Before beginning marathon training, there is a sort of pre-training one must do to get you to where you need to be in order to begin the actual training for a marathon. (Unelss you plan on walking the entire marathon, abolustely killing yourself, most likely getting hurt, and/or hating running forever more)
I usually do this phase after having a baby or after I have not been able to run for at least three or more months. This is the phase where you shed the extra "baby pounds, or I ate too much pounds" that can make running very hard and painful. You strengthen the running muscles and work out kinks as they arise. It is a time to heal any injuries and start eating foods and getting used to a diet that fuels the body for running. You work lungs for endurance and mental strength for the long runs. It kicks the body into gear and you can begin to feel your body getting stronger and more prepared for the hard core training that is ahead. This phase can be as long as is needed. There is no rush.
I NEVER plan a marathon, or even look up marathon dates until I know for sure that I am about done with this phase. I just take my time and enjoy it. No pressure. I will not leave this phase unless I can run 6 miles at least four times a week comfortably. That is what I set for myself, but it is different for everyone.
The pre-training phase is always very hard to begin, just like beginning any exercise program, but it quickly provides results and is a lot of fun! I start out feeling like a beached whale trotting along on the treadmill. I feel gross, I am sucking for air, and I can feel the flubber threatening to slap me in the face. This last time I began this phase, I started out running two minutes at a time (feeling like death run over), and went from there. It was embarassing, and I felt like all eyes were on the red faced girl on the treadmill sucking wind and getting nowhere. BUT sooner than later, I could feel myself getting leaner, stronger, and ready for more. And here I am! It is an awesome feeling, and it is a lot of work. I love it!
This week commenced the last of the pre-training marathon schedule for me. It feels so good to know that I made it through this phase, and the results are great as well. However, it is a bitter/sweet ending, because what is about to begin is, for lack of a better word....intense.
Starting on Monday, I will begin a 15 week full- marathon training schedule. I have used the same one for the last three marathons, and it was absolutely awesome (I will give the website to anyone who wants it), but this time it will be different.
I have a huge dream, and I REALLY want to fulfill it at this marathon. For the first time, I will be running a marathon for a specific time and I will be training to run it at this time. I planned on running the last marathon for a time (not this specific one), but the course would not allow it, so I didn't worry about it. I was just thrilled to finish that terrible course. It is a whole new ballgame this time and I get nervous just thinking about it. I am reaching for the stars with this one, and it is a long shot, but I am going to go for it!
I am not with-holding my goal time to be rude or mysterious, I am with-holding it because I only want to compete with myself. Other people have running goals as well, and I don't want to compare. No matter what the goal is, each person that achieves it, has something to be very proud of. Everyone is in a different phase of life with different goals, and we should all be proud of whatever we are working toward.
The training I will be doing is VERY hard and it is a lot of miles, and the pace is much faster. But I think I am ready for it. This will probably be my last marathon. I love running them, but after this, I think my body will be ready for a change. Ben and I are looking into those mini-triatholons. They look like a blast and it is something we can do together.
I will be more than thrilled just to finish this marathon strong, and if I somehow reach my time goal and fulfull a big dream of mine, it will be even that much better!
I have a running ticker on top of the blog. It was set up for the pre-training phase, and now it will be re-set each week for the marathon training phase. Starting with week 1...tomorrow. I have it there, so that I feel more accountable to get the miles in. I admit, knowing that all of you can see my progress, is a little nerve wracking, but I need the pressure. The miles will go up each week, and I need to push it. Being held accountable helps a lot. Some of these miles will be done in chunks..like 14-20 mile runs, others will be shorter runs but at a much faster pace.
I am very excited for the next 15 weeks, and I am also very ready to get it over with. It will be brutal! Here's to busting my buns for the next 15 weeks and to reaching for the stars! Wish me luck.