I am going to start my training for Baystate Marathon on Monday 6/29. I am very excited to be training again. Unfortunately, this time around I am going to train alone, as my friends Sue M and Sue C are doing the 1/2 marathon race, rather than the full marathon. I will miss their company a great deal. When training for Boston, I somehow felt accountable to them as well as to myself in sticking with the workouts and pushing through. We would email about weekly runs and talk about them during the long run. It was great. This time around I am going to start my long runs with my running group The Runaway Moms, and hope that some of them will stick with me for as long as possible, at least for the beginning slower paced runs... I really like having company on runs longer than 10 miles.
The Baystate Marathon is on 10/18, in Lowell, Mass, about 30 min from my house. Can you say convenient? It is a flat and fast course, with 30% runners qualifying for Boston. It's a 2 loop course, which I actually like (in theory). I think it would mentally help to know what to expect for the last 13.1 miles. Also, I'll get to see my family twice:) . The race is at 8am, which is good, I think, since I am doing my long runs at that time, so I suppose my body is used to running in the morning. This time would also mean nice cool temperatures.
I am going to use the FIRST program again, albeit a modified version.
1) More mileage
Since Boston, I have been building a base of about 30 miles, with a long weekly run between 10-12miles, and 4 (rather than 3 runs). I typically do 8 fast miles on Monday, 8 easy/fast on Wednesday, 2-3 slow on Thursday (after a 15 mile bikeride) and 10-12 on Saturday. I feel my mileage was perhaps a bit too low for Boston (average 30 miles/week), as I was fine cardiovascularly (due to lots of crosstraining) but my legs were dead for the last 6 miles. I am hoping that 35-40 average miles/week would help me feel stronger during the last few miles. The mileage increase is going to come from 3-4 miles recovery run on Thursday (after bikeride) and from adding 1-2 miles of cool down/warmup to my tempo and speed runs. I will see how this will go, and will back off at the slightest sign of injury.
2) More intervals during crosstraining
For Boston, I crosstrained 3 days a week, and did 2 swims and 1 bikeride. Through lots of reading, I am learning that biking is probably the best crosstraining for runners. As such, I am going to try to do 2 bikerides/week, including some intervals on my trainer or outdoors, and 1 long swim (1.25-1.5 miles) with kicking intervals (those really get my heartrate up). Since during the summer we go to the townbeach almost every late afternoon as a family, I am sure I'll be able to sneak in a few 400 meters intervals in addition, as well. I am hoping that all this interval work is going to make me faster. Will see.
3) Fewer overall speed intervals.
A few seasoned runners recommend doing speedwork only toward the end of marathon training, to avoid injury and mental fatigue, and also because as one fellow blogger noted, they are not that important for the marathon (I will not run 400 meters @ a 6:10 pace during the marathon - I'd like to, but it's not going to happen). As such, I decided to see about running some races during July and maybe part of August in lieu of interval work. It so happens that Lynn Woods hosts trail races Wednesday evenings up to September or so, and a few trail running fellows whom I have not seen in ages are attending. Since the races are on trails, the forgiving footing will hopefully keep me injury free. Again, nothing is set in stone, so I will see how things are going. During September and October I will replace all races with speed work at the track.
4) Better recovery
For Baystate, since my training is going to be more intense than for Boston, I need an even better recovery plan. I am lucky that I enjoy healthy foods and really don't crave and actually can't eat overly processed, sugary foods. For the past month or so I started drinking a "recovery shake" after any workout longer than 1 hour, and learned that it helped me have less muscle soreness and less fatigue post run. I blend together milk (or greek yogurt) with 1/2 banana, a handful of blueberries and a few strawberries and ice. I sip this delicious drink while reading in my icebaths (which are much more enjoyable in the summer). In addition, I am going to use the roller after every run, and be disciplined about ab work and pilates. I also need to get better about eating protein, and perhaps eat more lentils and beans since I am not a big fan of meat. Oh, and I really need to sleep more - four, five hours a sleep on Friday night is not conducive to good running on Saturday, and I am not Dean Karnaze*.
5) Stick to the specified pace for the long runs (first 2/3 of the run), run the last 1/3 faster, run the last 4 miles or so at MP.
I managed to do some of these during my training for Boston, but I was not consistent. I was uncomfortable running slow, and, although I did run negative splits a lot, I felt exhausted and that I have gone "all out" after most of my long runs.
OK, I think that's all I had to say. I have a "secrete little race" on Saturday, so "little" that tapering is not really required, and then Baystate training starts. I feel ready and excited.
* Dean Karnaze reportedly sleeps only 4 hours a night.
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