes?  The honest fact about racing is this.  I love it.  I love having a race in the near future to look forward to.  This will only last though for another few weeks.  Come June 7th, after the 10k, I will have nothing on the books for the entire Summer.

Once I get it through my head that I am not racing all Summer, I plan on using June, July and August to rest and rebuild this machine.  Taking care of this mid 40’s body, and reenergizing it.  Back to basics, ironing out a new training schedule, and following it.  Hopefully starting back at square one will get me that BQ in September that I want so badly.

Time to hit the “Reset” button so I don’t feel like this anymore.

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