Monday, November 21, 2011

Marathon Training: Week 1

To aid in my quest to run a four hour marathon on March 18, 2012, I'll be writing training recaps each Monday, documenting the previous week. This is week one!

Despite some scheduling weirdness, week one of marathon training went really well. It was Writer's Week at UNCW so all my classes were canceled. I thought this would free up my time and I would get so much done (catch up on school work, grading, reading, running) but in actuality I spent more time on campus, attending sessions and readings, than I have since I got to Wilmington. It was an amazing week, so I'm not complaining. It just wasn't the week I was expecting.

That said, I managed to complete all my runs and squeeze in my strength training. A word about my training schedule: I plan to run four times a week - one long run (unless it's a step-back week), one speed workout (intervals or tempo runs or a race), and two easy runs (which will get longer as the weeks go by). If I have to skip a run at any point, as I'm sure I will, it will be one of the easy runs. The long runs and the speed work are non-negotiable, but I can do any of my runs on any day of the week, as long as I complete them between Monday and Sunday. Obviously, I won't do speed work the morning after a long run, but otherwise I am free to shift around as needed.

And last week, I needed to shift! Here's how it all shook out:

Monday: An easy five mile run around the neighborhood. The plan called for a 10:30 pace; I ran a 9:30. Too fast, but it felt so good!

Tuesday: Rest day. I would have preferred a rest day later in the week, but Tuesday was crazy-busy and it made the most sense.

Wednesday: Easy five mile run, followed by a 30 minute kettlebell class at the YMCA. The run was, once again, faster than called for (plan said 10:30, I said 9:39) and kettlebell seemed okay, until I woke up the next day and was so sore I could barely walk. I was supposed to do a six mile tempo run this day, but it was warm and humid so I decided to swap it with Friday's easy run.

Thursday: Vinyasa Flow Yoga at the YMCA. I had to leave before savasana, as there was a craft lecture on campus I needed to attend, but it was worth it. Stretch. It. Out.

Friday: My training plan called for a 4 mile tempo run, at 9:00 m/m, with a one mile warm up and cool down. So, six miles total. My splits:

1 mile warm up: 9:59
Tempo mile 1: 8:44
Tempo mile 2: 8:53
Tempo mile 3: 8:49
Tempo mile 4: 8:52
1 mile cool down: 10:48

My splits were a little fast but mostly consistent, so I am pleased. I have a really hard time regulating my speed and will be working on this for the next 18 months.

Saturday: Kettlebell at the YMCA. The Saturday class was combined with an aerobics class (they were short on instructors) so the moves were easier but faster. Which made them seem harder. Go figure.

Sunday: Long run! I headed to Greenfield Lake with a group of friends. My plan called for a 10:30 pace and, as opposed to my too-fast easy runs, I really wanted to get close to this target. Long runs are not about speed - they're about time on your feet, plain and simple. Our group split up after about two miles and I stayed back, running the first four miles with Lucy. Then I caught up to Emily and ran another mile with her. Then I was alone until mile eight, when I saw Nathan, Carson and Mel, and we finished out the ten together. The first five miles were a 10:40 pace (average) and the second half was about 9:50 (I wanted to be done). Overall average pace: 10:18, which is close enough to 10:30. Success!

Total miles: 26!

Final thoughts: So far, so good. As I told Emily during the long run, everything on this plan seems totally manageable, except for the part where I'm supposed to run a four hour marathon. Oh, well. I am putting my trust in the plan and whatever happens, happens! My sole disappointment this week is that I only made it to one yoga class, which is a shame - my goal is two to three classes. I might have to get a home practice going one day a week, which will be a new sort of adventure. I've always done yoga in a class or at a studio, but I'm far enough along in my practice that a solo session should be okay. I'll let y'all know how it shakes out.

As for week two of marathon training: here we go!