Today was the first of my 22 week training schedule for the 2014 Derby Festival Marathon. I took an entire week off after the Louisville Sport Commission Half Marathon and it was really, really hard to get back on the horse. The 8 days I took to relax, drink beer, and focus on everything but working out felt like it was months long as soon as I stepped into the gym after work today. But it felt great to get a good sweat and I am beyond excited to tackle this next obstacle so I am not worried.
My schedule for the next five months is very intimidating to look at on paper. Over the course of the 22 weeks I will be incorporating multiple techniques to help me build the required strength, endurance, and mindset that is required to finish a marathon.
The first of these components is obviously running. I did some research on the length, distances, and variations of running that work best for beginner marathoners. I decided to use the training schedule for the 2013 Chicago marathon due to its thoroughness, format, and that it did a great job of combining distance running, short distance/pace work, weight lifting, and rest. I was able to format the schedule to fit my longest runs of the weeks on Mondays and Saturdays. Saturday was an easy choice, I typically have the most time on these days plus the marathon race is on a Saturday. Monday was a lesser of five evils. I figured Mondays already suck and tend to be the weekdays that I have the least going on and am least likely to be traveling. This program will have me running up to 20 miles to train for the marathon and in the heaviest of weeks I will be running 38 miles. Big numbers for a kid who just suffered through a measly 13.1, but I trust myself and this schedule to get me where I need to be by the time I need to be there.
The second component that the training has is weight lifting. This is probably the part that I am most excited about, as I definitely have noticed a difference in my body and strength after I let lifting go to the way-side during the half marathon training. I knew from training for the half that it would be too much for me to do a full-blown lifting routine like I used to but I also knew I had to do some kind of weight training to improve my strength and, through that, my running. So I decided on a TRX, a suspension trainer designed by and for the military, and think it will serve as the perfect middle ground that I need. Some of my favorite things about the TRX is that I can make the workouts as intense as I want to make them, it is very compact/portable which will make it easy for me to fit workouts in, and it implements a lot of natural movement and body weight training. The kit came with a 12 week training program which will get me through the lower mileage weeks of running. Once those 12 weeks are over, I will see if I want to continue relying on the TRX (given that my mileage will blow way up in the last 10 weeks) or if I think I can move towards a more intense routine. I actually did my first workout today and it was eye-opening to see how much strength I had lost in my upper body and how little strength I have in my core. We all have to start somewhere though.
The third component I will use is cross-training/swimming/cycling/yoga. This will help to mix things up and keep training more interesting than pounding the pavement for mile after mile. These activities are also important to prevent over-training and round out the cardio/strength I will gain throughout. So if anyone knows of a cheap indoor pool or a fun rec league (anything but basketball) please shoot some info my way! Out of all of these though I am most excited for the yoga. I was first exposed to yoga in p90x a few years ago and to this day still enjoy a good warrior series. Not only is it an amazing workout but it will also help keep me stretched out and prevent injuries! There are some great deals for free classes in the studios around Louisville so I will take advantage of those and hopefully gain enough knowledge I can do my own workouts once the weather warms up. Yoga on top of Dog Hill in Cherokee, anyone? 🙂
Finally there is the rest component. Each Sunday and at random points throughout the schedule I will make sure I do everything I can to do as little as possible. I understand how important it is to listen to my body during this process (something that I used to have a very hard time doing) and plan to take all the necessary steps to stay fresh and not over-train. I see multiple ice baths and massages in my future over the next 22 weeks.
I will track this entire program from start (today) to finish (April 19, 2013) and will do my best to keep you up to date with how everything is going. I know that I benefited from people writing about their training experience so I want to make available whatever knowledge I gain from this experience as well. This will probably be in weekly posts recollecting the past week and previewing the next. No promises though, as I tend to forget about this things sometimes.
There are 150 days until April 19, 2014 and the Derby Festival marathon. See you then!