Sunday, January 20, 2013

Boston Training: The Good, The Bad, The Stupid…

Boston is officially under three months away and I have amped up my training schedule slowly but surely.  When my friends are training for Marathons or ½ marathons they often ask me for my advice or how I have trained for specific distances.  Since my running consists of less than 4 years of experience and I am always in the hospital with a bowel obstruction or having surgery I am not sure I am the best person to ask…but I am always happy to help.

Pretty much sums it up....
Typically my response is to encourage them to look online and find a training plan that fits into their schedule and help them reach their goals (faster pace, longer distance, whatever).  If they tell me they want to train like I do I remind them that I am crazy but will give them some of my “trade secrets”.
1.          I have never followed a training plan.  With three children, one husband, two dogs, and recurring hospital stays I cannot consistently follow any training plan.  When you layer in my part time job teaching aerobics it really becomes tricky…trying to run 15 miles after teaching two Spinning classes is not something I can do on a regular basis.
2.         On any given day I am *READY* to run a marathon.  I may not be ready to have a BQ time but if I’m given 24 hours notice chances are I can pop out 26.2 miles…no problem (this is NOT sarcasm).
3.         When preparing for a marathon I am typically registered for 2 or 3 ultra marathons as well…my long runs are actually long races.  For example, the Boston Marathon is on April 15th, 2013 my training “plan” includes running an 8 hour race on February 2nd, and a full marathon on March 10th.  
My general attitude towards maximum weekly mileage.
4.         To clarify, an 8 hour race is basically what it sounds like.  A bunch of crazy trail runners line up in freezing cold weather and try to run as many miles as they can in under 8 hours.  Whoever runs the furthest gets to win.  I am not classifying this effort as sane, but it certainly helps you get your long run in for the week.
Race Cartwheels...a must.
5. There are several things that I personally find especially helpful while in hardcore training mode.  I do a lot of weight lifting (Body Pump) and yoga (Body Flow), granted as an instructor in these programs getting paid to train offers a bit more incentive.  Additionally it keeps me strong and limber for when I need to do cartwheels at rest stops or headstands post race (and yes, these are necessary skills to demonstrate at races).
It's just a good idea =)
6.         Speed and hill work are always on my list of must-dos.  Usually my idea of a speed workout is to go on a 10-12 mile run and sprint for ½ a mile and then jog slowly for a mile.  As for hill work I get on the Step Mill/Gauntlet at the gym for 60 minutes and try to climb 7-8 miles of stairs, it is not easy but it makes for a strong butt.  Lately I have been reading a lot of articles saying that runners get a lot of injuries due to weak glutes, I hope to not have that problem.
The law of my run.  Single track trail, slowest runner in front of me
will NOT let me pass.  No speed work today.
7.         Lastly my general philosophy goes along the lines of: just because you’re training for a 10K does not mean that you cannot follow a ½ marathon schedule.  When I train my goal is to increase my ability to run longer distances a little faster over time…without getting hurt.
It has taken me almost four years to get where I am and I have no clue what I am doing.  Essentially I have learned to run through trial and error, asking my running friends for advice, and a whole lot of research and reading.  I have tried a lot of different methods and strategies and have finally found what works for me. 
I love to run really really far and as I get stronger my speed gets faster.  My advice is to do what feels good for you and if it hurts...don’t do it. One thing I always remind myself when I start to overdo is that I would like to be able to run for a very long time.  It’s my happy place and I pray I will be doing it into my 80’s…and yes, I realize I will eventually have to scale back my training.
Good luck!
What’s your next race?
Do you follow Hal Higdon or one of the other popular training plans?
Which have you found to be the most effective?

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