I'm back! I took a little time off from blogging post- Cleveland Marathon because I wasn't training or racing and I've been crazy busy since I graduated law school a couple weekends ago! It's been a whirlwind of graduation, family stuff, wrapping up work, and knocking out pre-bar exam review study assignments, but I feel like I am finally starting to settle in and get back to a routine. I did end up running a four miler on Memorial Day as a last second decision (since I needed a four miler anyways) and I ended up taking my age group (20-29) and running decently fast 2.5 weeks out from the marathon (29:47; 7:28/mile). Now I'm solely focused on bar exam studying which means I have a solid routine back in place, which is a good thing because I've picked my fall marathon! I will be heading off to Utah to run the beautiful and fast Revel Big Cottonwood Marathon on September 10th where I will be trying to BQ! With the help of my running partner, we've found a training plan (that he and others in my club have successfully used) which will hopefully push me to that Boston Qualifier on a course which routinely produces qualifiers. The temps and humidity have been rapidly rising here in Ohio which has made for some rough runs, which means I'm going to have my work cut out for me and I'm going to need to start my runs early in the morning or late after the sun starts to set. The next few months are going to be intense, which is why the rest I have been giving my body was key, but the results would be worth it when I punch my ticket this fall!
The plan I will be using is an old (1996) but still good Runner's World training plan created by Jack Daniels, who coached Joan Benoit Samuelson and Alberto Salazar, and has devised a plan which can be applied to any runner of any ability. It is a 12 week plan with multiple components, which are Long Runs, Threshold Runs, Easy Runs, Marathon Pace Runs, and Races used as testing. It allows you to pick your pace for your training runs and workouts, based on your goal marathon pace, calculated from your pace in shorter distance races.
What this plan does different is that some of my longer runs will involve a couple quicker miles thrown into them and additionally, a couple "long runs" early in the plan will be done at marathon pace. Also, my speed work actually be slower than my past cycle, but there will be less recovery in between the miles. A typical week on this plan will involve two workout runs (depending on the week it will be 2 speed or 1 speed and 1 hill), one long run, a mid-week longer run, and 2-3 easy runs. It should work out to 5-6 days a week of running and mileage around 45-50 miles/week. I will peak my long run at 22 miles, which I always do. Unofficially, I've already started training, although really, I'm not paying attention to pace or weekly mileage, but I did run 12 last week and 10 the week before, which is typically how I start off a marathon training program. Once this Friday rolls around, I will be out of recovery (26 days), and I will be safe to really start the workouts, which times up perfectly with Saturday being my first marathon training run. Additionally, I plan to run 1-2 half marathons in the training for the full marathon as shakeouts and tests of my fitness. Right now, I am leaning toward the Erie Half Marathon in mid-July, and potentially 1 half in early August.
My other goal in training for this marathon is to really work on cross-training and other aspects of fitness to really make sure I am as ready as I can be to tackle the 26.2 at a BQ pace. My course loses almost 6000ft of elevation as we run, so I will need to strengthen my quads, back, and knees to be able to handle that change. Additionally, I will need to take on several runs which simulate elevation change (both downhill and uphill). So here are the keys to my marathon training that aren't focused on speed and long runs:
1. Hills - This is an area that I have usually ignored in my past training, other than running 2 big ones in the middle of long runs. I plan to get in some solid hill work/repeats, and to run a park we have near me called Hinckley, which is 10 miles of one hill after another of down or up hill.
2. Core strength - I plan to keep up my planking but to work in other core work in the form of exercise ball obliques and tucks, v-ups (weighted and non), among others. The key will be focusing on deep obliques and abs, rather than surfact abs like crunches, which do little for runners.
3. Quads and knees - For these, I will be going back to squats (weighted and non), wall sits, lunges, and burpees.
4. Arms - Runners often overlook arms because many people forget how key arm strength is in running. When you pump your arms, it propels you. My planking helps, but I will also work in assisted pullups, pushups, tricep dips, and curls.
5. Recovery workouts - Swimming and Spinning. Both work wonders to reset, provide a good workout with no impact, and boost endurance.
So that's where I'm at with my training officially kicking off next weekend with a 14 mile run. Obviously, new workouts could be added and others removed, but this is my game plan right now. The fact that I'm only studying right now gives me a lot of time to work in my training so I'm excited to see what I can accomplish with a lot of time to dedicate to training. 14 weeks till race day!!