Thursday, September 27, 2012

i want to be a part of it - new york, new york

I'm officially at the point of training where it's just.. not all that fun. Ten miles for my mid-week run? Twenty miles on a Saturday morning? Vomit. But such is marathon training. I've been thinking a lot about how training for NYC has compared to Disney. I can't believe it's been almost three years since I became a marathoner! And I'm about to do it again, in my hometown. Amazing.

Pace: 
Looking at my spreadsheet - my runs, especially my long runs, were (much) faster when I was training for Disney. Part of that had to do with the time of year. Disney is in January, so a bulk of my mileage was run in late November and early December and the weather was perfect. For those of you who live in the Northeast you know that this summer was particularly brutal. Some people seem to like high temperatures and saturating humidity. I do not. The end result? Some of my long runs have been really difficult (see: vomitfest 2k12)

Another reason why my pacing is slower on my long runs this time around is because I've been purposely trying to slow myself down. My long runs are not the time to go all out. I want to finish feeling tired, but not destroyed. Track Tuesdays are the time when I prove to myself that I'm not the slowest runner in the world. The long run is a time to build my endurance, not to exhaust me to the point where I need 2+ days to recover. 

The dreaded 20 milers:
When I trained for the Disney Marathon I only managed to eke out one twenty miler which left me in tears. I ran 13 miles with relatively no problem and then BAM. I was hit with some really intense ITB pain that stopped me dead in my tracks. The only reason I continued to run was because it hurt more to walk and I was still 7 miles from my friend's apartment. This time around I have time in my schedule to (hopefully) do two twenty milers. It's very important for me, psychologically at least, for these runs to go well. Or at the very least to not end with me sobbing on a street corner, clutching my leg.

One can only hope, right?

I feel the need.. the need for speed:
I remember being pretty overwhelmed while training for my first marathon. People were throwing terms like tempo, cadence, intervals and 10k pace at me and I did a lot of internet searching so that I wouldn't look like a (total) idiot. Prior to that I'd never aimed for any sort of a pace. My goal was to run as fast as I could for whatever allotted mileage I had on the schedule. Interval runs on the treadmill were a great place to start. If you would have put me on the track two years ago, I don't think I would have known what to do with myself. Now I do track workouts every Tuesday morning and I am seeing marked improvements in my times. When I first started I could only do about 4x800m (half mile repeats) without wanting to die. My 400m time was ~2:21 and it was really difficult to hold that pace for the entire workout. Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago, I had to do 6x400m and my fastest 400m time was 2:06!

The knee
Going into training for Disney I had only been through one knee surgery (ha.. only one). Five months after that marathon I did Reach the Beach. Not too long (actually, about three days) after that race my knee revolted. Perhaps some of you remember this delightful saga?  It's been a little over a year since my surgery and I have accepted that I am a different runner now than I was before, and that's totally okay! It used to be all about the miles, cramming in the miles, RUNNING ALL THE MILES. And to a certain extent, it still is. It's very important to build a mileage base when training for a race of any distance. Some people do really well running five+ days a week, and I am not one of those people. Right now I am going for a quality over quantity approach. I get in three GOOD runs a week - speed, tempo and a long run - in addition to two days of cross training and a rest day before and after a long run. Not only does it keep me in good running shape, but I don't get bored because I still have time to climb and cycle, and I don't have to worry (too much) about knee pain. 

Basically, I am trying to be a little more kind to my body. Running myself into the ground (see what I did there?) may work for some, but not for me. I have accepted that and train according to what I am currently capable of doing. I won't run the fastest marathon in the history of the world, but I hope this means that I'll finish feeling strong. That's really important to me. 

Here's my 20 mile route for Saturday. I'll be running through Cambridge, Boston, Brighton, Newton, back into Brighton, Brookline, back into Boston and then back into Cambridge. Feel free to laugh and pity me as you see fit.  

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