Marathon Training: Hurricane Style

You know what makes running a challenge?  Hurricanes.

I’m writing this post a day early (it is Monday) because I’m fairly convinced I won’t have power tomorrow.  Perhaps not for the rest of the week, if the power companies are to be believed.  We got home from Florida late last night (before the storms hit) and while it is nice to not have to go into work this morning, the doom and gloom isn’t all that great.   I’m currently looking at a tree in my backyard and thinking that it better stay put.

While I’m worried about my house and my stuff, I have to admit that what I’m most worried about is getting back into training.  Because of the wedding last week, I took the week off from running, aside from the wedding 5K.  So this week, I need to kick things back into gear.

Except there is a hurricane outside.

I could hit the treadmill and hope that the power doesn’t go out mid-run (which would make me fall off the treadmill in a very graceful fashion).  That’s probably my best bet.  Otherwise, I’m just going to start running laps around the kitchen table.  I probably wouldn’t be the first marathon crazy to try that method.  I’m just hoping to be able to get out for the weekend.

And that my house and my friends’ houses all come through the storm unscathed, of course.

So what do you do when the weather thwarts your running plans?


I haven’t been running much this week because I’m out of town for Katie and Steve’s wedding.  I’ve been on my feet, but that’s not the same thing.  I’m not doing a long run this weekend.  And while a weekend of rest is never a bad thing, it makes me nervous.

Of course, when I setup my marathon training plan, I planned for this week off.  I also padded my plan in case long runs went awry.

But I’m nervous.  I think it’s because the race is getting closer.  (I touched on this a bit on Monday, but wanted to discuss a bit more.)  Next weekend, I have a 15 mile run, and the distances ramp up from there (following a modified Higdon plan).  Prior to this, I’ve been focusing on other milestones.  Vacations.  Weddings.  Other, shorter races.  But now, the next big thing on my list seems to be the marathon.

Sure, I’ve got the Philly Half in there, but that seems like nothing, since it will be a stepback week between a 16 mile run and an 18 mile run.

16 miles.  18 miles.  All distances I’ve never covered before.

I’m not sure if I’m going to be training alone or with others.  It just sort of depends on schedules.  And I like both.  If I train with others, I have company.  If I train alone, I can choose my own pace (and I can run from my house rather than driving to a central point).  Perks to both.

I’m nervous.  I know that I can do this if I put my mind to it.  But it scares me.

Marathon Training Update

I’m about a month and a half into my official marathon training.  So far, my longest run was this past Monday at about 14 miles (13.5 plus a warmup walk and cooldown walk).  I’m not increasing distance again until the weekend of November 3/4.  I have the Baltimore Half Marathon tomorrow and the Army Ten Miler the following weekend.  The weekend after that, I will be out of town for a wedding.

I figure that the racing will be good training because even though I’m not increasing distance, I will be running faster than normal training pace.

My pace has been frustrating as of late.  I’m not doing a lot of speedwork, as it isn’t recommended in the plan I’m following.  Once I’m confident that I can handle the distance, I will return to speedwork.  I do run my mid-week runs at a faster pace than my weekend runs, but that’s about it.  So I shouldn’t expect to see any pace improvement. It’s just frustrating to see my pace falling.

Here’s an example from Monday’s run.

Mile 1 – 14:28
Mile 2 – 14:02
Mile 3 – 13:41
Mile 4 – 14:52 (here is where I got stopped by a guy who wanted to chat)
Mile 5 – 13:45
Mile 6 – 13:56
Mile 7 – 14:23 (here is where I stopped to look at map)
Mile 8 – 13:42
Mile 9 – 14:17
Mile 10 – 14:03
Mile 11 – 13:49
Mile 12 – 13:56
Mile 13 – 14:24
Final .46 – 6:52

That’s about a 14:08 pace.  Which I guess isn’t that bad, now that I look at it.  All the calculators say I should be running my long runs at 14:07 based on my half marathon PR, so… maybe I shouldn’t complain.  It’s just tough to see those numbers.  I’d like to be running at least under a 14 minute mile.

This is when being slow just eats away at my brain.  My goal for the marathon?  Finish.  I’d like to finish in the official time, meaning that I need to run 16 minute miles.  So if I can keep my training at under 14:30’s, I’m fine.  I don’t have any other time goals.  Time goals are for my second marathon, assuming there is one.

But it’s hard to be slow just the same.

It’s Getting Real

I think somewhere in my brain, it’s not yet real that I’m actually running a marathon in January.  When I registered, I was immediately nervous.  Now, it just seems like it’s so far away that it’s something I don’t really have to think about it.

Now don’t get me wrong – I’m definitely training.  My training runs haven’t yet been more than 12 miles though, so it just feels like some extra long runs before a half marathon, not like actual marathon training.

Maybe it’s good that I’m not dwelling on it too much.  This weekend’s 12 mile run was rough.  Of course, that was to be expected, having been a slug while on vacation, not running, and not eating properly.  The idea of doing twice that and then some?  It sounds scary.  So I’m just ignoring it.

Right now, I have two big things on my running radar: Disney’s Tower of Terror Ten Miler at the end of the month and the Annapolis Striders’ Metric Marathon the following weekend (and the Baltimore Half the weekend after that and the Army Ten Miler 2 weeks later and…).    I’m excited for Tower because I love Disney races and because so many of my friends are going to be there.  I’m nervous because it’s a night race, and those are a bit of a struggle for me.  But I’m hoping that my training runs will be more than enough to get me through 10 miles.

Kim and I are treating the Metric Marathon as a training run, but it’s still a 16+ mile run.  It will be my longest distance to date.  I’m sure she and I will be the last two in the pack, but that’s okay.  We’re going to take it nice and easy and just get through the run.  I think once I get over that hurdle, I’ll feel a lot better about training.  I’m a little worried about how I’m going to get there, with busy weekends coming up.  I might only get in a 13 mile run before the 16 miler, which isn’t the world’s best idea, but such is life.  And after that, my schedule has me dropping back for a few weeks (races, weddings, etc) and I’ll pick up the longer distances in November with a 15 mile run the first weekend of the month.

I’m pretty sure that October is the point when I’ll start getting really nervous.  But I have a schedule that will get me through.  I just have to stick with the plan.  I’m glad I sat down and looked at my personal calendar and made a plan that will work for me.  It took a few tweaks, but I’m getting in the distance, and that should be enough to get me across that finish line.

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.