Marathon training: Getting it done!

With the Yakima River Canyon Marathon on April 2 now only six weeks away (yikes!) my marathon training has kicked into high gear. My longest run so far has been 16 miles. I plan to do 15 today and then make the big push to the really long runs. The next few weeks after today call for long runs of 18.5, 17, and 21 miles before beginning my taper.

Originally I’d planned to follow my usual practice of running three times a week (spaced 2-3 days apart), with the long run on either Saturday or Sunday as my schedule permitted. The shorter runs were to have been a combination of steady pace, progression, and hill training (again, as per my usual routine).

However, on this training cycle I noticed that I wasn’t recovering as quickly as I’d like. Specifically, every time I ran on only one day’s rest, something went wrong. I’d be inexplicably slow, or sore, or just unable to relax and run smoothly. Part of the difficulty, I think, was that it can be cold and wet this time of year! My hands and feet always go numb for the first couple of miles, and that does make it tricky to relax and run smoothly. But I couldn’t ignore the fact that on the days when I’d had two days of rest, the cold and damp didn’t seem to slow me down as much as on the days with only one day’s rest.

Once I saw the pattern, I had no choice but to reluctantly acknowledge it and adjust my schedule accordingly. So now I’m running only every third day, which means that for two out of three weeks, I’m only running twice. This, of course, means that every single run means more and must be approached and executed more carefully.

So far this new strategy is working well. I’ve increased my mid-week runs by a couple of miles so that my weekly total mileage is not that much less than I’d originally planned, and that’s all going well. In addition, I walk for at least an hour and a half (usually 5-7 miles) on almost all of my “rest days.” I walk rather briskly and I can feel the benefits of that gentle effort in my leg strength on running days.

Overall I’m much more confident about the progress of my training than I was at six weeks prior to my aborted marathon last October. At this point, I’m optimistic that I’ll complete my training strong and ready for a good race. No matter what ultimately happens, I expect to enjoy this marathon.

One step at a time!

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Posted on February 20, 2016, in Running and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. Sounds like you’re doing great listening to your body. My running is going well too. I’m learning to enjoy the treadmill on the worst weather days.

    • Lisa, it’s funny (isn’t it? haha?) how as we get older, the body sort of forces us to start listening. When I started running seven years ago, I never dreamed I’d be marathon training at 60. Now I just hope I can keep doing this at 70 and beyond!

      As for the treadmill, I’ve used it a lot during past winters, but this year I’ve only resorted to it twice. We only had a few weeks of REALLY cold weather, so I’ve been lucky in that regard. I’m not sure where you are located, but I hope you’ll see lots of much nicer weather soon.

  2. I always admire the way you set such a well-reasoned pattern to your training, Lori. I can imagine that you’re very excited and looking forward to this marathon and the opportunity to successfully complete what you tried to do last time! It really is interesting how well you know your body in training. You make such conscious adjustments and I’m sure the next six weeks are going to be very full of preparation. 🙂

    • Debra, what I’m finding is that as I get older, I can no longer afford NOT to pay attention. Every mile and every day HAS to count, or I’m going backwards… or at least no longer improving. The good news is, I’m still having fun while doing it! Slow and happy…!

  3. Very inspiring. I’m 10 yrs younger than you and sometimes wonder if I’ve left it too late to start all this exercise malarkey. It’s good to see how you handle it. 2 days rest is better than not running at all, through injury fatigue or whatever. Something for me to think about.

    • Hi Mawil1, it’s good to see you again! You know, they say that whatever age we are when we start running, we’ll probably improve for about seven years and then level off and then begin to decline. I’m afraid I’m starting to see that; it may be a self-fulfilling prophecy or it may simply be that advancing age does, in fact, eventually overtake our ability to train and improve.

      In any case, good for us for keeping at it any age! I’m personally inspired by the names and ages I see on the registration list for my marathon. There are quite a few women (and, well, men too) in their 60s and 70s. Some of these people have been running marathons and ultras for many, many years. No, they are not as fast as they used to be, but they are still doing it. I’m looking forward to meeting some local legends at this race and perhaps learning a few things from them about how they still do it.

      • I better make the most of my 7 years then! But the main thing is, so long as I still feel good doing it😊 It would be nice to think that I could be fitter in my 50’s and 60’s than my 30’s 40’s.

      • I certainly tried to make the most of my 7 years — and given that I ran my most recent half marathon 59 minutes and 33 seconds faster than my first one, I guess I did.
        At the moment I’m pretty sure I’ll never run that fast again, but then that’s probably because at the moment I’m training for this pesky marathon and not thinking about speed at all. Time will tell, in more ways than one….

  1. Pingback: Picking up the pieces | Slow Happy Living

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