Monday, June 14, 2010

No squirrels were harmed in the making of this training program

First off, thank you so much for all of your congratulations on my race Saturday.  It means so much to me to be able to share it with others.  One thing I really love about the blogging community is that- even though we all have different gifts and abilities- people are so supportive of each other's accomplishments.  Thank you all again.

So that squirrel thing...  I was running down the sidewalk, and a squirrel darted out about two steps in front of me.  I took another step forward (thinking it was gone), and it darted back right as my right leg was swinging forward again.  I'm pretty sure it wasn't hurt because it kept on going, but we definitely made contact!  Sorry, squirrel, but believe me, I was as surprised as you were.

Today is the first day of marathon training, leading up to my expected run in the Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon in October.  I'm all registered, but I say expected because so many things can happen over the course of a marathon training cycle that you never really know until you're on that starting line.  I chose this marathon because it's close and it's in the fall so I have all summer to train.  It's the same week as Twin Cities and the week before Chicago, but unlike those two races, it's much smaller.  It's also supposed to be pretty flat and fast.

After looking at quite a few training plans, I've decided I'm going to follow the Boston Marathon Rookie Training Program.   Obviously I'm not training for Boston or even to qualify for Boston, but this plan has most of the features I think work well for me.  I like that it has a good mix of speed work and long runs, and it seems like it's about the right mileage and intensity level for me.  I look at the plan and think, "That looks hard, but definitely not impossible."

I am planning to make a few modifications.  First, I'm still planning to take two days off each week for weight training.  There's one day off built into the plan, and I'll make one of the easy days each week a day off, too.  Also I usually do my long runs on Saturday rather than Sunday, so some of the scheduling of the workouts within the week will be switched up.  And finally, my "test race" doesn't fall on the same week as the plan has scheduled, so I'll have to juggle things with that as well.  But all in all, I think it will be a good template to follow.

As for goals, I'm going to be very general and say my goal is to finish somewhere between 3:45 and 4 hours.  I'm sure this will be revised closer to race day.  For the purposes of training, I'm going to start with my marathon tempo runs at 8:45 min/mile pace +/- 10 seconds, which corresponds to about a 3:50 marathon.

And for my first day of marathon training... to the gym!