Monday, January 10, 2011

Twenty Days and Other Distractions

Yesterday was cold and rainy and freezing, so I decided to put off my scheduled 20 miler until today. Today is still gray and wet, and I learned this morning of a terrible tragedy that befell the family of a colleague and friend over the weekend. In between grieving and tearing up at my desk, I've decided that running isn't happening. Instead, I'm going to go to yoga and dedicate my practice to others. It's not much, but it's something.

To distract myself from the unfairness and fragility of life, I've been rewriting my training plan for the last three weeks leading up to the Houston Marathon. Now probably seems like a bad time to be rewriting and rescheduling, but a morning like this puts something as small as a race - even one 26.2 miles long - into perspective.

Most articles about marathon training recommend a three week taper - the period of time after your last long run where you decrease your mileage in order to rest your legs up for the big day. Seeing as my goal time for Houston is 4:15, and I only run 3-4 days a week anyway, and most of my runs were not as grueling as they probably should have been, a three week taper is way too long for me. The fact that I'm pushing back these last two long runs - 20 miles and 22 miles, respectively - also makes a three week taper impossible. I've planned it out and set it up so that I have a ten day taper, during which I'll still run and practice yoga, but at distances and paces that are relaxed and easy. The goal is not to continue to training, but to maintain the work that I've already put in.

To read the actual workouts, click to enlarge the plan above. (I set my Google calendar so the week begins on Monday, which makes better sense for me, as I work Monday through Friday and my long runs are on Sundays.) Nothing too different from what I've been doing all along, which is the point. I will wait until after the marathon to do things like ride my bike, lift weights, and get back into rock climbing - all of which I want to do right now, simply because I'm tired of marathon training and can't wait to start the next challenge. Which always happens in the last few weeks of training for any event. My brain and body are fickle.

This is a disjointed post but it's all I have in me today. Please remember to tell the people dear to you how much you love them. You never know what tomorrow will bring.