Today marked the beginning of Houston Marathon training! Unfortunately, it did not get off to a good start. Last night I had the worst insomnia I have had in years. I probably got 3-4 hours of sleep total. I think it was a combination of stressing about a busy work week, stressing about “OMG I’m training for a marathon?!?!?!”, and making the mistake of drinking a Diet Coke around 8 PM. (I don’t drink Diet Coke very often but I crave it every now and then. Last night was one of those times. Apparently, even though I can drink a ton of coffee in the morning and sleep fine at night, the caffeine in the soda was enough to keep me feeling wired way later than my bedtime). So that’s how my AM date with the track turned into a PM date with the treadmill. It was not ideal– I want/need to get back to running hard paces on non-treadmill surfaces– but it was better than nothing. My schedule this week is more erratic than usual, so today was pretty much the only day 4 x 800m @ slightly faster than 5K pace could happen.
I am using this plan as the backbone for my training because I’ve done well with the intermediate level half marathon program. That was the plan I (mostly) followed before running half marathon and 10 mile PRs earlier this year. I put everything into an Excel spreadsheet a few weeks ago to help me gauge what type of mileage I’ll be anticipating and what adjustments I’ll need to make for races. There will probably be further adjustments as I move along. I’m not too concerned about the peak mileage (50-55 miles)– I’ve come very close to that in the past and I feel very comfortable at 40 mpw right now. I’m a bit more concerned about the longer midweek runs with lots of marathon/half marathon/10K pace miles. Too many fast miles is what led to my downfall (read: stress fracture) in 2014, so I will probably make changes there. While I’d like to set a goal slightly more ambitious than just finishing the marathon (sub-4:00? maybe sub-3:45?), this is still my first attempt at 26.2 miles and I would prefer to not break anything in the process.
Back in 2009 I ran my first half marathon in 1:52:35. Two months later I ran another half marathon in 1:48:05. I think my faster time was 10% weather related and 90% due to increased comfort and familiarity racing 13.1 miles. So, in the interest of not having too many more sleepless nights worrying about races, I’m trying to remember that this marathon training cycle will involve some trial and error. I will
probably definitely make some mistakes just like I did when I trained for my first half, regardless of how much advice I get from the Internet and books and veteran marathoners in my running group. Hopefully I will make it to race day in one piece, learn from the experience, and improve in future races.
Speaking of races, this is what I’ll be doing between now and January 15th:
- Run Free Texas 80s 8K (October 2nd): I don’t have high hopes for this given my lack of speed work over the summer. I kind of wish I hadn’t signed up.
- Cap to Coast (October 14-15th): OH BOY. I got roped into a relay race! Good thing I seem to be able to function (sort of) on minimal sleep.
- Thundercloud Subs Turkey Trot (November 24th): Marathon plan calls for 5 miles on hills at marathon effort. This race is 5 miles of hills conveniently close to where I live. I will miss my beloved Cedar Park Turkey Day 5K though.
- Dallas Half Marathon (December 11th): Goal for this is TBD. If I race it, I would be really happy to run sub-1:40. I’ve only done that on the 3M course (which is point to point, net downhill), so running sub-1:40 on a course than isn’t 3M would be very validating (even if said course is pretty flat).
And now it is definitely time for bed. As I mentioned, my schedule this week is weird (7 AM meetings whhhyyyyyyy, some movie plans at night during the last week of the Paramount Summer Movie Classics) but I hope I can squeeze in a post about some of the sleep, food, and injury prevention stuff I’ve tried to work on over the summer.