marathon training: week zero
Welp, it’s time. After running my first marathon, almost running nycm, getting hurt, taking a month off, falling more in love with yoga, and slowly but surely finding my way back on the roads, tomorrow begins my 16 week journey to Eugene. This is the first time I’m actually going to stick to a plan. With hindsight, I realized that even though I snuck in some decently long runs before my first marathon (a 16 and 22 miler), my overall mileage was way too low. And when mile 20 rolled around during Wineglass, I was greeted with “the wall” that was more like “see, thiissss is what happens when you don’t train properly for a marathon.”
My running plan is all thanks to Jason Fitzgerald, the guy behind Strength Running. I wanted his help because of his emphasis on (you guessed it!) strength training for runners. He ‘s also big into injury prevent (awesome), science and running theory (good for the brain), aaaand he’s a 2:39 marathoner. Clearly his tactics are working. (I used this personalized race plan.)
What I love about the plan is that it’s going to challenge the hell out of me. It’s not impossible, and it’s flexible. But… it’s hard. I’ll be forced to get in the habit of warming up and cooling down and doing routines that will help with injury prevention. I’ll be told when to do long runs (they happen every weekend, not only twice, Laur) and when to do speed work. My weekly mileage starts at 32 and peaks at 48, which I think is extremely doable.
It goes without saying I’m a bit nervous though. First of all, I’ve never committed to something for 16 weeks. That’s long. (Way longer than, say, a marathon…) And secondly, I’m feeling all wimpy with this blustering, windy NYC weather. I usually love the cold, but realized that was in the context of being bundled up, next to a fire, or simply devoid of sweat on a subway platform. 20 degree winds smacking at your face is less than pleasant. Waiting for your garmin to get signal when it’s freezing out sucks. But…I’m hoping (and maybe assuming?) that I’ll get used to it. The longer days of sunlight will start kicking in, and it will have to get warmer. Or I’ll just toughen up.
Time, though, is what I’m scared about most. No longer can I slot 45 minutes in the morning for a run. (I literally hop out of bed, hop onto the streets, hop in the shower, and then hop on the subway.) Until the sun starts significantly setting later, I’ll be training in the morning. To make sure I properly warm up and cool down, do core, strength work, and stretch, I’ll be getting up a biiiiiiit earlier than I’m used to. Again, I hope I just get used to it. Or invent a way to add a few hours to the day.
But, I wouldn’t be doing this if I didn’t want to. This is a commitment I’m devoted to, and one that I’m incredibly excited about. I’m so curious how legit training for a marathon will change me as an athlete. I think I have a lot of room to improve, and I’m hoping there’s some secret speed I haven’t unlocked yet. And…. maybe this is my ticket to reaching a new level in the running world.
So with that… sub 3:30 or bust. (!!!)