I’m nearing the end of the second week of 2012 marathon training and getting used to the idea that I have two non-running days every week. One is a cross-training day on Monday (read by me as a rest day) and a real rest day on Friday (read by me as going out drinking on Thursday night because I don’t have to get up early to run on Friday morning).
It is a little weird to have these non-running days after running for 39 consecutive days but I learned a lot during those 39 days so here’s my run down.
- Don’t Over Do It – One of the hardest parts of the streak was learning how to run just one mile a day. As a runner I am used to running multiple miles not just one. It seemed like a waste of time to go out for 10-12 minutes and run just one mile and be done with it. So I ran at least three miles a day and threw some five miles and 10k races in between. I averaged 25 miles a week for the first three weeks of the streak. My legs got tired and forced me into running fewer miles. I never did just one mile a day but got down to 1.4 but this was more of a logistical thing of wanting to finish by my street.
- Consistency is Key – As runners we all know that consistency is key. If you run once or twice a week and then expect to PR at your next race it’s not going to happen. You have to put in the work and that means running on a consistent basis. This streak helped me get back into that habit and stop coming up for excuses not to run. This was exactly what I needed to go into my marathon training with confidence.
- Find That Long Run Pace – This is a bit of an odd item that would expect to find on this list but stick with me. When I wore myself out those first three weeks of the streak I was forced to run slower because my legs just would not have it. Interestingly enough that pace ended up being my long run pace. Your marathon long run pace should be approximately one to two minutes slower than your marathon race pace. I always have a hard time finding that pace at the start of marathon training and end up having very discouraging long runs because of that. Being forced to run this pace for a few days a week during that stretch reminded me of what that pace feels like so that I am much more aware of when I go too fast on my long runs.
- I Love Running – It can be so easy to forget that we really do love this sport. For a while I put too much emphasis on a few races and forgot to just simply enjoy what I’m doing. Participating in this run streak and running every day, no matter if it was 1.4 miles or six miles and not needing to think about my pace just gave me the opportunity to run. I enjoyed getting out the door every morning at 5:00 am and doing one of my most favorite things to do. I’m going try and not forget that as I get into the meat of my marathon training schedule.
So far my marathon training is going well but it is only the second week into the plan. I have not had any of the anxiety issues I was experiencing when thinking about using this new plan. But, then again, these are just the early easy weeks of the plan. But I also know how much I love to slog through a training plan so I know when it’s all done I’ll look back and realize how much I really enjoyed it.