thoughts on training plans

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Snapped this photo yesterday when I was driving the route for this morning's run: Almost 13 crazy-hilly miles with my friend Russ, whom I met through the training group.

We did an out-and-back, running up and over Helen Putnam and then out into rural Chickenland -- very similar to the insane 22-miler I did with Neveia almost exactly a year ago. We saw wild turkeys, deer, Scottish cows and tourists pulled over on the side of road taking pictures with the Scottish cows. It was pretty damn beautiful out there -- and totally worth the fact that my calves and my butt are now burning.

During our run, Russ and I talked a lot about training. Like me, he's CIM-bound (three weeks left until race day!) while simultaneously recovering from an Oct. 10 marathon. (He ran the Wine Country 26.2, and temperatures that day soared to 90-plus degrees. He said he actually passed out at one point -- literally lying on the side of the road. But he still went on to finish -- although not at the time he was hoping for at all, which is why he is trying again at CIM.)

Our training plans for CIM are very similar -- since we know we can do 26.2, we've been focusing a lot more on quality vs. quantity (similar to what Hal Higdon talks about in his multiple marathon training plans). We want to maintain our fitness level, but we don't want to overdo it and get injured. So instead of thinking only about mileage, we've been trying to give each of our runs a purpose: Speed, hills or endurance. In fact, I don't think either of us is even going to do a 20-miler before race day. Eighteen will be the max for us.

We also won't start our taper until after next Sunday's run. I know this week was peak week mileage-wise for quite a few people training for CIM, but we just wanted to get a really strong hill run done. (I guess we defined "peak" another way -- as in a running a route that had 436 feet of elevation change!) Next week, when we do our last 18-miler, we'll focus on the mental toughness (and perhaps in my case, GI strength) needed for going long.

All of this sounds good when I discuss it with Russ or review it on my own, but sometimes it's a little tough not to let everyone else's training plans become a distraction. Am I going to fail because I'm not running five days a week and didn't run 22 miles this morning? If I start to compare myself, I can easily feel inadequate.

But the truth is, everyone's bodies and schedules are different. Not all of us have the time to devote five days to running. And not all of us can physically handle that. (I know I can't -- when I tried several months ago, I got injured.) So much of running is a process of self-discovery, learning what works for you and what doesn't. The trick is finding the exact formula that puts you at your best when you set foot at the starting line.

Here's hoping I've got it down. This is, after all, a big experiment: The first time I'm attempting two marathons so close together!


Derrick said...

YES GI STRENGTH!! don't end up like this guy:

Michaela said...

Omg, I am completely traumatized. I think I would rather die on the course than end up like that guy. Seriously.

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