Marathon Training: T minus 22 weeks

I started training to run a marathon on September 1st. I have run 2 half marathons. One went well. One went less well.

My half marathons were both in the spring and over the hotter n’ hell summer my long runs have been tapering down to 4 and 5 miles rather than 8 or 9. I was mostly just happy to withstand the 100 degree weather without gaining back 60 pounds. But it wasn’t fun to realize my hard earned endurance had slipped. I made my peace with it though.
So the start of marathon training for me mostly meant a return to running more miles. I read about people that run 4 or 5 days a week including people training for marathons. My name is Kim and I am not one of them. My body is happy I understand that. My body and I have reached a mutual agreement to not mess with that.

I run 3 days a week. Tuesday and Thursday are 4 miles. Sunday is the long run. Sometimes my husband randomly convinces me to go for a short run on another day. But he’s not into anything over 2 miles and my body seems to think that’s an acceptable exception to the rule when it periodically happens.

Jeff Galloway assures me I can successfully run a marathon with this sort of running schedule. He agrees I don’t need to kill myself with massive mileage and running everyday. I’m sold. Love me some Jeff Galloway.
Me and my fugly visor just heading out.  I'm always amazed I leave the house looking normal and return looking like a shell shocked battle weary mess.
The first two weeks weren’t bad with 5 miles the first week and 6 miles the second week. Even though it was hot as hell, 5 miles didn’t feel super hard because I was so used to 4 all summer. 6 miles was inching up there towards hell but not too bad. Just as I was starting to want to kill someone I was close to being done and it was downhill from there. Then came 7 miles. Or as I like to call it, the Death March.

For reasons that elude me, I got up fairly early the morning of my 7 mile run (that means it was 7 something) but opted to not run until 9:30. I clearly have a death wish. Because my body felt like it was baking in the 87 degree humid as hell weather by the time I got to mile 6. During mile 7 I finally ended up stopping to walk 4 different times. Each time I stopped my Garmin refusing to give myself credit for the distance I walked. I’d start my Garmin again when I started running again. Longest mile e-ver.

It was my breathing that was the problem. My legs felt fine. I kept trying to go slower, take deep breaths, do some Lamaze breathing, told myself to just keep going, and on and on and on. Nothing seemed to help and the sun was just beating down on me in waves.
I look grim because I already look like a hot mess and I'm not even done with my run.
I was a hot sweaty train wreck when I finally got home. I sat at my kitchen table chugging ice water for like 10 minutes. When that wasn’t cooling me off fast enough, I took my shirt off at the kitchen table and just sat there chugging ice water in my sports bra. Classy. But if you were finishing a death march you wouldn’t care how ridiculous you looked either.

After the 7 mile death march, I contemplated calling for a do over and doing 7 miles again the next weekend. I started training for this marathon 26 weeks before the actual race. I have plenty of time in that schedule in case I need to do something like that. It would be no big deal.  And that's exactly why I started training so early.

On the other hand, I got it done. And some weeks are going to be like that. Some runs are going to feel painful. Some are going to feel effortless. Getting it done is the main goal.

Cut to Sunday morning and it was 62 degrees. A wonderfully refreshing cool spell that had finally come to my area. It was downright pleasant and lovely. I took it as a sign that the 8 miler was meant to be. It was 74 degrees by the time I got my rear in gear. But still lovely. So lovely I caught myself running faster than usual. All summer my pace has been between 10:30 and 11:00 minute miles. I looked down at my watch during mile 2 and I was at 9:58. And my lungs weren’t falling out of my body. Crazytown. I didn’t want to peter out early on 8 miles though so I told my silly little brain to calm down.

And I made it the whole 8 miles. And I didn’t feel like complete death at the end. I did feel like I need to work on finding longer routes because 8 miles had me looping back around in weird ways and I don’t like anything that even remotely resembles doing laps. I mostly like to run directly away from my house so I’m less likely to try to quit and go home.
An 8 mile run requires me to run for at least an hour and 20 minutes. That’s long enough that I need to eat something before I go. It’s also long enough that I’m hungry by the end. So I’ve started thinking about trying to eat something at some point during my long runs. I know for a fact I’ll need to eat during the actual marathon. Mostly because there’s no way I want to go 5 5 hours without eating something. I’m not saying I’m going to need an all you can eat buffet. I’m just saying 5 hours is a long time and My Jelly Belly will not be ignored. So I figure I may as well acclimate to the concept of eating something during my long run.

So for for my 8 mile run I brought two squares of a watermelon Shot Blok with me. I consciously decided to stop at mile 4 and eat them and then go back to running again. On the bright side, 2 wasn’t hard to get down. On the downside, I wasn’t near a water fountain when I ate them. I had a sticky mouth for the next mile until I got back to a water fountain. My stomach complained around mile 6. I don’t know if that was general stomach complaint or Shot Blok related complaint. I decided to try the Shot Blok’s again next weekend before I hold it against them and move on to something else. We'll see.

That's actually pretty much my motto about training for a marathon in general. One week at a time. 22 weeks until the race.

My Handy Marathon Training Summary:
Week 1 – 5 miles. So pleasant! Can’t believe I’m done already! Whee!
Week 2 – 6 miles. Yeah. That’s a training run. Hope the weather cools off soon.
Week 3 – 7 miles. Death March. Kill me now.
Week 4 – 8 miles. Did it! Yeah, for cooler weather! Finally! Felt pretty decent.


Kristin said...

Congrats! I can't imagine going for 8 miles, and I' super impressed.

Shelley said...

Are you running without carrying water? Eeek! It's too hot to do that...get a hand held that also has a zippered pouch, so you can carry some fuel. For me, on a run that's longer than 5 miles, I either have a GU or a couple shot bloks at mile 3, and then usually every two miles after that I'll have another shot blok. As part of your marathon training, you need to figure out what works for you with fueling, but yeah, you'll definitely have to eat during the race.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...