I finally started training for the marathon! Well, sort of. I downloaded this great training plan from the Nike+ Run Club website. The program is free, and the link was sent to me as part of an e-mail update from the Chicago Marathon organizers. Basically, there are three plans to choose from: 1) Finish a Marathon (that’s all I’m looking to do here, people), 2) PR in a Race (considering I’ve never raced in my life…I am technically guaranteed a PR. Sweet!) and 3) Beat the Kenyans (or something like that). So, yeah. Pretty easy choice for this newbie runner.
The 18-week plan is set up so there is some type of activity (running, weight training, or cross training) scheduled most every day, with a ‘long run’ scheduled every Saturday and a ‘rest day’ scheduled every Sunday. The plan starts with completing a total of 13 miles by the end of week one, building up to a total of 38 miles in week 13 and then tapering down from there. From my vast knowledge of marathon training plans, this seems pretty typical, with the first 2/3 or so of a plan building up and then the final 1/3 tapering down. It’s interesting that there is never a full marathon distance scheduled within the plan. I guess once you go a full 26.2 miles, you might never want to do it again!
I’m sure this and other training plans have been heavily researched and well-tested, but it doesn’t seem very practical to me. The plan might work perfectly for someone with a typical Monday through Friday workweek or someone who works from home or is a stay-at-home mom/dad/whatever, and more likely for someone who has nothing to do but train for a marathon, but, um, yeah. Life. Training for a marathon is a big commitment, but again, I’m not out to beat the Kenyans here. So I will modify things and work through it as best I can. Sort of the way we all muddle through life, don’t you think?
I didn’t start the program until five weeks into the plan (in my defense, the plan link was sent to me four weeks after I should have started), so I decided rather than be behind, I would jump in and catch up at that point. That meant instead of starting with an ‘easy’ three miles, my first day, I had to do eight miles, and by the end of my second week (week six of the plan), my end-of-the-week long run (er, walk) was 10 miles. It really wasn’t so bad. After all, technically speaking, I have been training for over 50 years!
The plan is set up so there is some type of activity most every day, with a ‘long run’ scheduled every Saturday and a ‘rest day’ scheduled every Sunday. This would work for anyone with a typical Monday through Friday work week, but it doesn’t exactly work for me because my work schedule changes every week. I can easily be working 12 hour shifts or traveling for business on the weekends, so I will have to work through the program and modify it to fit my schedule.
I have read that completing a marathon is as much mental as it is physical. I’ve got the mental part down. Seriously, I don’t doubt I can finish this, and maybe that’s the most important part of my training/not training plan. I’ve got the mental part down. PMA…all the way!
Do you have a problem staying mentally focused? What do you find the biggest challenge, the physical preparation for a big race, or the mental preparation for that same race? Have you stopped short of a finish line because your mind just couldn’t get you there?