I’m going to run my first marathon in 2015! There, I wrote it, can’t take it back now!
But first, a bit of background…
I’ve been running since May 2014, 2 – 3 times per week, gradually improving my cardiovascular health and shedding a few pounds (my About page describes my journey a bit).
For over 25 years I’ve had an itch to run a marathon in addition to being a regular long distance runner. The long and short of it is that I finally committed to a marathon race after six months of regular running. I’m going to kick off this new blog by talking about my plan to run my first (full) marathon.
In 2014 I ran two 10K races, one 5K race, and a number of fun runs. So there’s something.
Even though I’ve been running regularly for months now, I’m being cautious in selecting my training plan and setting my overall goal. I’m a few months shy of 46 years old and I want to avoid injuries and minimize discomfort, etc., knowing that it takes longer to bounce back from injury at this age. I’m also still overweight, which adds additional impact on my limbs, joints, bones and muscles when I run.
I’ve picked Hal Higdon’s Marathon Novice 1 training program, an 18 week plan from start to race day. The plan follows a weekly schedule of runs on 4 days, one day of cross-training and 2 rest days. From a weekly goal of 15 miles in week 1 to 40 miles in week 15 (the longest training week), the weekly and daily mileages increase gradually until week 15, then they gradually taper down for the final three weeks until race day.
I’ve researched a number of plans and gotten advice from some of my fellow runners. Higdon’s programs got a number of recommendations. I also looked at marathon programs created by Jeff Galloway (an important influence I’ll be talking about in future blog posts) and John Stanton (founder of Running Room), among others.
For those of you who are a bit familiar with marathon training, this training plan does not formally include speedwork or hill training. My normal running route includes some hills, so some of that will happen naturally. As for speedwork, I will be incorporating some tempo runs into my training but I won’t have a specific goal for speedwork in my training plan.
Goals for Marathon – Time, Space, the Universe and So On
Runners like to set goals, most of them involving distance, speed or time. I’m no different.
My first marathon will be the Fredericton Marathon, a race that occurs in a small city about an hour from my home. The race will occur on Sunday, May 10, 2015 (yes, Mother’s Day).
My goal for my first marathon is to finish. I would feel good if I finished in, say, 4 hrs and 3o minute (or less) but a time goal isn’t something that would be good for me at this point. So even if it takes me more than 5 hrs. to finish the marathon, even if I have to walk a lot of it, I’m cool with that.
Ideally, I’d like to finish at an average pace somewhere between 10 and 11 minutes per mile. That’s something that I’ll keep in mind while training. But whatever happens, happens on race day.
Week 1 Report
I started my first week of marathon training on Jan. 6 (Jan. 5 being a rest day in the training plan anyway).
Three days in a row I hit the treadmill at work before office hours, running 3 miles per session. My running pace started at about 11 or 12 minutes per mile and gradually increased to somewhere between 8 min. 30 sec. and 9 min. per mile. Simple, informal tempo run method of starting slow, gradually increasing to a top speed mid workout and then easing back down again. Then I did about ten minutes of stretching after the workout before leaving the gym. By Thursday afternoon I had run 9 miles. Overall, I’d say I ran these runs at a medium effort, peaking a bit when my pace was faster than 9 minutes per mile.
Saturday afternoon I ran 6 miles at a slower pace, varying my pace between 10 minutes per mile and 12 minutes per mile. By the end of the run I had run my 15th mile of the week, exactly as per the plan. I was tired, sweaty and a little sore, but I felt pretty decent overall, just chilled from the wind and overall low temperatures that day.
This is probably the second easiest training week of the entire plan. Overall, I felt good during and after my runs.
That’s it for this inaugural post! I could go on and on I suppose, but better to finish than not!