I had a great experience at my first marathon in Chicago last October. Hoping to improve on my time for my second marathon, Carmel Marathon, this past April, I fell short. The winter was brutal and I did 95% of my training on a treadmill. I felt defeated after my Carmel Marathon performance. I didn’t run much before the Mini Marathon in May, but did succeed with a PR. I still had a waning right hip/quad injury from the Carmel Marathon and decided to take it easy on the running until marathon training started again. I primarily focused on swimming and cycling for my summer triathlons and only ran two days a week, maybe three if I was lucky. My longest run all summer was the 6 mile race at the Firecracker 6 over 4th of July. All my runs before that were only between 3 and 4.5 miles.
Despite the lack of running, my fitness has stayed up to par due to all the swimming and cycling. I’ve managed to run some great times during my triathlons. So decreasing my running has definitely helped me to recover and actually improve on my speed since I’ve been focusing on shorter distances.
Now that it’s fall marathon training season, I’ve gotten my itch back for big mileage. I’ve been looking forward to start marathon training again. Not that I don’t enjoy swimming and cycling because I do, but running is something that I’m decent at and it’s familiar. And there’s nothing like a good runner’s high.
For my third marathon, I’m dead set on running sub 4 hrs. That was my goal for Carmel and that didn’t go so well (yah, I’m still beating myself up over it). So I needed a fresh marathon program. Hal Higdon has been good to me in the past but 18 weeks is a little long and I need something different to motivate me to get it done. So after researching different training plans online, I found a 16 week program on the Runner’s World website. The mileage during the week was doable, only 4 days of running, and incorporating two days of speed work. I definitely need the intervals and tempo runs to get stronger and faster. And I like only running 4 days a week. It gives me two days of cross training that I can use for swimming, cycling and hot yoga. I’ve built a great base with swimming and cycling for triathlons and I don’t want to lose that during marathon training. The only thing I didn’t like were the long runs on the weekends. The first week started out at 14 miles and then quickly jumped to 16, 20, 22. Talk about long runs. I’m not that advanced yet to handle such big mileage so early on, especially since my running has been at a minimum the past 3 months. So instead, I referred back to old Hal and used his traditional long run mileage building for my long runs. So my plan is 75% from Runner’s World and 25% Hal Higdon. And you better believe all these miles will be ran outside…screw the treadmill.
The first three weeks of my marathon program will be a little dicey because it overlaps with the last three weeks of my Olympic triathlon training….yikes! So there will probably be a lot of two-a-day workouts until my triathlon. But it can only make me stronger. After my Olympic triathlon, the rest of the training will be on schedule as planned.
Mondays: Cross training day. I will most likely attend computrainer class after work, which is an hour and a half of kick butt cycling, not for the faint of heart. I used Mondays as a cross training day the last two programs for cycling and hot yoga and it was nice to ease into the week.
Tuesday: Intervals. Instead of doing the same intervals week after week, this program incorporates 400m, 800m, 1000m, 1200m, and 1600m repeats varying each week with jogging in between each interval. This is the day I’m most excited for because it gives me a chance to work on my speed. Last program, I had speed sessions on Thursdays, but I was just so tired by the end of the week that I ended up running at a steady easy pace just to get the miles done instead of pushing myself. And those Thursdays rotated between intervals, progression runs, and tempo runs, so I was never consistent. This time Tuesdays = speed.
Wednesdays: Easy recovery run at moderate mileage. This day is an easy 5 to 6 miles to stretch out the legs and to get used to running on tired legs.
Thursdays: Tempo. More speed work. These consist of a 1.5 mile warm-up, tempo pace for 4 to 6 miles, and then a 1 mile cool down, ranging from 6.5 to 8.5 miles. I had tempo runs in the past but they were only 3-4 miles and I wasn’t consistent at sticking to my plan. This forces me to run them every single week and for a longer distance. Also, the plan incorporates hill workouts every few weeks, so I can substitute a tempo run for a hill workout if need be. Thursdays = Tempo.
Friday: Rest day! I’ll most likely use this for a relaxing hot yoga session to really stretch out my sore muscles.
Saturday: Long easy/pace – plus. This program calls the long run days pace plus, meaning take your race pace 9:00min/mile and add 20-50 seconds per mile. So for these runs I will stay between 9:20 and 9:50 per mile. It gives me a range and a slow pace to focus on versus just running a long easy and running a 10:00+ min/mile pace.
Sunday: Cross training. This day I’ll use for swimming. Anywhere from 2000 to 3000yd. Again keeping up with my base swimming mileage for triathlons and plus it just feels really calming in the water. (If I have to work that Saturday, then Saturday would become my cross training session after work and Sunday would be my long run day.)
Now that the Monon Trail is my backyard I have no excuse not to run and to not follow my training plan. It will definitely be challenging but it will help me reach my goal in the end. Now that my training plan is all laid out and I’m already in my second week of training, why the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon for my third marathon?
I really wanted to run the New York City Marathon. And it is actually the same weekend as the Monumental in Indy. The NYC Marathon is a lottery. Yes, if you are freaky fast you can qualify or have guaranteed entry from signing up three years in a row and not being picked, and various other reasons, but the chances of actually getting picked for the lottery are slim to none. And yes, I could sign up for a charity and get guaranteed entry, but how am I supposed to raise $3000 to $5000 for the charity, train for a marathon, and work a full time job all at the same time? That sounds more miserable than anything. That just wasn’t an option for me. After registering for the lottery in December, I had to wait until April to find out if I was picked. Neither Bryan and I were picked. Out of the 70,000+ people that signed up for the lottery, they only picked about 7,000 out of the world for the lottery. And for a race that has 50,000+ runners, where do all those slots go….charity runners?
Needless to say, I was a little angry about the NYC Marathon. I would still like to run it some day because I like urban races. I like the big city feel. I like crowds of people cheering to keep me motivated. That’s why I love the Chicago Marathon so much. The Carmel Marathon was a nice small, “boutique” marathon and it was awesome being a part of it not only as a runner but as a sponsor, but the small marathon feel just isn’t my thing. I felt like I was running alone the majority of the race. No nutrition along the course, and I just got a little bored and felt uninspired by my surroundings. So for my third marathon, I wanted to bring back that big city feel. Indianapolis is not nearly as big as Chicago or NYC but it’s local, moderate sized, flat, and I’ve ran those streets many times before during long runs. It just felt like the best match for what I want to achieve for this upcoming race. It will give me the inspiration I need to “be monumental.”