Saturday, October 30, 2010

Marathon Training: Week 17

This was an interesting week of training. I started off with two runs on Monday. My first two-a-day. I don't know what got into me. It was hot and humid, but for some reason I ran four miles before work and felt compelled to run another four after. It was actually nice because it gave me an extra day off to sleep in. This week was also my first midweek 8 miler. There are a lot of these on the training schedule next month. I wasn't sure I would be able to run, rest and still get ready for work in time, but I managed to do so without any problems. That makes me feel better about the training runs ahead.

My long run this week was 16 miles. It is my longest run to date. This one didn't go as well as last week. My hips started hurting within the first six miles. I had to stop and stretch a few times, but I managed to power through and complete all the miles. I even went to the mall afterward to walk around a bit. I find walking after my longer runs help keep my legs from tightening up the next day. Still, it looks like I have a lot of yoga and time with the foam roller in my near future. I need to work out all the kinks so this doesn't become a reoccurring problem. Hopefully, I will be all stretched out and pain free before adding on more miles in two weeks.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Marathon Training: Week 16

It is hard to believe I am four months into marathon training. Most training plans are actually that long. I just chose to extend mine out to six months. That's right, I am two months away from my marathon. It is kind of scary to think about.

This week, number 16, was nerve wracking, but good. It marked the first time I ran past the half marathon mark. My long run this week was 15 miles. And surprisingly, it went well. Real well. I finished without any real pain and was able to walk around and go shopping afterward. It was a nice change of pace from my previous long runs, which usually ended with IT band, knee or hip pain. I guess it just goes to show how important it is to take care of yourself and your body. The yoga, stretching, soaking and icing are working.

Next week brings another mileage increase, but I can honestly say I am ready for it. Bring on 16 miles. I just need to load some more tunes on the iPod before next weekend. My playlist is getting old and played out.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Marathon Training: Week 15

It's been another great week of training. The weather has been so beautiful, making the running much easier. I have also gotten much better at running with the proper form and taking care of my body during this crazy training process.

No real problems to report this week. My long run was a bit sluggish. My time and pace were great, but I just felt slower than usual. I think yoga is to blame. Wednesday was an intense instructional class focusing on opening up the hips. The class was great and I learned a lot, but holding lunge poses for long periods of time and opening up your hips can leave you sore. You see, you have to engage your glutes to make the poses work. And let me tell you, running with sore glutes is a pain in the rear.

Week 16 should be an interesting one. The farthest I have ever run is 13.1 miles. Now, I will have to complete a 15 miler. I am sure I can do it. It just seems scary saying and reading it. Time to rework the ipod playlist, so I can rock out while trekking along.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Marathon Training: Week 14

Week 14 went great. There was a nice cool snap here and it made running comfortable again. I noticed I was running faster, more on my race pace, because of the cooler temperatures. Even my 13 mile time was better than the half marathon I ran earlier this year. About 5 minutes faster to be exact.

This week, I payed more attention to my running form. After my massage a couple weeks ago and talking to some friends who run a lot, I realized I am not running correctly. My shoulders are shrugged up and tense. I tend to lean forward a bit. That is why my legs and IT bands have been suffering. I am allowing my legs to all the work. Running is a full body sport. When your shoulders are back and your head is up, your arms give you momentum to help move you forward. It also helps you engage your core, which is a great workout. So this is my new goal: focus and improve my form. I also need to add some new tunes to my iPod too. Suggestions are always welcome.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Marathon Training: Week 13

Who said 13 is an unlucky number? Week 13 was actually a good week. I feel like I have finally turned the corner. All four training runs, including a 12 miler, went great. I think mentally, and more importantly, physically I am back on track with my training.

I made a couple tweaks to my training schedule this week. I figure since I'm doing so well, I might at well adjust my schedule to fit my progress. It basically just shifts everything up two or three weeks. The good thing about that is that it leaves me flexibility to add an additional 20+ mile run in December. I have talked to a lot of people about this. Most people only run one 20 mile run before race day. It works for thousands of people. But then there are a few people I know, who like me, who feel they need an extra run that is 22-24 miles. It's a mental thing. Think about it, you hit 20 miles and still have 6.2 left. Sure, it doesn't sound like much after 20, but that is an additional hour of running. And if mentally you are already hitting a wall around miles 18-20, another hour can seem like an eternity.

Either way, I like my new outlook on this whole marathon thing. I am taking better care of my body; more time stretching, doing yoga, icing, etc. I am also not trying to run my race pace all the time and take brief walking breaks during my long runs. All around it is just making it a more enjoyable and healthy journey to 26.2.