Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Well, Now What?

Taking a break in October wasn’t too difficult: my ITB was aching something rough, I was a little fatigued from the crammed training and getting behind in my life. Never have the states of my house, thesis and ironing been so wrecked.

A month off, a pilates obsession and a few hip abductor exercises later, I’m starting my training again. But this time, I’m going to do it right. At least I’ll try.

Today I began training for the Cleveland Marathon on May 17. That gives me a little less than 24 weeks to build, which should work much better than my “three weeks to a new marathon you” gig last summer.

I’ve been reading a new book this fall, called Brain Training for Runners by Matt Fitzgerald. (Sounds cheesy, doesn't it?) While it’s not a book about easy ways or tricks to training yourself to 26.2, the book helped me in just a few weeks to break down many of the mental barriers I like to build between myself and great times. In fact, I used many of the lessons I learned from the book at the Turkey Trot to achieve a 5-miler PR.

But it’s nothing new. And it’s nothing my running friends haven’t told me all along. It’s nothing my dad never told me growing up. Nothing Melissa hasn’t been reminding me for the past year and a half.

Fitzgerald’s book explains the physiology behind running and fatigue and how your brain responds to those things. And how to get over some of those triggers. Like defeating yourself. For some reason, though, reading about what my muscle fibers are doing and why I feel a certain way… well, that clicks.

And when I start to get tired at mile two, I can tell myself that my legs aren’t dying, that the burning is good, that I can push at this level and beyond.

Best of all is that the training plan for marathon takes a healthy course, building miles slowly over 24 weeks and incorporating some Fartleks, hill repeats and cross-training with the distance runs.

Obviously it’s a healthier route than my last-minute job in August, and I’m already liking it better than most other plans I’ve followed from pubs like Runner’s World. As I mentioned, the mileage builds slowly. So, week one doesn’t have a sudden 15-miler popped in on a Saturday. This week’s long: a 5-miler at base pace on Saturday. Then it ekes up from there.

To kick it off right, I woke up early for 30 minutes of morning pilates today and then ran the Heights for 4 miles at 9:05/mile during lunch. Only 23.5 weeks to go!


Steve Stenzel said...

Good luck with the new training, AND with that dang IT band! Have fun out there!!