Marathon Training

As you might have noticed, I’m in the middle (well, more the beginning) of marathon training.

Two years ago, I would have thought this was crazy.  I still kind of think it’s crazy, to be honest, but I hope it’s worth it.

A few people have asked me about my training plan.  I’m doing a bit of a hybrid plan, I suppose.  I am a Galloway convert, meaning that I always do a run/walk (or as Galloway says, run/walk/run) pattern.  I feel so much better after every race.  I vary my intervals (meaning how much I run versus how much I walk), but for the most part, for long runs, I’ve been running 1 minute and walking 1 minute.  For shorter runs, I tend to run 2 minutes and walk 1.  My half marathon PR was done at a run 1:30 and walk 1, so these intervals clearly haven’t hurt my time.

But for the marathon, I’m doing 1:1.

I’m not following Galloway’s training plan, however.  This is twofold.  First off, I’m a slightly more experienced runner and I know my body.  His mid-week runs are done by time.  I’m slow, and I know I need more distance than I will get in his proscribed times.  Besides, I was running more than that before starting official marathon training.  Also, I have no desire to do any longer than a 20 mile training run in the leadup to the marathon.  A lot of people like having the longer distance under their belt.  But for half marathon training, I never do more than 10, so I’m following that rule for the full marathon.

Please note – I’m not saying his plan is bad.  There are a lot of great training plans out there and different plans work for different people.

Instead, I’m following Hal Higdon’s novice 1 training program with a few tweaks.  I had to shift around the weeks due to my personal calendar – already scheduled races and travel, including the Christmas holidays.  I didn’t want to be forced to do my twenty mile run around my hometown if I didn’t have to.  I’m fairly certain I would have to circle the town twice to make that work.  So I wanted to have that under my belt before I left Maryland.  I also shifted the schedule so my weekday runs are Tues/Thurs/Fri and my long run is on Sunday.    Some weeks I may shift the Tuesday run to Wednesday, depending on how late I am at choir practice the Monday before.

Flexibility is the key to any good training schedule.  I’ve padded my schedule so if something happens, like getting sick or not being able to pull out a long run for some reason, I can work around it.  I have room for rescheduled workouts.

It’s scary to look at it all on one page. But I can do this.

Product Review – BENGAY Zero Degrees

Thanks to the lovely people over at BENGAY I got to try their new product, called Zero Degrees.

It’s a menthol based cooling gel, and I was interested to see how it stacked up against the others on the market.

First off, I like the packaging.  It’s packaged much like a stick of gel deodorant, with three holes in the top of the packaging for the gel to come out when you twist the knob at the bottom.  It makes it easy to apply without getting the gel on my fingers and then in my eye or some other… ahem… sensitive area (we call this “Pulling a Steve”).

Another neat thing about the product?  It’s designed so that you can keep it in the freezer, adding to the coolness of the gel.

So when I first got the product, I immediately applied it to my knees.  Good texture, but I’m not feeling much coolness… oh, wait, yes, there it is.  It’s one of those things that isn’t instant but then it’s there, and man, does that cooling effect last.

I popped it in the freezer and after my 11 mile run last Saturday, applied it to my hammies and glutes.  I really liked using it cold. It didn’t really change the consistency, but it added to that initial cooling feeling.  Also, I used the container to sort of massage the gel in, which felt great on my muscles.

Then the cooling effect set in. So I decided to see just how long I would feel the coolness.

10 minutes – Definitely still tingly.

20 minutes – Still tingly.

30 minutes – Yep.  Tingles.

Then I got distracted by lunch.

They say the scent vanishes.  I stopped noticing it after a while, but 1) I like the smell of menthol, and 2) maybe I was just getting used to it.  I tried to get someone to sniff me, but no one would.  Apparently, “Hey, I ran 11 miles this morning, will you tell me if I smell,” doesn’t make me sound appealing.

An hour and a half later, I could still feel the cooling sensation, but it was nowhere near as strong.  Still, 90 minutes is pretty good staying time!

Final decision?  I like this product.  I’m definitely going to keep it in my arsenal of recovery aids.

Disclaimer – While I was provided a container of the product to try for this review, I was not compensated for the review in any other way and the opinions are my own.

Not a Minimalist Runner

Last weekend, when I ran with Betsy, she commented that I run with a lot of stuff.

She’s not wrong.

That particular day, I was out for an 11 mile run.  I was wearing a t-shirt and a Sparkle Skirt with all its amazing pockets.  I don’t think Betsy realized just how much stuff I had on me.  With me, I had:

It seems like a lot, but really, I’m not sure what I would leave at home if I were trying to minimize what I was carrying.  The headphones?  The items I was carrying fall into a few categories.

Health – Gu (fuel), water (hydration), inhaler and Garmin 305.  Since I have to watch my heartrate, I need some sort of HRM when I run.  I suppose I could have something with less bells and whistles. But I like the data from the 305.

Safety – Road ID and phone.  Keys too, I suppose, because the other option is to leave the house unlocked or hide keys, neither of which sounds like a good idea.

The lip balm?  Not really a necessity, though the SPF sort of is.

I plug the headphones into my phone and listen to podcasts while I run.  I prefer podcasts to music because it’s much easier to hear what’s going on around me. Music tends to drown out sounds like the biker bells behind me.

So that’s what I tend to carry on a long run.  Still trying to figure out hydration for the longer runs coming up.  I think there’s a water fountain near a school that I pass on my route.  Going to have to look into that.

What do you carry when you run?



Going to the Motherland

Today, I leave on a week long vacation.  It is much overdue, but it won’t be relaxing in the least!

(Dear potential burglars – please note that just because I am not at my house does not mean that no one is at my house.  I have cats that require 24/7 cuddling.  Also, if you are a burglar, why are you reading a blog focusing on fitness and other boring things? Why aren’t you reading about new and improved ways to burgle?)

I’m going to Ireland for the Emerald Isle Classic.

That’s right, I’m leaving the country to go watch an American football game.  But hey, how often do you get this kind of opportunity?

It’s going to be a whirlwind trip, with lots of sightseeing, and hopefully lots of opportunity for exercise too.  My goal is to not gain five pounds while on this trip.  I’m not bringing my running shoes (*gasp*) but I do plan to try to eat well while still enjoying myself.

So while I’m gone, I have some posts scheduled for you and I will see you next week!