Tuesday, August 25, 2009

1 Update: Marathon Training Progess


I'm headed out the door shortly for a run, but before I go, just wanted to give a brief "progress report" on my marathon training:

As many of you probably already know, this is going to be my first marathon. I've done everything from a mile to half-marathon racing distances, but have yet to conquer the marathon.

So, for the benefit of those who might also be training for their first or are curious to learn more about what's involved, I'd like to briefly share a bit of what I've been doing to prepare.

The training plan: I'm doing a modified version of the FIRST marathon training program, which has been specifically designed for first-timers. The reason I say "modified" version is that I've had to modify my goals due to some training setbacks. (One of these setbacks was an extended bout of respiratory illness in May & June that sidelined my training, & so I had to adjust accordingly. I basically went from running 10-13 miles in May to pretty much going back to the starting block with 3-4 miles!)

Also, even after I'd recovered, my training had been rather spotty from June to July, & not surprisingly, my pace had slowed down considerably from what it was back in January-April, so the goal has changed from finishing in 4:30:00 (which would be a 10:18 pace) to just finishing. :) A more realistic pace goal might be finishing under 5 hours. :)

If I ran a 11-minute/mile pace that'd put me at 4:48:12, and a 12-minute/mile pace would put me at 5:14:24.

The standard wisdom is that your half-marathon pace is helpful in approximating your marathon finish time. So, if we follow this guideline, then I should be able to finish in well under 5 hours. :)

I just ran 13.22 miles two days ago (i.e., this past Sunday), at an 11:44 pace, which is the first time since the beginning of May that I've run anywhere close to this distance, and that was almost 4 months ago. So, I'm really at the mileage rebuilding phase right now. Of course, this pace is somewhat slower than the 11:27 pace I ran during my half-marathon in the beginning of May. And honestly, my training had been rather inconsistent in the month leading up to the half-marathon race; so, if I'd have kept up the speed work I did back in January-March, I could've done a lot better in that road race. Example: During training runs for the speed development program I did back in January-April, we regularly ran 14-milers at an 11:00 pace on average, (& that was a training pace, not race speed), so I know I more than have it in me to best this time. Just earlier this year, I ran a mile in 8:30 (during a speed work session on a track), a 10K race at a 9:44 pace, and a 10-mile training run at a 10:00 pace.

Anyhow, enough about pace. I'm not trying to set any records or prove anything to anyone except myself. :) Right now, I honestly don't care about speed, because my first-time marathon training is about mileage-building. I'm a couple weeks into the FIRST marathon training program, at the beginning of week 13 (the numbering goes backward in "countdown" fashion from 18 to 1).

I base my daily and weekly mileage on how my body feels, instead of rigidly adhering to the training schedule like a pre-programmed automaton. :) Example: So, even though the program said "do 12 miles for your long run" last week, my body & brain felt like doing 13.22. :) Likewise, if I need to scale back on a particular day, I will also make the appropriate adjustments. I might toss in a shorter run somewhere in the week to make up for missed mileage, or just scale back altogether, and then be sure to get back on track the next week. Whatever I do, I try to adhere to the "10% rule" of running, never running more than 10% of the mileage I ran the previous week.

If there's one thing I've learned during my 30+ years of running & training for races, it's that it's SO important to be flexible, train gradually, and listen to your body during training; conversely, rigidity in one's approach to training typically results in illness & injury.

Anyhow, I've gone on a bit longer here than originally intended, & it's time to run, so I'll finish posting about other training details as time allows. There's so much still to cover -- fueling, hydration, sleep/naps :), gear, etc. Guess that these topics will have to wait for future blog posts. :)


One final note: Since I'm now a full-time contributing writer as well as the Managing Editor of Running Hoosier Magazine, I might very well be reversing the trend I spoke of earlier: Whereas I started this blog as a journal & it then developed into more of an "advice column" about running, I will probably be reverting this blog back into a journal while I marathon-train.

As usual, I will also continue "journaling" my running activity & experiences on DailyMile. The DailyMile posts are more in the vein of "daily running reports," whereas the marathon-training blog posts will be more about observations & reflections on the marathon-training process itself.

Due to my magazine & coaching duties, I have a finite period of time that I can spend right now on social media (including blogging), so if I'm in the mood to write an article, in all honesty, it's probably going to end up in our running publication versus here for obvious reasons. [Part of the reason for this is that any material posted to the magazine needs to be original material and can't be culled from previous blog posts. :) ]

Of course, I will continue to post/share information about running-related subjects here, but for the time being, these entries will most likely be in the form of observations and insights about marathon-training and the marathoning experience itself. :)

Basically, any findings on the marathon-training process will go here on this blog, whereas the more "journalistic" style articles will be found in the new running magazine. So, if you'd like to read those articles -- along with many other writer-runners, including Josh Cox, Chris Russell, Dane Rauschenberg, Blaine Moore, Mark Dilworth, Ann Brennan, Julianne Chai, Tim Wilson, Steve Heath, and many, many other exciting and talented writers! -- you are welcome to subscribe to our magazine, which is only $1.67 per issue (or $10 for 6 issues)!

OK, I really do have to go on that run now. Have a great morning! Later.....


1 comment:

Tim Wilson said...

Good luck with your training! Looking forward to the new distances right along with you :)

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