Marathon Training Chapter 2 – The First Few Weeks
Marathon training is in full swing for Jo, and so begins her journey to 26.2. Below is just a glimpse into the first few weeks of training.
Jo’s initial high of signing up for a marathon has dwindled. Committing to the marathon was surprisingly easier than committing to those $200 pair of stilettos she was convinced she would wear over and over again. Wishful thinking?
Now comes the challenge… training.
After discussing numerous training plans with her runner friends, she decides on a moderate mileage progression plan which includes some tempo runs, strides once a week to keep the legs alive, fartleks, and of course the ever important long run.
The long run will be key, and Jo knows that. The whole purpose is to train her body to burn fat and store more glycogen for those later miles. By building aerobic capacity, it also serves as a mental and physical challenge to keep running even when exhausted.
Thinking about all this training is somewhat daunting so what better way to cure the slight motivation lapse by going shopping!
Marathon training is going to be a lot more intense than her normal “Jo Jogger” routine to stay in shape. She’s obviously going to need some stellar shoes, technical moisture wicking “outfits” to match, great socks, rain gear, sunglasses, hydration system, and maybe a GPS. Once she has her new gear, she will be ready to go and motivated as all get out.
Jo pops into TC Running Company to get everything she has on her list. The staff there is great, and able to help her figure out what she really needs for the marathon.
She signs up to do a few long runs from the store because she knows that it will be hard to drag her boyfriend out of bed every Saturday morning so he can bike along next to her. He is very supportive and thrilled she has decided to do this for herself. Jo knows that doing this marathon will be such an accomplishment, and she wants to complete it to prove to herself she capable of this great feat.
Finding time to Run
The first two weeks were great. Nothing too complicated, just getting used to running a bit more often. Generally, Jo jogs after work, but since marathon training has started, she has decided to bite the bullet and get up and run before work. She feels this is the best preparation for a morning race.
It’s amazing how much of a difference a morning run changes her outlook on the day. Rather than being a Debbie Downer who dreads her afternoon run, she now finds that the post-morning run adrenaline lasts her until about one o’clock in the afternoon. Now she has even more excuse to treat herself to that iced Americano midday. It’s a win-win situation.
The Internal Battle
By week three, the training really starts to set in. Runs are longer, days are hotter, and legs are gradually becoming more fatigued. On her week three tempo run, Jo’s brain becomes her worst enemy.
What on earth was I thinking?! This isn’t fun at all. I’m trying to increase my pace as prescribed, but all my legs want to do is walk. Ok, collapse and just lay here on the side of the road. I’m pretty sure I would fall right asleep here in these bushes if I allowed myself to. Are my legs supposed to feel like jell-o? Is that normal? I’m not cut out for this. I’m only at week three, and I am already contemplating raising the white flag.
Moments later, she has other thoughts…
No Jo, you can do this. You’re just having an off day. Things will get better. If it were easy, everyone would do it. I think I saw that on someone’s running shirt one time. Just think of the accomplishment it’s going to be. It’ll all be worth it in the end. Besides, I’ve only got one more mile to go. It’s just a mile. It’s not like I have to do the marathon today. Ha! That’s what the training is for… Just take it one day at a time. You’ve got this. Maybe, if I finish this last mile faster than all my previous ones I can pick up a pastry and steaming hot cup of coffee on the way to work. Yep, that’s it. Hammer time!
Needless to say, Jo finished that mile in record time (for her). And yes, she did get a pastry and coffee post run. A girl’s gotta eat and marathon training is no different.
Today, Jo realized that while it may seem hard now, the whole point of following a training plan is that she will get better as the weeks progress. Sticking it out during the early phases while her body adapts is top priority!