Well, I officially completed my first week of marathon training. My plan called for short runs Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, then a long run yesterday and a short one today. Since I ran a half last Saturday and was sick in the beginning of the week, I took it easy and didn’t do all the runs on the plan. I think this was a smart decision on my part. Yesterday’s ten-miler began a little rocky, and by mile four I was thinking maybe I would turn around and only do eight miles. I continued on, and when I got to five miles to turn around, endorphins kicked in and I felt really great. I tried a new gel – Clif Shot mocha with caffeine – at mile five, and ate the whole thing. I drank a little too much water and got a bit of a stomach cramp, but it went away quickly, and the rest of the run was issue-free. Mile nine was even my fastest. I have been reading a bit about running cadence, so I experimented with counting my steps, to see where I was at. I was running at about 160 strides per minute, which is pretty common. Lots of articles (here’s an example) recommend 180 steps per minute, so I tried to increase my strides to hit that. Counting my steps was actually pretty fun and a great distractor. I usually am only thinking about what my arms are doing, so it was a nice change to focus on something else.
There’s one thing that worried me on my run yesterday. My left knee pain has come back some, and it bothered me a bit in the first half of my run, but then I felt nothing the second half. It’s a little tender today, and I iced it and foam rolled yesterday. It started hurting me after a bootcamp class a few weeks ago when we did a lot of jumping, so I stopped going to bootcamp for the time being, and I realized that I haven’t gone to yoga in a couple months. It could just be that I wasn’t stretching some of the muscles in my leg enough and it put a strain on my knee muscles. It could also be my shoes, I went and tried on some new running shoes on Friday at the local store here, and the lady working told me that I supinate, and need neutral shoes. This is different than every other time I’ve been fitted at a running store, and that’s why I’ve been wearing stability shoes. I ordered two pairs of neutral shoes online and will test them out next week. I’m just hoping so badly that my knee issues will go away soon, I’m looking forward to getting into full-on marathon training mode.
After making the big decision to register for a full marathon, and then spending two weeks obsessing about which one to choose, the next step was deciding on a training plan. I have used Hal Higdon plans for past half marathons, and considered using one of his marathon plans, but I wanted to try something new. I saw a screen shot on STUFT Mama of the Runner’s World Challenge plan, and it included an email sent out every night with a detailed description of what the next day’s training consisted of. I really liked this, and thought it would be a great motivating tool over the next few months. After a little confusion about how the Runner’s World Challenge worked, I finally have it all sorted out. Once you purchase a plan (there are lots to choose from), this is what is included:
- Four months access to the RW Personal Trainer interactive training log
- Personal coaching from RW’s nutrition, training, and injury-prevention experts
- Motivation e-mails from Chief Running Officer Bart Yasso
- Runner’s World Challenge technical T-shirt
- RW’s Complete Book of Running
- A watch
- Online access to the Runner’s World Challenge community, where you can connect with other runners who are taking the Challenge
I didn’t realize that in order to receive the daily emails and have access to the training log, I had to create an account on Training Peaks and load the plan into the calendar. Luckily, the person I was emailing with at RW did that for me and got me all set up.
I received my shirt, watch and book a few weeks after purchasing the plan.
As far as choosing which marathon plan, I had to decide between these two:
Ideal candidates: First-time marathoners, and runners who have at least one year of experience, and run three to four times per week on average.
Weekly routine: 3 days of rest, 4 days of running
Weekly mileage: 18-36 miles
Long runs: start at 8 miles; peak at 20 miles
Speed work: strides, marathon goal-pace runs (MP)
FIRST-TIMERS MARATHON PLAN
Ideal candidates: First-time marathoners, and runners who have at least one year of experience, and run three to four times per week on average. For more experienced runners who have completed at least one half-marathon.
Weekly routine: 2 days of rest, 5 days of running
Weekly mileage: 25-42 miles
Long runs: start at 10 miles; peak at 20 miles
Speed work: Yasso 800s, marathon goal-pace runs (MP)
I like only taking two rest days per week, so the First-Timers plan sounded good to me. After looking at the long weekend runs on this plan, however, it has three 20-mile runs included, the first one being in about four weeks, which I think is a little too soon for me. The Beginners plan gradually works its way up until 20 miles, and the 20-miler happens three weeks before the marathon. I think I may follow the First-Timers plan for the weekday runs, and then the Beginners plan for the weekend long run.
All in all, I’m happy I chose this whole system, and look forward to getting into it!