Monday, November 9, 2009

Over the river and through the woods, to Grandma's Marathon I go

It's never too early to set a goal for yourself.

Long-term goals are good. In everyday life, they give you a sense of direction and encourage you to dream big. In the realm of health and fitness, they give your exercise and dieting routines more importance because they're all building toward something in the future.

The long-term goal for myself that I bring forth today: To run Grandma's Marathon in Duluth next summer.

(note: Feel free to throw up after reading the previous sentence. I know the fat, lazy couch potato version of me from my youth wants to do so.)

Admittedly, I'm not writing this at the exact starting point of my training. I'm actually in Week 3 of the plan I've drawn up (shooting for 25 miles this week). But be that as it may, I might as well get my goal out in the open early for my more-than-likely small readership to acknowledge.

Also, I must confess that running of a marathon isn't exactly a new concept to me. I ran my first marathon earlier this year in St. Joseph, MN and can still recall the painful recovery from that race all too well. I ran the race to the best of my abilities and came in with a time of 3:38:32, a figure I know by heart because the newspaper clipping of the race results is still hanging in my apartment.

However, unlike my first marathon, which I basically ran with the goal of finishing without dying, my goal for Grandma's is to run fast enough to achieve a qualifying time for Boston Marathon the following spring. For my age group, that would require a time of 3:10:59, which means I would have to improve upon the time of my first marathon by a cool 28 minutes.

Again, feel free to throw up. I think even the fitness-conscious adult in me wants to vomit after reading that.

With a goal as lofty as that, I figured it best to get started early on the running if I want to have a shot at it. I also thought getting into training before the holiday season (and, more importantly, holiday eating season) hits would be in my best interest fitness-wise.

Anyway, here is a rough sketch of the plan I drew up for training:

  • Start small with weekly mileage and try to increase it by roughly 10% each week, with my Week 1 being 21 miles. The 10% figure is a number I got from an article I read in Runner's World magazine. My goal is to have my weekly mileage up in the 50-60 mile range by the end of next spring.
  • Try to get at least one run of 10+ miles in a week, with that mileage gradually working itself up to the 15-20 range.
  • Try to get at least one interval training run in a week to keep my cardiovascular system guessing. This would include workouts like running hills (easy to find in Mankato), Fartlek workouts, or playing pick-up games of soccer, basketball or any other sport that requires sprinting.
  • Stretch for at least 5-10 minutes after each run and try to do the same before each run if there's time. This might also extend to doing yoga on rest days and doing little stretches here and there throughout the day. One thing I learned from the marathon this year: The more limber you are, the less sore you are.
  • Change my eating habits in the hopes of dropping 15-20 pounds by next summer and making things easier on my knees and legs during the run. This would include not eating anything late at night, avoiding fast foods, cutting back on junk food and saying "no" to any pop (or soda, if you want to be all non-Minnesotan about it). The last one might be the hardest to accomplish as Mountain Dew is admittedly a sugary vice of mine.
  • Continue weight training on a regular basis, but scale back the weightlifting so that running becomes the emphasis of workouts. As much as every guy likes having bulging biceps for girls to stare at, the concept of losing weight doesn't really work if you're trying to pack on muscle and look like Vin Diesel. For what I'm trying to accomplish, toning the muscle I have would be the better route.

That's about all I can think of at this point. Feel free to chime in with advice, comments and declarations of my insanity.

Note: Here are some of the training logs I took advice from in formulating my marathon plan/death wish:

Rookie Marathon Plan
Grandma's Intermediate Marathon Training schedule

1 comment:

  1. my goal for this year was to run the TC marathon in under 4 hrs, i thought it was strong being my first. Now with theaddition of the Mankato marathon, my new goal is to run the TC and mankato marathons in the same year, which are only 20 days apart or so. There is one guys in the TC marathon that runs 52 marathons in 52 weeks. That would be tough goal, but not unreachable.