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Getting ready for my 2nd Marathon (Read 936 times)

     I am training for the Maine Marathon in September and lucky enough to have a friend who is an experienced marathoner helping me with training and general coaching (I’m calling him Yoda from here on out).  My first marathon training was driven by a book and a spreadsheet so I feel great about the direction I’m receiving.   As a matter of fact, Yoda pointed me to the RA site, and has me logging all of my runs accordingly with his oversight.  He has also strongly encouraged me to utilize the site to solicit the feedback of others, ask questions, etc. so here we go. 

    I’m 41, in decent shape, and have run on and off since I was in 3rd grade but nothing super serious since HS Track and CC (where I was ok at best).  I Ran a 5:18 marathon at Sugar Loaf last year (2011) and it was not the ideal course for a first timer because of the hills (especially the downhill ones) but with my kids schedules I had very little choice so I sucked it up and ran it.   The last 6 weeks of training were not as productive as I’d hope because I rolled my ankle and it put me behind when the longer runs were coming before the race.  On race day the pounding of the hills did a number on my legs but more specifically my knee.  After running the first 13 at what felt like a snail’s pace (2:15) I felt like I had plenty in the tank for the second 13.  Around mile 16 my knee started acting up and that lasted for the final 10.2 miles.   I really thought a 4:30 was in reach but I was thrilled to finish and knew I would have another shot at improving my time.   I never ran more than a 118 miles in a month, maxed out at a 20 mile long run (just once), and basically ran 4 days a week (5,5,5, and a long run) to keep the pounding to a minimum.  My ankle injury had nothing to do with training but was caused by a tricky paved road.  Before Yoda agreed to train me a few weeks ago I had better mileage totals at the end of 2011 and beginning of 2012 (Nov/Dec/Jan) at 113/133/120.  I was really running hard at the end of January but essentially ran to many consecutive hard days on the treadmill where I made huge strides from a pace perspective but ultimately overdid it and then was out for 2 weeks with a calf/foot injury.  Other than the marathon I do a few 5ks per year that ranged between 22:16 and 23:15 in 2011 and 2010.  In March I ran a 21:15 for 3mi and feel like I have a sub 22 5k in me (likely better).   As Yoda tells me, my 26.2 and 5k goals are obviously enormously different (he never said “do…or do not….there is no try&rdquoWink but I’m focused on running a time “with a 4 in front of it”  (hours) but I think I can push for something below a 4:30.  I know in the back of my mind I’ll understand how realistic this is as I put in the work and get closer to the Sept 30th race.  I’ll run at least 2 or 3 5ks this year and realize my sub 22 goal may not be aggressive enough but that’s where I’m starting.

    Training:  Yoda has done a great job of breaking up the distance of my runs and sprinkling in some stride work with easy days, and long days.  We are amending the training plan as we go (Its being built on a week by week basis).  This is only week one and I already feel like I have more structure and more energy based on not running the same distances at the same speeds.  I know I will be running hills, strides, long runs, tempo etc.  but the addition of strides seems to make a lot of sense to me.  Over the next several weeks I’ll be adding a couple of miles per week (completing about 35 mi his week) and eventually getting to 55 miles at my peak.  Any other advice or observations for training?  I’ve historically done very little cross training, zero core work, no lifting, a few inconsistent weeks of pushups, and little stretching.  A few questions:  How many days off should I take per week?  Should I sprinkle in cross training?  If so, do I add that outside of my running days so I run 5 days and cross train 1 day per week?  How much should I stretch and when?  I often have some tightness in one of my hips and lower back (although I’ve never had a bad back I’m about 5’7 and 165). 

    Eating:  I know that it makes no sense to diet when training but from a dietary perspective I need some help here too.  I do ok in the morning, (granola bar, wheat toast w/ cream cheese), and for lunch (veggie sandwich with cheese, and a bowl granola cereal with milk).  Dinner can be hit or miss.  I do eat pizza once a week, and usually have nachos once a week too.  Adding these things with about 12 beers a week.  In writing all of this down it sounds worse than I thought I was doing from a nutritional stand point but figured I needed to come clean.  Suggestions here regarding eating habits, when you splurge a little, and when/if you indulge in a few beers or wine would be great.

    Balancing everything else:  I’m getting better here while trying to balance work and family with running.  I’ve been getting up to put in my work in before the kids go to school and on the weekends before our day starts so I haven’t completely disrupted our lives yet but I'm sure that's coming.  I’m also working on a schedule to give to my wife that helps explain what days, when, and how long my runs will take.  This way, I can schedule my training around our life so that it causes less impact (although I know there will be some).

    Vacation:  Same deal here.  I’ve always run on vacation but not with the intensity that this summer’s training will require.  My intention is to handle vacation the same way I handle the school year by getting up early before the day starts and finishing my runs before the crew finishes breakfast. 

    The RA site has been great so far and I’ve gleaned a ton of information about training, new runner experiences, and people just logging their accomplishments of simply getting off the couch.  Yoda describes his help with me as “paying it forward” and I know many on this site take the same approach.  I heard an expression from a young athlete last week where he said “you need to catch your goal not chase it” and I’ve decided to take on that mantra.

      Your 5K time is better than my best of 22:45, and I recently ran a 3:49 marathon.  I previously ran two 3:51 marathons with no speedwork at all, no cross training, no exercises, and no training plans.  I just tried to run six days per week with a mixture of distances.  All running was at an easy pace.  I averaged about 40 miles per week in the winter, 50 miles per week in the summer, a month off after the marathon, and 2000 to 2100 miles per year. 

