Sunday, July 28, 2013

First Day of Marathon Training

This morning I went out into the rain and put in 55 moderately slow minutes to finish my seven weeks of rehab for the stress fracture in my right ankle. In exactly 112 days, 16 weeks, I hope to have finished the Philadelphia Marathon. This means that, much like they tell you at your high school graduation, this is not the end, it is commencement--a new beginning. This is day one of marathon training.

In reality, tomorrow is an off day after three straight days of running, but it is the beginning of Don Fink's 16-week plan. This means for that for the foreseeable future I will be running five days per week, taking Mondays and Thursdays off. Here are my thoughts and plans as I take on the marathon.

Don't run too fast

My biggest problem is running too fast. My marathon pace is 9:00 min/mile and I'm going to tackle the long runs at 10:45 min/mile. There will be a time for running hard (intervals and tempo runs), but I've got to keep myself much slower than marathon pace. My GPS watch has been crucial in maintaining a good pace. Today it was almost perfect.


Don Fink has several plans where I can substitute other workouts for a run. He even considers the treadmill to be a kind of cross-training due to the different movement and lower impact involved. Even up hill walking can be a good cross-training session if the heart rate is right. Sometimes for me, running without running will be on the menu.

Core strength

I've been working hard to get my core stronger over the past months and I think I'm getting there. It will pay off when I hit the wall in Philly.

Weight and fitness

I've been trying to eat more plant-based foods, even to the point of swapping out my GU gels for OneBar fruit bars and ditching the Gatorade for coconut water. Last week I was at 165.5 lbs and I want to be under 160 for November 17. I will monitor my weight and my body fat every Monday starting tomorrow.

I haven't had a lot of interesting things to write about lately since this blog is all about training for a marathon and, since late April, I haven't been doing that. This should change now. I imagine that at least once a week I'll be chiming in to give an update on training. That said, I enter into this marathon cycle humbled by the experience of my last failed training cycle and a little hesitant to test out the limits of my body. I haven't signed up for Philly yet. They tell me that it sells out usually by mid September. I have set Labor Day as my deadline to sign up. If I still think I can do it after about five weeks of training, I'm going for it.
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