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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

So, what's the plan?

I am a data/number person. I like to know what to expect, and I don’t like surprises. I like facts and concrete information. As it turns out, following a training program for a marathon (or any distance) is an especially fitting activity for me. I can plan exact distances, times, schedules, repeats, and paces. I log it all into a calendar, follow it, and monitor how the whole thing is going. It's all right there on paper, written down for me to track. While this planning doesn't always translate to the outcome I am looking for, it helps me prepare. Will it make me fast like Kara Goucher (as pictured). I bet not. But, it helps me get to the finish line! Most importantly for me is the mental preparation rather than physical. I can usually keep my legs moving as long as my brain is in it. I am much more easily defeated by too many negative thoughts than legs that won't move, and knowing what I am facing and how I have prepared to get to the end point makes it much less intimidating and much more doable. If I have a plan, I am pretty obsessive about following it, and as a result, I have some confidence that it will pay off in the end. I read magazines and books and online articles and emails. I talk to people and get their opinions about what works and what doesn't. I like whatever information I can get my hands on. I read, and go back and re-read again. Often more than twice. There is so much information out there, and it opens my eyes to new ideas and new plans. What to eat. How to be safe. What to wear. How fast to run around the track. How to run better up a hill. Good manners. What not to eat! This is not to say that a lot of it doesn't go in one ear and out the other, and there is certainly a lot of stuff I hope to follow, but don’t. But, I keep learning and over time adapt to what works best for me.

And so after training last year and running through until now, I will begin an 18 week marathon training program on Monday. I've put together a program that I believe works best for me, and what I think will help me cover the distance in April. I've taken parts of a few training programs and put them together to fit what works for me. The long run plan is by Hal Higdon, the addition of cross training is from the FIRST program out of the Furman Institute for Running, and the weekly runs are from Jack Fultz, the training advisor for Dana-Farber. My plan will be to run between 25 and 40 miles a week with 2 days of yoga/strength training and two days of cross training. I've found that not having consecutive days of running (broken up by the cross training) keeps me a little more motivated and prevents running burn out. One of my weekly runs will be at the mercy of Dennis Floyd, the coach for the Y Endurance group I have been running with and will cover the speed work included in my plan. Cross training for me is usually on the stationary bike although I would really like to add some lap swimming if I didn't feel completely intimidated by getting in the pool. I have added some stair climbing in an effort to strengthen my quads and hip flexors for the hills at the end of the Boston course, and am adding some other strength training in in hopes that it helps towards the end of the marathon when stopping to chat with the crowds becomes much more appealing than continuing to run. It's all printed and ready to go. Week 1 starts Monday. 126 days to the starting line in Hopkinton.

Be good. Be strong.

1 comment:

  1. Well, let it begin. The official start of your program. Through rain and wind and snow (and maybe some treadmills), the kids and I will be smiling proudly as you finish 126 days from now. We will probably be smiling proudly pretty much everyday when it comes to you, but especially big that day. I hope everyone gives a honk when they see a wicked fast runner chewing up the miles this winter.