Marathon training, that is.
To be honest, I didn’t think another marathon was in my future. The idea of it seemed fun as I tracked fellow runners’ training and PRs each spring and fall. I wanted to run the five boroughs in New York, snag a fresh PR on the flat streets of Chicago or even tackle the endless hills in Austin. But in the end it was apparent I wasn’t interested in actually training for a marathon: I was just interested in the idea of it. Philly 2012 had stolen my marathon mojo and it took almost two years before I felt comfortable committing to the distance again.
September 15, 2014 :: Training for the Houston Marathon Begins
There’s just something about a freshly [somewhat]-finalized training plan that gets me excited about the months to come. I’ve tweaked the colors, researched tune-up races and pondered the pros + cons of running more than one 20-miler. Last week I decided to shift our running schedule from Mon/Tues/Thurs/Sat to Tues/Wed/Fri/Sun, mostly so we could spend Sunday afternoon on the couch with Shiners free of guilt. Can’t say I’m 100% sold on the plan because the idea of running long on Saturday morning and having the rest of the weekend free is incredibly appealing. But based on our track record when it comes to dinner and a not-so-early bedtime on Friday night, Sunday miles will most likely be a better decision than Saturday ones.
The one major difference between this plan and plans of the past is the number of running days. I’ve generally steered clear of running back-to-back days because that seemed to be when my shin splints would flare up, resulting in time off and training setbacks. After registering for Houston, I wanted to make a conscious effort to add an additional running day each week. In order to do this safely, I added an extra day every other week for two months, followed by every week for another two months and never upped my mileage by more than 10% from week to week. This may have been overly cautious but in the end it was successful so I don’t regret spending the time on it. Over the past few months I also paid attention to my cadence and stopped over-striding, which in turn eliminated that evil all-too-familiar heel strike.
On the other hand, this slow progression also resulted in something I’m not all that excited about: loss of speed. I’ve never been anything remotely close to ‘fast’ but to see what my overall pace is now compared to what it used to be is depressing. And of course running in the summer isn’t helping my spirits either. Once the weather cools down [November? December? Marathon day?] we’ll be transitioning our Wednesday run to a speedwork session. The internet tells me that if you want to run fast, you have to train fast. And if it’s on the internet, it MUST be true.
I’ll stop rambling now and give you the most important piece of the puzzle: the official Houston Marathon 2015 Training Plan:
18 weeks may seem a long to some, but I like having the flexibility in case life happens and we need to reschedule a run. There isn’t much wiggle room in a 12 week plan and that makes me nervous. I’m sure the mid-week runs will get adjusted along the way as well, but for now I erred on the side of caution and kept the mileage manageable. It didn’t make sense to come out of the gate with an ambitious plan which will inevitably set us up for failure. The primary goal as of right now is to cross that finish line successfully.
Houston, I’ll see you in January.