       

      Last year, I added weekly tempo runs, and set the 3:49 PR.  This year, I'm doing a tempo run and a marathon pace run every week. 

       

      The single best thing you could do to improve your marathon time is to build your mileage to 50 miles per week spread over six days.  After several 50 mile weeks, ease your weekly longest run up to 15 to 16 miles.  Add a 12 mile midweek run for a couple months and you will be in shape for a sub 4 hour marathon. 


      Interval Junkie --Nobby

        The single best thing you could do to improve your marathon time is to build your mileage to 50 miles per week spread over six days.  After several 50 mile weeks, ease your weekly longest run up to 15 to 16 miles.  Add a 12 mile midweek run for a couple months and you will be in shape for a sub 4 hour marathon. 

         

        I'm rather new at this as well, but the above sounds like the advice I was given and would pass along.  My 5k time was only 21:30 when I ran a 3:32 for my first marathon.  The big difference seems to be mileage.  I was basically running the above: 50+mpw (you can check my log to see my workouts this past Winter and Spring).  A mid-week 12 and a weekend 18 with a few 20s toward the end, should do it.

         

        Also, goto "Options"->"My Log Preferences" and make your log public.  It's the best way to solicit advice here.  Many of the vets on the site took the time to pour over my workouts and let me know what I was doing wrong.  It was extremely helpful.  I'm sure Yoda would like to see it to keep track of you as well.

        2014 Goals:  sub-3 Marathon 

        Current Status 06/19: Pelvic stress-fracture = 6-weeks of no running.

          Some quick thoughts:

           

          - make your log public

           

          - sounds like your friend has you at least asking the right questions

           

          - lose some weight, this will help tremendously

           

          - building mileage to x mpw (whether that's 50 or whatever, you'll need to solve for x) shouldn't be a "several week" thing. It should be a much longer (years) thing. In other words, a handful of weeks at x won't cut it. A few years at x and you'll be a completely different runner*

           

          - balance can be tough. Don't just take time for you, give time back to the ones you're taking it from (e.g. i'm going for a 90 min run this morning, why don't I take the kids to the park this afternoon while you xyz...)

           

          - If you're gonna drink beer, drink good beer. You'll probably end up drinking less and enjoying it more

           

          MTA:

          -  “you need to catch your goal not chase it” .... what does this mean? Seriously, I read it and it's been bugging me all morning.

           

          *MTA2: I write that not based on experience. I've only spent just over 2 years slowly building up to something in the mid 40s. My hope is that extended periods at "higher" mileage will eventually make me a completely different runner. I do believe in the solve for x thing though. Beware anyone telling you what x is. Ok. Done now.

          Come all you no-hopers, you jokers and rogues
          We're on the road to nowhere, let's find out where it goes
            MTA:

            -  “you need to catch your goal not chase it” .... what does this mean? Seriously, I read it and it's been bugging me all morning.

             Pursuit  achievement.

            “Everything you need is already inside.” -- Bill Bowerman

               Pursuit  achievement.

               

              Isn't that a bit obvious though? I mean, you need to shoot your prey, not hunt it? You need to get an A, not study for it? I guess I don't understand how this is some sort of insightful/meaningful mantra to be "taken on".

              Come all you no-hopers, you jokers and rogues
              We're on the road to nowhere, let's find out where it goes

                Sounds like a consistent theme here with more miles which is definitely the plan and thanks for the feedback.

                 

                Gville - Wrote this on my flight home this week from the West Coast and then posted the next day.  Apparently anything written on a red eye flight under the influence of ambien should be posted at a later, more well rested date.  Let's leave it at that.


                Doughboy

                  Under-think, rather than over-think. Just run and let it happen. My suggestion is to put your emphasis on running more frequently. As many days as your life and your body allow. Vary the distance. Vary the time. Run nothing too hard. But run frequently. You'll gain an appreciation for what your present limits are; slowly and gently stretch those limits; and build enthusiasm for running for its own sake. And since you have a coach, let him/her do the worrying about the specifics. You just worry about getting out there. Try to be an artist rather than a baker. Or be a baker rather than a chemist. But be honest with your efforts, and never worry about the ratios, quantities, or speeds. That's coach's job. You  just run. And run as often as you can.

                  The "more miles" will happen gradually and naturally if you run frequently. That's my take anyway.

                    Under-think, rather than over-think. Just run and let it happen. My suggestion is to put your emphasis on running more frequently. As many days as your life and your body allow. Vary the distance. Vary the time. Run nothing too hard. But run frequently. You'll gain an appreciation for what your present limits are; slowly and gently stretch those limits; and build enthusiasm for running for its own sake. And since you have a coach, let him/her do the worrying about the specifics. You just worry about getting out there. Try to be an artist rather than a baker. Or be a baker rather than a chemist. But be honest with your efforts, and never worry about the ratios, quantities, or speeds. That's coach's job. You  just run. And run as often as you can.

                    The "more miles" will happen gradually and naturally if you run frequently. That's my take anyway.

                     

                    Great advice.  Today I ran a 5k at 22:06 which is a PR.  Not a sub 22 but I'm inching closer to it.  Warmed up with a buddy and it's the first time I've really spent that much time with light running, strides, and various other excersizes (probably a good 20-25 minutes - probably about 2 mi.) so I had a good sweat going but didn't at all feel overworked but rather ready to go.  My fear is always going out to fast and mi 1 was about 6:56, Mile 2 6:52, and then I ran out of gas to finish (I obviously went out to fast).  I've got another 5k on July 4th where the first 1.55 is a gradual hill and my previous PR on the course is in the 22:50s a few years ago.  I'm interested to see how the marathon training miles from May and June impact the outcome.