Monday, July 6, 2009

Another Lesson Learned

For the first time in a very long time, I’ve learned something that I didn’t learn too late to put in play. Last time this moment hit I was in college and I found that if you did the readings and work all semester, you didn’t have to cram for finals. Cha-ching.

Here I am, years later, with another useful lesson: running yourself into the ground doesn’t make for good marathon training. Brilliant!

Lucky for me, I survived my last two poor training methods to try a third. Will it be the charm?
It didn’t take long for me to decide on the Akron Marathon – I didn’t meet my goal at Cleveland; I felt fantastic after two weeks off running; and I learned E-Speed was pacing my group at the race. Can we say stars aligning?

OK, maybe I’m just reaching. But we’ll see if stars align in a few months. While I haven’t been at this marathon game for long (and only running, period, since 2007), I’m giving my own plan a try this time around. I’ve collected tips and workouts from various sources I’ve used over the past two years (Runner’s World, Galloway, Fitzgerald) and created a 15-week plan for the summer.

Here in Week Four, I can honestly say so far, so good.

My typical week involves a base run with hill repeats on Monday, cross-training on Tuesday and Thursday, speed work on Wednesday, optional tempos on Friday, endurance on Saturday and restful Sunday. Yoga 3-4 times a week is blended with cycling and soon-to-be swimming for cross. I’ve also continued a pilates regimen and weight training for strength. And I’d like to integrate more races for kicks.

I was a little afraid of scaling back to 3-4 runs each week. Will it be enough? My previous plans ran me 6-7 days with high miles. But this time I’m focusing on the quality of my workouts and meeting my targeted paces. Instead of pace ranges, I’m being very particular about my goals. And I’m hoping that by late September I’ll finally be able to recognize a pace and run it in a stable fashion.

(A girl can dream.)

Only time (and the race) will tell if my approach to marathon training will work. With all the last-minute injuries and pains I’ve experienced these past three big races, I figure it can’t hurt to try. Cramming, it turns out, doesn’t work well for running either.