Monday, August 6, 2012

Marathon Madness Monday: Week 7

Another strong week of training for me.  I definitely had some cranky moments this week (due to the heat/humidity), but all in all, I really can't complain about how the week went.

Today I thought I'd talk about selecting the right training plan for you.  In the past, I have always followed Hal Higdon's plans.  I also read his book, Marathon, which I highly recommend to anyone running a marathon!  I actually got to meet Hal Higdon one year at the Twin Cities Marathon Expo.  I was so star struck!  I mean, when you follow someone's training plans for years, they really become a big part of your training, so it was cool to meet the man who helped me get to the finish lines for multiple marathons and half marathons.

Of course, there are other great training plans out there!  I know Runner's World has some great ones, as does Jeff Galloway.  Bottom line, there are many options - you just have to find what works for you.

Now that I am in a running club, I take a little different approach to training plans.  I still print out a Hal Hidgon one and use that to guide my training, but I follow the plan my coaches have put together, and I mostly use Hal's plans as a guideline for my long runs (I'm using one of his intermediate plans this cycle).

In my years of training, I have learned 2 crucial things about training plans:

Trust the training.  These plans are developed by people who know A TON about training for races.  I still marvel at the fact that I can run 26.2 miles when my longest run in past training cycles was 20 miles (it will be 22 this cycle).  But on race day, your body is somehow able to do it.  And like many things in life, it can be overwhelming to look at the whole training plan, but taking it a week at a time makes it so much more doable (this lesson is applicable to many areas of life - like studying for the CFA!)

Don't compare.  I am actually kind of glad that I didn't have a blog or read blogs back when I trained for my first marathon in 2006.  I think one somewhat negative consequence of blogging is our tendency to compare our lives to others - and this is especially true when you are training for something like a marathon.  People have different approaches and goals and our bodies have different tolerances for running (My body does not respond well to running 5+ days/week).  I'm running 4 days a week for a total of around 30 miles/week right now while others are running 50+.  And that is ok!  While I think it is healthy to aspire to improve our times - it's unhealthy if those comparison's begin to make us feel bad about ourselves or question our training.

At the end of the day - this is supposed to be fun!  Sometimes I have to remind myself to not take things too seriously, enjoy my runs, and appreciate my body's ability to log all the miles!

Here is how the training broke out this week:

Monday:  Pace work - 7 miles total including 3 x 1 mile repeats @ half marathon pace.  My splits were 8:35, 8:39, and 8:54.  The last one was ugly, but the first 3 were great, so I will take what I can get.

Tuesday:  8.5 miles on a stationary bike before work.

Wednesday:  6.5 miles with hills repeats in the heat (as usual).  We did 3 x 800m hill repeats with an 800m recovery in between.  It was brutal.  Overall pace was 10:04.

Thursday:  4 miles @ 9:06 pace.

Friday:  Rest

Saturday:  16 miles @ 9:53 pace.  This run went well despite the fact that I really did not feel like running 16 when we started.  We added some hills at the end, which were brutal, but I know will be good for me. 

Sunday:  Rest

Training Tally:

Week 7:  33.5 miles

Training to Date: 199.25

What training plan do you follow when preparing for a race?  What lessons have you learned about training plans when training for other races?  Do you struggle with comparing yourself to others?  Being part of a run club helps me cut out the comparison aspect as so many others are following the same training plan - and having great successes out on marathon courses, which helps me have faith in the training plans crafted by our coaches.


missris said...

I love Hal Higdon! For my first half marathon I followed his beginner training plan to the letter and I felt so, so prepared. Plus I love his books!

Caroline said...

I love Hal Higdon, too. He's gotten me through all my training cycles thus far, including my first marathon. I also love his book! Training with a running club sounds so perfect, though.

Kelly said...

Glad you had another good week of training! I definitely think a negative consequence of blogging is the comparison trap but it has also helped me learn a lot about my body and what I can do and it's okay that's not the same as others.

Becky said...

I don't ever plan on running a marathon (or even a half marathon for that matter!) but I think a lot of what you say in this post is really good advice!

abbi said...

