A return to training mode

The weather in Tampa has finally shifted towards something that feels habitable for humans. The heavy, oppressive heat has given way to chilly nights and cool, dare I say, comfortable afternoons. Running has miraculously started to feel much more enjoyable and my confidence as a runner has started to peak. To capitalize on this, I have decided to start a new training program.

For the six or so people who have been reading – you may remember that I was doing a half marathon training program over the summer. The program ultimately unraveled due to a bout of illness followed by some depression and, because of scheduling problems I had to forego my target half marathon. On the bright side, the day I was supposed to run the half marathon I ended up breaking 20:00 on a 5-k so…silver lining!

The truth is, I really love training. I almost love training more than racing itself. I love have assigned workouts and feeling like each time I hit the road it has a purpose. I love tracking my own data and watching as the number of miles increases and (hopefully) the pace decreases. I also love the opportunity to dive into articles and research – trying to find the most tried and true ways to maximize performance. Over the past two weeks I have read what feels like hundreds of articles reviewing both anecdotal evidence as well as empirical research on ways to most effectively train. It seems that in doing such a large-scale review I have found that there is a good chunk of advice that diametrically contradicts another good chunk of advice. For every person that swears by a steady, 6-day a week training program there is another one that warns that any more than three runs will kill you. People who tout the benefits of keto in training to force your muscles to use fat as fuel (theoretically reducing the chances of hitting the wall) there is another one promising that keto will ruin your training. It’s maddening and fascinating.

So, what is my plan?

I have come up with three phases to my next year of running.

As an aside – I was tempted to map my running year onto the calendar year but I found that it didn’t neatly line up so, officially, my running year is from December 2018 to October 2019.

Phase I: Marathon training,

or, building confidence and stamina over a long period of time

Goal: Build a solid base for marathon running and get my confidence in 26.2 built up

Target race: Tomoka Marathon, Ormond Beach, FL, March 23rd, 2019tomoka-half-marathon-556x369

Races along the way?: Safety Harbor Half Marathon, Gasparilla Run Fest (5k, 8k, 15k, Half Marathon), Caladesi Island 10 miler, maybe some smaller 5-ks tossed in.

How do I plan to do it?: The whole point of phase one is to get my body into marathon mode. Over the past several months I have been flirting with longer miles – taking off for 16+ mile runs on Sundays and added in walking into my days to increase time on my feet. Now, I want to be more deliberate with my mileage. I have developed a 14-week plan that should get me into the mode to run a fairly okay marathon.

I am also planning on experimenting with a few other things in this early phase.

  • Bullet journaling: I have always been good about tracking my running on my phone using Nike+. I also track my diet using MyFitnessPal. Lately, I have become very interested in doing hand-written tracking. The idea, basically, is that it is more effortful and planful so your mind gives a greater importance/commitment to the task. I also like the idea of having a physical book that I can look at and associate with training. I plan to track out my mileage, a few notes on pace and effort, and also track my diet and any other specifics. I also plan to use it to track motivation, write down inspiration-type things and overall get real obsessive with my own running.

    journaling funny
    I’ll need to be more specific than “I ran again…”
  • Assigning runs to a certain week, not a certain day: Traditionally I would be ultra-specific in my training. Mondays, at 5:45pm, I will run this run. Tuesdays at 4am I will run that run. The problem I found is that if I were suddenly unable to make that run (whether it is because of time or fatigue) it became very easy to let it slip by. I was pushed into a conflict too many times of – do I go for this scheduled run OR do I go to this other thing I want to do. Now, I have a list of the 5 runs I want to do every week with check boxes next to each run. My goal is to just get these runs done and not worry about order. I haven’t been able to see any definitive research showing you HAVE TO run long after a rest day or it’s HORRIBLE to do speed workouts on Tuesdays rather than Wednesdays. Giving flexibility, I hope, will help me hit more of the big picture markers. In a different post I’ll lay out my planned training program.

    Not my journal but a journal I stole ideas from
  • Taking supplements: There are a lot of articles on supplements that are helpful for running and other articles that say those same supplements do nothing. I am being conservative and plan to routinely take supplements that have at least mild consensus on their benefit. My regiment will be:
    • In the morning: Fishoil (for joints) and Vitamin D (because my doctor told me to)
    • After runs: Isopure Protein and BAAC powder
    • Evening: Turmeric (for joints) and Flax seed (for bowels)

Phase II: 15-k training,

or, building some sweet nasty speed

Goal: Increase my speed and ability to maintain steady, fast pace

Target Race: Utica Boilermaker in under 60:00

A second homecoming

Races along the way?: Some 5ks and 10ks.

How do I plan to do it?: At this point in the year, I will hopefully have a solid base of distance from marathon training. After the March marathon I will shift to a heavier focus on speed (via sprint repeats, speed play runs and tempo runs) and hill workouts. After last year’s performance in the Boilermaker, I really feel like if I am smart I can break 1 hour.  Along with a carefully written plan, I will try to add in a fair amount of 5-ks and 10-ks to get some competition and more push on shorter distances.

Phase III: Marathon training part II,

or, trying to make it to the promise land

Goal: Run a Boston Qualifying Marathon in a Boston Qualifying time (under 3:00:00)

Target Race: Corning Wineglass Marathon

If it goes well, we will go wine tasting. If it goes poorly, we will do a lot of wine tasting.

Races along the way?: At least 1 half marathon and a few 10-ks and 15-ks

How do I plan to do it?: To be 100% honest, writing down my goal of qualifying for Boston gave me a fair amount of anxiety. Typing it out, I was unable to add in a sarcastic tone. I couldn’t add any clever quips or dismissive shrugs. Seeing it, written plainly in black and white is nerve-wracking. Can I qualify for Boston?

Much like a unicorn, the chance of me qualifying for Boston may be a myth but its a goddamn beautiful myth

Granted, running a qualifying time doesn’t mean I would get into the race (the faster you go the easier it is to get in and there are no promises of a spot).

I am trying to keep my frame of mind onto, “this is my start to qualifying for Boston.” If I miss my goal the first time around, I will use the Corning Marathon (and the training leading up to it) as a base to adjust upon and try again. So. Corning Wineglass will officially be attempt #1.

Hopefully the Boilermaker went well. With a good base of speed on top of my established marathon training, I will shift into a more balanced approach. I have seen some training programs encouraging 3-runs a week: 1 routine fast run, 1 speed workout and 1 long run with a fast 3-6 mile finish. I’ll finalize my plans in July after the Boilermaker but at this point, I am very interested in the sounds of that plan. It sounds like it is more polishing the finished product rather than building something from the ground up.

But, before phase III, I need to get through Phase I.

Training starts Monday.

Have a good weekend.

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