Has it really been three years? In some ways, the long training runs, the ice baths, the early mornings, and the consumption of many gels/gus feels like just yesterday. In another way, I can’t believe I ever ran 26.2 miles and don’t know how I’ll get to that place again in a few months. I know I can but it feels daunting – as it should!
So we are doing it again. Marathon number three for me and Mike. Our training trio is separated as Matt’s still in DC and plans to run the Marine Corps Marathon (we miss running with you, Matt!). Mike and I signed up for the Richmond Marathon for a third time; we registered this past November when the price was really low. We thought we could always drop down to the half if we wanted and not lose anything.
I’m excited. Does that sound crazy? It’s a whole new challenge this year. Yes, I know what it feels like to run 26.2 which helps but the circumstances surrounding our training this year are very different. And that’s what I love about running. I’ve run a marathon (twice) before but never as a new mom.
We’re in Week 6 of training now – more on how the training’s going in a future post. First, I’d like to share some observations of how training for a marathon this year is very different than training in 2014.
Technology. One reason I created this blog in 2013 was to help hold me accountable for my marathon training. Simply knowing I’d be writing down my workouts from the week encouraged me to stick to the routine and avoid hitting the snooze button on those early mornings. Since then, Strava came on the map and has filled that need. Knowing my runs will be visible to my Strava friends encourages me to get the runs in and stay on pace.
I’ve also gotten a new Garmin GPS watch (Mike did too) that wirelessly syncs so I don’t have to keep plugging my watch in to the computer to upload my runs. It sounds like a small thing but I LOVE the syncing and seeing my run pop up immediately on Strava.
Last on the tech front, Asiscs has an app now for its marathon training plans! In 2014, I literally printed out a calendar of my plan. What I love about Asiscs is that the plans are customizable depending on how frequently you want to run each week, the preferred intensity and your time goal.
Time. I have WAY less time now. For example, weekday training runs are usually 5.5 miles. In 2014, I’d run 6 miles because I had the time. Not this year. I’m done at 5.5 EXACTLY. In 2014, also did P90X Yoga (90 minutes) weekly, Dynamix, Ab Ripper and other supplemental strength training and yoga. I know that’s important and need to incorporate it into this year’s training. It’s just harder to do this time around.
Not all consuming. As a result of my busier schedule and being a new mom, marathon training is not all consuming. And I think that’s a good thing. I don’t think about it that much, which takes a lot of the pressure off because I have other things to focus on. Running the Richmond Marathon in November is a goal but a lot can happen along the way. I’m going to give it all I have but I won’t be heartbroken if it doesn’t happen. It’s just a race. There are more important things in life!
Planning. Marathon training requires more planning now. I’m using basically the same Asiscs plan as I used in 2014 (with a faster time goal) but planning out my running times each day is key. I wake up at 5:20 twice a week to do the 5.5 training runs. And subsequently go to bed very early.
In 2014, some days I’d run during the day, in the morning or after work. Now I don’t have those options. 5:30 am is the time. For our weekend long runs, we’re still figuring those out. We take William for about 6 miles usually but that’s weather dependent, nap dependent, distance dependent.
Flexibility. That leads me into the need to be flexible. Although planning ahead is essential (both for the distance and time of day), being flexible is also important. There are nights that I don’t get the sleep I’d planned on and running the next morning wouldn’t be the best idea. I’ve had more colds over the past six months due to William in daycare than I’ve ever had before. Health comes first and sometimes rest is the best medicine.
Prioritizing. With that, it’s still important to make you a priority. Sometimes I get mom guilt over spending time running and not with William (although ideally he’s still asleep at 5:30 am!). But you have to make you and your health a priority. Running is good for me both physically and mentally. However, now in week 6, I’ve been slacking on the strength training. In order to continue this training injury free, I know I need to allocate the time to strength training and yoga/stretching. I’ve noticed different aches this time around. William’s getting heavy, and my back’s been sore from picking him up. Additionally, my core strength is down dramatically since having a baby. When it comes to running (and running injury-free!), so much is tied to your core strength and stabilization.
So many priorities! Life is sure different now but in the best way possible. I’m excited for this challenge, for this journey. Although my posts won’t be nearly as frequent as they were in 2014, I’ll still work to document the training on a regular basis.