Monday, July 4, 2011

Slurpee-ng down the miles

It's the first week of July and I've officially begun marathon training. I am very excited about this! Of course this means the re-birth of 12 mile morning runs, doubles and long runs: gone are the days of split ends, wet hair, scaly skin and chlorine-induced sneezing attacks! Although that phase of supplemental cross-training was fun, I much prefer gallavanting through the trails in the warm sunshine at daybreak than staring at the bottom of a pool.

Bottom of a pool

Or the Beltline trail?!

I am starting out with about two weeks of easy running, building up the mileage. I was quite comfortable at 70 miles/week for the past month, so will be bringing it up to ~90 miles per week and upping it to 100 miles in late July. I won't be peaking much higher than I did in the winter, but instead would like to be more consistently at 100 miles. I think I managed 3 100 mile weeks in the winter, with most hovering around 90.

The approach will be slightly different this time around. First, I will start with easy running only then progress into a 'tempo' phase for the rest of July. Nothing too intense. Instead of doing straight easy long runs, however, we will be alternating easy with tempo long runs every week. This will give us more chances to familiarize ourselves with marathon pace and make it comfortable come race day. I felt that in the winter I did little running at my actual goal pace - all was either slower or much faster. I will aim for somewhere in the 3:50/km region for these workouts.
Second, we will be doing meatier workouts once a week that will evolve to awesome sets like 3-4x3k, 10x1k and 5x2k. I think we had a few of these workouts planned in the winter but because of snow, we had trouble completing them as planned. Now all we have to deal with is very humid days which are sure to come. Bring on the powerade slurpees!
Third, I won't be doing as much racing. This isn't really because I think it's a bad thing to race leading up to a marathon, but because there just aren't a lot of races I'm keen on doing. I will likely do the Acura 10-miler in August, and perhaps A Midsummer Night's 30k as a long run, then the 10k Champs in September. Voila!
Fourth, Kap 'N K (our beloved circuit leader) is back and this means that I'll have my ass whipped into shape on the circuit scene. Can't say my push-ups have improved much in the 6 months she's been gone and I know I'll have to pay for my laziness. I am looking forward to getting on a better circuit regime, however, both to get stronger and to prevent injuries with all the mileage ahead.
Lastly, I have promised myself that I will practice my nutrition better both before and during long runs, especially tempos. I have had too many 'GI Jane' issues in the past to let this one slide. I will likely subsist on powerade during the run, but have to make sure the timing and quality of my pre-race fueling is something my stomach is used to.

I'm psyched to get into heavy training mode, partly because I've never trained for a marathon in the summer and LOVE summer running. Last summer the track was fun, but I hated doing wimpy 50min runs every day. Not to mention trying to bust out some fast stuff in the 40 degree afternoon heat. And obviously, because there is nothing quite like an ice cold slurpee after a summer long run!

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