Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Marathon Training

So where do I begin and what brought me to this point and time right here? well the marathon of course 26.2 miles of glorious hell and then some. Including a few ultras I've done 15, a lot for some not much to others it's more of a hobby than an accomplishment.
It all started of course in NYC 2005 my first marathon which I ran in an unseasonably warm day, it was my first so of course I was nervous but I ran it and went through all the emotional turmoil that goes on while running it, I loved it, I hated it, and I just plowed through it.
New York is a hard course the second half being mostly hills bridges and a steady incline that you don't even notice while you're running it but it tends to take it's toll add the weather in the mid 70's and humid it along with the non stop screaming of the crowd and it becomes overwhelming.
Along 5th avenue bodies of runners lay on the side of the curb like war casualties, some on stretchers some fell right in front of me the whole time I thought to myself just let me get through this, and I did under 4 hours which was my goal. As I crossed the finish i swore never again,that lasted 10 minutes when I spoke to my sister who asked me if I had decided to run the Rock n' Roll marathon with her in 2 months, as if I had already forgotten what pain I was in I accepted.
Marathon #2 just 2 months later raised a few eyebrows from some experienced marathoners but what did I know? just do it and that's all there is. Turns out my sister got injured and couldn't run it and decided to be my cheer leader, OK no big deal I figured it was an excuse to see AZ anyway. 2 Things I will take away from this marathon, 1. it was hosted by PF Chang and they had coupons for runners which i learned the hard way was the wrong way to fuel up before 26.2 the next day, unless you like multiple porto john stops, 2. I was on my feet the day before computer shopping with little sis. bad move and 3. I was running in the desert and though at the halfway point I remember being glad for running it by mile 16 the sun had come out and knocked me on my butt, still I finished in 4 hrs great
The next time i ran NYC I still had no expectations and was still kind of a rube at this, i ran according to how I felt and and finished in 3:38 awesome, I felt great it was effortless and I just ran for fun, but most important had hadn't any expectations what-so-ever and mind you my shorter distance races were no where near as quick as they are now.

By this time I started to do ultras and more back to back marathons trained non stop and you can say i probably over trained for any of my regular marathons trying different training plans doing lots of miles and so on. Because I was becoming competitive and I saw my race times and my endurance getting better I just assumed I would do well in marathons, errr, maybe not.
One of my problems with running marathons is sleep, I'm a light sleeper and I wake up a lot at night so when i having something pressing to do the next day it becomes challenging to fall back asleep because my nerves get the best of me, yes this is my runners excuse and every runner has one. I could have run a .......... but my leg cramped, but my toe hurt but, but , but oh I hate the runners excuses, the only real excuse is I didn't train right.
Great marathon excuses and the real story behind these lamo sob stories.
1. I didn't get enough sleep A) start going to sleep earlier and get into a routine most people don't sleep well before the big race so just own up to the fact you had too many late nights. Translation: you didn't train right.
2. I had a cramp A) waaaah, my heart bleeds for you, but did you not eat right leading up to this? did you hydrate before & during this or did you go out too fast? Translation: you didn't train right.
3. I was on pace for XXX but my I.T. band , my knee, my back, acted up A) you went out to hard. Translation: you didn't train right
It's not rocket science just listen to your body and train right.
Other factors include the weather which yes will slow you and everyone else down but a sour attitude while running will waste too much energy and keep you further from your goal than you need be.
In 2009 i ran the NJ Marathon and it rained and rained and rained, I simply blew that because of my attitude and my lack of confidence. I trained better than I have trained for any other marathon and I was miserable because of the rain I didn't enjoy the run and every step i took in my rain soaked Brooks felt like torture. Another uninspired time. Mean while my girlfriend PR'd and had the greatest run ever, the difference? she didn't agonize over every little thing she just ran, stayed focused and kicked ass and that's all there is to it.

Next I decided to train for the JFK 50 which unknown to me had sold out, the thing about ultras is you never concern yourself with a PR because really who cares ? so few people do them and the ones that don't only think of the distance and not the time, in other words there's no pressure, awesome.
Not so awesome, it sold out so i decided to do the Knickerbocker 60K in central park 2 weeks after the NY marathon, no big deal the marathon was part of my training run and I had run 26 mile runs 3 times before NY so no big deal right? WRONG!
Just how many times can i get this wrong?? yes I went out too hard in NY expecting to be as fast as I was in the spring with double the endurance which clearly was not the case. Within the first 6 miles my I knew my goal time (there's that thing again) was out the window I made it past the first half but damn why did it feel so hard, I've run this course dozens of times leading up to this and today it's going to be a problem? well actually yes. By the time I made it to the 59th street bridge runners that I knew that were not as quick as me were passing me, oh my ego once again bruised and tarnished. By mile 16 it was over i saw girlfriends parents and they encouraged me to move on which lasted a half mile and then I walked all the way to the finish expecting to run again at some point. By mile 20 I saw my pretty girlfriend Kristy running along and I cheered for her, she offered to walk with me but I told her to run her race best she could, she could take 10 minutes off her time for hanging with me. As for me, I finished in 5:30 got my medal and went to the medical tent.

Though I couldn't walk for a week just 2 weeks I ran that 60K, not just that, I actually ran to it and put in 40 miles that day, my intention was really just to do half that if I could but it seemed easy to just run a few loops around the park plus my good friend Lynn Bradley and he boyfriend were there cheering me on, and they waited for my to finish so I ran it in and thanked them for being so kind.
It's not all bad though, as I said I've run shorter distance races and picked up my pace considerably. My pace for a 4 miler was 7:04 per mile which is now down to 6:52, my last half marathon I ran as a bandit and without the pressure my overall pace was 7:34 per mile which of course led me to believe my latest marathon would have me in my goal time of 3:29 seems like I'm right on target doesn't it? well I'll have to do a race report on that one another time.

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