Friday, August 17, 2012

Marathon Training Update!

My math may be serving me wrong, but I believe I'm 50 days away from my next marathon, the GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon in October. That sounds both insanely close, and uncomfortably far away at the same time. I've been working hard, I want the pay off now. But I have so much more work to do to ensure I'm at my prime by race day.

Training has been going super well. I'm excited about it. I feel a real difference in me. And I'm actually seeing real results. It is so satisfying to see that the hard work is making a difference. It's not just theoretical, what one must do to prepare for a marathon. It actually makes a difference. I expect I should be able to finish strong.

So what do I mean about seeing results?
  • I see the results when I look in the mirror and see muscle definition where I didn't before.
  • I see the results when I log my mileage on DailyMile and compare it with runs of similar distances from before.
  • I see the results when I need to add weight onto one of my strength workouts to make it more challenging.
  • I see the results when I can go faster than ever before while keeping within my heart rate zone 1.
  • I see results in my attitude about the long distances. Last time I prepared for my first 32km training run, I was terrified. I'm running that distance tomorrow, and I'm waiting in eager anticipation
I'm continuing to become a leaner, meaner, marathon-running machine.

When I created my training plan for this marathon, I started out with the plan I created for the last one. I adapted it based on what actually happened last time and what will be realistic this time around. Last time I found running 5 days a week difficult due to time constraints. I cut it down to 4 days but didn't really do anything to supplement. I wonder if my race day results suffered as a result.This time around, I noted that the 5th run is optional, but I have often managed to get it in. But the real change is that I now include 2 days of cross-training every week. So no matter what, I am working out at least 6 times a week, even if I'm only running 4 times.

Only working one job now (well, the 2nd job is still ongoing but not very regular), time isn't as much of a factor. I am still a busy person, don't get me wrong. But time isn't limiting me from working out more now. I don't have more time - I've just learned to make more time. I make choices.

The other issue I found before (i.e, training for the first marathon) with running 5 days and not doing anything else was that it was putting strain on my body, overworking some muscles and not working the rest of my body. So cutting the running back and seeking balance has been the story of my training now. Working out more often but with variety is much more pleasant than doing the same thing over and over again, even though I love running and running lots. I feel better rested and stronger because I am working my entire body and alternating days, so muscle sets are each getting a break and a workout.

Ok, so I lied a little bit. The balance thing has only been for about the last month or so, when I started my strength training program at Steve Nash Fitness World. My trainer, Lindsay, has been amazing. I worked with her for two weeks to learn a program and now work on it independently twice a week. I'll check in with her regularly so she can help me adapt my program so it continues to be challenging and so I can avoid plateauing. Again here is somewhere I see real results. I cannot believe the definition I'm seeing in my arms and shoulders. And my abs are looking a bit nicer too (although not quite washboard yet, haha!). But what I love about is it's really easy to see results. Whether it's adding more weight, more reps, more sets, or changing positioning - there are ways to make a workout more challenging when something gets easy. In other words, I change things as I get stronger. I've already had to adapt my program. In one month, I have gotten stronger. When I first started, I couldn't even do one pushup. Then Lindsay taught me the burpee pushup (i.e, HARD). I admit I wasn't working on these at all independently. But all the other upper body work I've done allowed me to suddenly whip off 2 sets of 10 burpee pushups last night. Just. Like. That.

The other thing I'm excited about was learning about heart rate and lactate zone training I've incorporated into my running thanks to the experts at the Peak Centre for Human Performance. What I have definitely noted is that at first, running in zone 1 felt really slow. Now I can go much faster and still remain in that zone. Something is working! Overall my running feels stronger.

I'm sure the factors all complement one another. No doubt doing strength training allows me to maintain good running form and posture for those long runs. And no doubt running in my correct zones allows for easier recovery and optimal performance.

Things are good.

Tomorrow is my 32K run. I'm taking it to the dyke trails of Richmond, my home town. It's going to be a hot one. But I cannot wait!

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