I agree with you on the comparison thing. It was my main reason for stopping Dailymile. Now, I seem to be able to take a more realistic approach to using others as sources of inspiration but not comparing myself if I'm falling short of what others do!

Abby said...

Great post! This is so true. Comparing yourself to others - especially in terms of fitness is unhealthy.

I kind of did that when I injured myself at that training weekend for my certification. In one of the "challenges" (which is basically a fitness challenge to see how fast, how long, and how hard can you go) -- I pushed myself way too hard. It was one of those things where you get eliminated if you "cheat" on a push up or sprint. So it was down to me and 1 other lady and I knew she was in her 40's. I remember being like "I'm not letting this 40-something beat me! I'm practically half her age"

However, I didn't take into account that she was a completely different build than me, and her full time job is to "work out" basically. And she was African American. And I'm sorry, but we all know African Americans can jump higher and move faster than a white girl.

I'm impressed by your times on that sprint day, Lisa! You've gotten fast over the years! Imagine if it wasn't humid out how fast you'd be! I'm so glad you have a running group this time around!!

Allison @ With Faith & Grace said...

I agree with Becky. Good all around fitness advice! I wish I liked running, but I just don't think it's my thing.

Amber @ A Little Pink in the Cornfields said...

As you know, I use the Jeff Galloway method of training and I really like that! I did not even realize that I was using his method until someone mentioned it, I haven't looked deep into his website or his training schedules but I should (I really need to get more serious about this half in October. I have slacked BIG TIME the past month).

I definitely compare myself to others and I know it's a terrible quality I have. I try very hard not to, but it's hard to break that. Sometimes I think to myself, when teaching I would NEVER compare one child to another and only compare them to themselves, so why am I doing it to myself?! It's not good.

A friend of mine is running in his first run club and is a relatively new runner as well, he enjoys it! Maybe someday I'll give it a try. For now I am so self conscious about running and I hate running with others in fear of slowing them down. It is my goal to get over that in the next year!

Lauren @ Sassy Molassy said...

It is important to just listen to what works for your body. SOme people do well on a ton of training and others don't. And of course everything is relative. 50 miles in a week might be a lot to one person and a little to someone else so... yeah. :)

For the last several marathons I've just done my own training plan where I just do what I think I should. It generally includes: 1 long run, 1 speed workout, sometimes 1 tempo run and 2-3 easyish runs per week. And in the last few years, cross training, weight lifting and foam rolling have been super important. Yoga/stretching is also really helpful, but I tend to neglect it more than I should.

Stephany said...

I am SO bad at the comparing game! Oh goodness, I am a pro. And social media makes it so much easier to compare, compare, compare. I'm trying to recognize my comparing behaviors and learn how to stop but it's so hard when it's so ingrained in me! This social media break has helped a lot but I still find myself comparing how I'm doing to how other girls my age at my company are doing. Sigh. It's such a battle!

Cherry Blossoms said...

way to go on your training times! Keep up the great work!

Kyria @ Travel Spot said...

Those are all great pieces of advice. I think the hardest is comparison, and sometimes it's not even to other people; it's to myself! Last week I took it easy and only ran 3 days, and I felt guilty, but I had three good runs! I need to just step back and remember, like you said, that this is fun!

I am using the HH advanced marathon plan, which calls for three 20 mile runs. I think this is good, as a 20 mile run doesn't seem so far fetched anymore. However, I wonder if that may have contributed to my lack of motivation?

Amber said...

The last marathon I trained for in the spring I just did what the Running Room coaches told me to do. I discovered I really liked that kind of "looser" training plan instead of having everything laid out in front of me. I also did that with my half-marathon last fall and kind of "wung it" week-to-week and found it a lot less intimidating. I think that it's definitely important for people to figure out what works for them and stick with it though!

J said...

You are doing great Lisa! I use the plan my coach comes up with for our running club and I love doing the speedwork portions. I try not to post too much about my weekly mileage or paces and such cause its not about that so much as about getting to the start line healthy and finishing the race!