The Year Of The Conqueror indeed…

So I’m beginning 2015 in the most epic of fashions…running my first marathon –the Hyannis Marathon – February 22nd 2015. I’ve run a lot of races this year…but most of them happened pre-injury while I was in my physical peak. On its own, a marathon would be hard enough…But Now…now I’m out of practice and have lost some of my endurance and speed.

It’s gonna take a lot to be ready for this thing with just 9 weeks to train. But it can be done. And if I can do it…hell, ANYONE can. (Not that I’d advise that…)

So how, exactly, do I envision this being possible?

In Order To Succeed At Anything

planning is essential. I said it in The Year Of The Conqueror and I’ll say it again…planning is essential. I DO have a plan, and for the last 3 weeks I’ve been (mostly) sticking to it. Moving forward… I’m going to have to be a lot better about making time for each day’s workout…

In figuring out my plan I used a little Google-Fu to see what was out there for training plans. I ended up finding out…the shortest widely-available training plans were generally 18 weeks. Oh, good… that means my 9 weeks must be highly advisable…but regardless…

A Plan Is Necessary.

And I figured one out.

Essentially I did a modified Hal Higdon Novice 2 program. I took the Hal Higdon program (a very highly-regarded, successful program) and chopped it down from 18 weeks to 9. I cut out the early weeks where distance builds and progressed the middle weeks a bit faster.

It’s not all about the mileage though-

Stretch and flexibility are hugely important for runners…ESPECIALLY distance runners. I added the (strongly recommended) option for Friday’s rest day to instead be stretch or yoga. Stretch vs. Yoga, how long or what style…that’s all dependent on how I feel that particular Friday. Either way…again…I STRONGLY recommend a whole day be dedicated to this.

Runners can lift too, y’know…

Runners NEED to strength-train! It’s unfortunate how many runners don’t realize this, but it REALLY is important. Some low-weight high-rep strength-training is important to help build up leg strength for those long runs. Another area most runners don’t think of – Core. Your core is stabilizing you throughout your run…it would be in your best interests to strengthen it to better handle the load. Your upper body is important too – your arms swing to help keep your momentum, balance, and stride in line – 26 miles is a long way to keep that swinging going. To this end I added in a light leg day and core work on Tuesdays and an upper body strength circuit on Thursdays.

Rest is not laziness – 

It’s actually REALLY important! Your body needs time to recover from all the hard work you’re asking it to do. It may seem like a wasted day or laziness…but trust me…it isn’t.

In the end, I’m convinced you can run forever…

I follow a lot of people that run ultra-marathons…and I’ve picked up on something. As long as you’re putting in the work and doing endurance training…You can reach the point where you can run ANY distance. The key is…the farther you go, the slower your pace. Sure, I can do a 7:30 min/mile pace in a 5K…but when I’m running 26.2 miles I’m shooting for 10:00 – 10:30 min/mile. As long as you do a complete training program and figure out the right pace, you’re golden. (Supplementing properly helps too – handy that Cape Cod Nutrition Corner is my sponsor for this race!)

Don’t worry…you’ll finish.

You can’t ever be upset with your finish time the first time you do a particular distance. Focus on the finish and celebrate the achievement. Sure, I’d like to finish this marathon in 4:30…but I’ll be happy to finish PERIOD. Once you’ve got your first 5K/half-marathon/marathon under your belt…then go for a better time. Don’t ever diminish your success just because you didn’t do it fast enough.

So… What are YOU training for to kick off The Year of The Conqueror?