It's Marathon Time Again . . .

>> Friday, June 11, 2010

Last night, Stephen pointed out that it's already marathon training time again. Not only that, we've actually missed two weeks of it already. PANIC MODE! I can't believe how the time has blown by since our first marathon back in November. This year's race: the Wineglass Marathon in Corning, NY, is almost two months earlier than Philly was last year. So, training begins NOW.

I've written several times about how I'm in love with Hal Higdon's marathon plans and training philosophies. My second marathon training plan will also be one of Hal's . . . but a hybrid of sorts. Last year, I followed the Intermediate I plan. It worked well. Got me to the finish almost in one piece (and the whole injury thing had little to do with my training -- it was just my lucky day, I guess!). This year, however, I'm better prepared already. I have more time on my feet. I have several half marathons under my belt in the past couple months. I'm just used to higher mileage.

Naturally, I'd like to advance to the next training plan. But Intermediate II schedule looks too intense. I don't see myself working my 9-to-5, blogging, freelancing, AND running 10 miles on a Wednesday night. Not without compromising my sleep schedule -- which, in order to stay awake during the day, I must not fool with sleeping less than 8 hours a night. Intermediate II, well, it just isn't a possibility for me.

So, I blended the two plans into two Ashley-unique plans.



The first is harder, topping out at 50 miles one week in early September. It features longer Saturday runs. Oh, yeah. I also stuck a 22-mile run in there -- we'll see about that. The "realistic" plan, as I'm calling it, is basically the same plan I followed last year, just with the higher Sunday miles . . . and with three 20-milers instead of 2. I'm hoping to have a good time, not go too crazy when the miles pile atop each other. And I'm pretty sure I'll need to start toting my iPod around with some new tunes to keep me sane.

I'm not just writing this post about me and my own journey to 26.2. I'm writing it to show you that, though I definitely think following a plan is key to race success . . . you can bend the rules a little to meet your specific needs.

I think -- especially with the half marathon and marathon distances -- that having a backup plan is a good idea. You never know what kind of injuries you might sustain/develop. You don't know what kinds of random illnesses you'll encounter. (Remember the Swine Flu scare? Yeah, that had us both worried during training last year!) Anything can happen, really. And at least for me, if I missed a workout, I felt scared. Actually SCARED that I'd fail at the race. That I'd not be prepared to finish. I didn't have a hard-set time goal, but I was also scared I wouldn't meet what I thought I could easily do. (And I didn't meet that goal, but it was still one of the proudest moments in my life!)

So, what are my goals for this marathon? Oh, boy. I'm not too thrilled about having these out there. It's a very personal thing. But I'm hoping that telling you all will motivate me to keep striving toward them. I *think* I could finish the race at an 8:50 to 8:55 pace. This would have me finishing around 3:50 to 3:55. My more conservative goal is to cross the line in around 4 hours. But I'd love to break 4 . . . even if it means a 3:59:59 finish time. Those last 6 miles are killer, though. It seems, just like during training, anything can happen. So, ultimately I'll just be happy to finish.

What are your race goals? Any first-timers in the crowd? I was just thinking about the very first race I ever ran: a 5K back in 2003. It was one of my favorites. So, if you have a story to tell, let us know! Just shoot us a note at neverhomemaker [at] gmail [dot] com. And don't forget to enter our giveaway -- a $60 shopping spree at CSN stores!

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