Even though I’m almost done with the first week of training, I wanted to take some time to reflect on my first marathon, the lessons I learned, and what my goals are for this training cycle.
For my first marathon, my goal was to finish and have a great experience. I certainly accomplished both of those goals! This time around, my goal for the actual marathon is to run the entire thing and finish feeling as strong as possible. While a time goal isn’t my main focus, I had a super-secret “this would be a nice time” goal of 4:30. Good news – that’s the same time goal my coach gave me without us talking about it. Of course, I’ll worry more about time and pacing strategy closer to the race.
I hired a coach to put together this training plan for me, because I really wanted to be sure I was doing the right things. In addition, I wanted to take a bit of time off of intense running after the Chicago half marathon and I wasn’t sure how to incorporate that into my plan. I got my plan last weekend and I have to say, it looks great…not at all intimidating. Part of it is that I’ve done this before! I know that I can do the really long runs, so that doesn’t seem overwhelming. Also, my coach set it up so that it feels like the week is broken up a bit better than the last plan, and gave me prescribed paces based on my current fitness level.
Here’s the basic structure of my plan:
Mondays : Easy run days
Tuesdays: Starting week 4, Tuesdays will be speedwork & strength training days. First three weeks are easy runs & strength.
Wednesdays: Active Recovery and/or Restorative Yoga
Thursdays: Starting week 4, tempo run & strength training. First three weeks are easy runs & strength.
Fridays: Rest days
Saturdays: Long Run
Sunday: Rest or Recovery Run day
I have one race (the Diva’s Half Marathon in Peachtree City) on the calendar as part of the training which will serve as a dress rehearsal for race day. It will also be a test of my mental ability to follow a plan/strategy on race day. More on that as it gets closer.
Each week, I want to focus on the following goals and will reflect on how I’m doing throughout my training.
1. Pre-run nutrition and mid-run fueling. Throughout this training cycle, I want to experiment with different combinations to find the optimal combination for me and my body. I have a mild case of GERD (Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disease), so for the first marathon it was all about finding things that I could tolerate without issues. Now, I want to move past “tolerate” to figure out what gives me the best boost. I’ll admit that this intimidates me a bit because let’s face it – trying new things when you know there is a chance for GI distress can be scary! No one wants a mid run bathroom emergency. But I’m going to push myself out of my comfort zone and hope I don’t have any disasters to talk about on the blog.
2. The little things: proper warmups, cooldowns, foam rolling, etc. I do this now….sometimes. I’m much better about the cooldowns/stretching (I do this almost every time) and foam rolling than the warmups, but I’m going to build it into my time before each run to be sure I make it happen, even if that means cutting the run short. I know this will be especially important as I move to the hard days on Tuesdays/Thursdays.
3. Strength, flexibility, and mobility. I want to be sure I don’t skip the non-running workouts. This is really tempting, especially when pressed for time and I feel like I can’t make it to the gym. I need to find things I can do without having to drive to the gym to make sure I always get this in. It’s on the schedule this time around, so as long as I stick to the schedule, I should be okay.
4. Balancing life with training. I did a really bad job of this during the first cycle. While I certainly take training seriously, I need to make sure I prioritize the relationships in my life, too and make sure I find ways to spend time with the people I care about. I’m hoping the arrival of football season will help me be a little more social, too! I’ll need to find some healthier tailgating recipes, though…
So there you have it, my focus over the next training cycle (in addition to the actual training!). I’ll be posting weekly updates on Sundays on my training for the next 16 weeks as I get ready for the Richmond Marathon!
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