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Marathon Update and General Training Schedule

Finally managed a 19-mi run on Saturday. Took me just over 3 hours (~10 min/mile pace). After three weeks of snot-freezing cold, the sun was out and the temp was a cool 35 deg F (~ -1 C). But I was utterly, utterly exhausted. Not that my legs were hurting, just did not have the energy to pick up my feet. Like if the batteries had been pulled from the energizer bunny! Don't recall how I managed the last five miles. Need to learn to 'carbo-load' the day before. I am just nauseated by the amount of food I eat. More than double my normal intake! Sundays I rest! Here is a brief summary of my running schedule.

Sunday: After what the legs have gone through on Saturday, I rest them. Let the muscles heal and grow. I hang out at home, but will go for a 2-3 mile walk to a coffee shop. Something to get the muscles going; nothing strenuous.

Monday: A quick 2-mile run on the treadmill at the Gym, followed by a 45-minute Group Cycling (Spinning) class. In the indoor studio, we spin our way through a strenuous regimen of hills, sprints, and downhills. A different set of muscles are involved here, and necessary for cross-training. Importantly, no impact on the knees while I get a great cardiovascular workout.

Tuesday: A 4-mile outdoor run at a slightly faster pace. Followed by a 45-minute Kickboxing class. Great workout and enhances flexibility. Also counts as my cross-training.

Wednesday: Here I do a sort-a-long run, anywhere from a 6-9 miles. Usually about half of what I plan my long run on the upcoming Saturday.

Thursday: Replicates the Tuesday schedule. A 4-mile run, followed by 45-minutes of Kickboxing. Being the middle of winter here, it's generally impossible to have great outdoor weather on three consecutive days. I plan on running on the treadmill either on Tuesday or Thursday. If the weather is particularly nice (anything over 30 deg F and no rain or snow!), I run 'intervals' with one of my instructors. Here we run fast for three minutes, followed by a slow jog for three minutes. Doing this continuously for 30 minutes is a tiring workout, but builds anaerobic capacity!

Friday: Sort-of-rest day. I do a particularly long 45-minute stretch, followed by an hour-long Pilates class. I find Pilates very relaxing and refreshing. My muscles feel loose and the soreness of the week have been soothed away. Fridays I am supposed to 'carbo-load' too, essentially building glycogen reserves in the body for the long run on Saturday. Importantly, I need to prepare psychologically for the long run – Yes, I can do it!

Saturday: The Big One! I check the weather all week and finally prepare appropriate clothing. Wake up at 7-ish, eat a heavy breakfast (nutella slathered on whole wheat bread and two cups of coffee). An hour-long stretch while listening to soothing music. Load my fuel belt. In two bottles I fill half 'n half lemonade and hot water with extra sugar. Hot water in the remaining two bottles. This is to prevent freezing. By the time I reach for the drinks an hour into the run, they have already turned cold. wisely sent me a runner's care package of Body Glide to treat this problem, and these nutrient gels. I used the body-glide and loaded a gel pack in my fuel belt! Many thanks, manju! Socks, shoes, insulating spandex tights, micro fleece shirt, wind-proof insulating top, fleece pullover cap, two pairs of gloves, timing watch, iPod ~ Go!

Two-three hours later, I return utterly exhausted and barely able to stand. I peel my sweat soaked clothing all over the place and collapse on a towel. Moan and groan through a 30-minute stretch and jump in a hot shower. Cleaned up, I lie on the bed for up to two hours and let the ache in my body ebb away. Then marginally refreshed, and very slowly I get up and we drive to a sushi place for a high protein dinner. After dinner, its time to ice the sore muscles and tendons!

The Saturday long runs are the key to marathon training. I started at 6 miles as my longest run. Increased it weekly to 7, 8, 10 and 12 miles. I held for a second week at 12, allowing the muscles to heal. Then ramped up to 15, 16, 18 and 19. Next weekend is again a “hold” and I do a half-marathon road race. The following week its up to 22 miles. That will be the longest I will have run before the actual marathon. From then on I will taper down back to 18, 14 and 12 miles as the longest runs. That should bring me to the 26.2 miles on April 17th. Thrilled!

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