I meant to get around to writing and posting this entry about three days ago… but time has gotten away from me and I’m a few days behind schedule! I have a goal to recap each week of my training leading up to my spring marathon, and I think it’s a great way to journal my experiences from week to week. This is something I’ve seen many other running bloggers do, and I always liked how it gave me a glimpse into how they prepare for big races. Now of course, there is no one way to train for a marathon and depending on one’s goals/experience/time available for training, etc., it is important to recognize that what works well for one individual may not work well for others.
That being said, I want to start by filling you in on my plan for the next 22 weeks of training! I am doing things a little bit differently this time, in that I had a good friend create a customized training plan for me. I don’t want to call it a full on “coaching” relationship, because most of his role is just creating the plan for me and answering my questions as they arise. It is not a super official kind of thing. But, I felt like it would be a good way for me to dip my toes into the waters of more personalized training. For my first four marathons, I used a generic training plan I found through Runner’s World. There is nothing wrong with these plans, and they worked pretty well for me for those races. So what changed? Why am I not using these types of plans for my next race? There’s three main reasons for this:
- Generic plans do not take into account current fitness levels or experience. I have run multiple marathons with mostly consistent results, but I spent the last 5-6 months running a very reduced number of miles with no specific training plan in place. It was a good mental and physical break for me after running a lot of races in a short period of time. During these months I was definitely active, but really lost quite a bit of my “marathon endurance”. Most generic training plans start you with a specific base mileage, which you may or may not be ready for and most of them range from about 16-18 weeks. My plan is 22 weeks because it is working on building my mileage back up for more intense training.
- I wanted someone who could help me prepare for a long-term goal. Yes, the plan I’m working with now will help me prepare for my spring marathon in May, but one of the most important goals with this plan is to actually build me toward my BIGGER goal, which is to break 4:00 hours at the Chicago Marathon next October. This plan is a long-term vision, not a one-stop shop.
- Generic plans do not typically come with feedback. And while the friend who is working with me on this plan is not a designated coach, he is someone who I know I can ask questions and who will be honest with me in his feedback. There is also a deeper sense of accountability for me working with someone, because they will know if I am cheating their time and not putting in the work. That accountability doesn’t exist for me with a generic plan.
I began my first official day of training last Monday. I ran a total of 31 miles for the week. This is a very typical week for me during a marathon training cycle. I typically average between 30-50 miles during a plan. However, even though my body is used to this mileage, I have to admit I was feeling tired and a bit sore by the end of the week. Here’s how my workouts looked for that first week:
- Monday: 3 miles easy
- Tuesday: 6 miles easy
- Wednesday: 5 miles easy with 8x 20 seconds of strides at the end. <- I was pleasantly surprised by how much fun I had with these on the treadmill!
- Thursday: OFF
- Friday: 4 miles easy
- Saturday: 5 miles easy
- Sunday: 8 miles easy
I felt pretty good on my runs most of the week, but was definitely feeling a bit fatigued and sore by my 8 miler on Sunday. I spent some time stretching, foam rolling, and I took an Epsom salt bath, which is one of my favorite recovery activities.
In related news, I’ve been having an interesting “health” concern the last few times I’ve run. Nothing that I think is very serious, but still a bit concerning. I’ve always “run cold” and had trouble with my circulation in the winter, but after my outdoor runs this week, my fingers have been turning completely white and feeling tingly about 10 minutes after my run, and my lips get a bluish tint to them. I know I should really be changing out of my sweaty/cold clothes right away and that it doesn’t help warm my body very efficiently to hang out in them. But from all my research and polling, it seems like this could be a symptom of Reynaud’s disease, which results in poor circulation. It is not generally very serious if it’s monitored, but it often goes hand-in-hand with other underlying health issues. I plan to visit the doctor soon and see if they believe I may need some more testing to rule out or diagnose any other possible issues. Do you ever deal with any cold weather health issues during the winter months? What do you do to try to combat them?
I hope you all have a great week running/training/enjoying the holiday festivities! Until next time!