When people ask me how many marathons I have run, I always have to think about it. You see there was the Hurricane Sandy year when I completed all of my training but never ran it. So in my mind I always want to say four marathons but in reality I trained for four but have only completed three and am now in my fifth training cycle. It’s so confusing.
Since that has all been explained above I can now go on to say that since I am in my fifth training cycle there are certain patterns to the training plans, no matter which one you use, that are very similar. Those are the recovery/step down weeks. Most of the plans that I have seen all have you increase your mileage for two weeks and then have a recovery week after that. The idea is to help your legs recover so that they are fresh for the next round of increasing miles.
I typically love these weeks and appreciate that my body often realizes that I need these weeks before my brain does. There is, however, one recovery week that always drives me a little nutty and that is the very first one.
It’s hard for me to consider the two long runs during the first two weeks of my plan as long runs simply because they are not double digit long runs. The first week on my plan has a seven mile long run and the second week has a nine mile long run. These are distances that I can do without much work so having a recovery week of six miles for me long run always throws me for a loop.
Mentally, I’m ready to get into the meat of the training plan but physically I had to take it down a notch during this past week. In some ways it was frustrating. I just started to feel as though I was getting my marathon training legs under me when the recovery popped up. My legs felt achy and tight all week, although maybe the mid-week wine and lack of water had something to do with that. Oh, and maybe the lack of sleep too.
But, like I said above, sometimes my body knows I need the rest before my brain. I think I realized that this weekend. That tightness in the legs could mean, not just that I need to hydrate better but also that I need to do other things to help my legs. Three weeks into this plan and I remembered that my legs felt much the same way during the first week.
I’m trying to do more of the cross-training regularly. Even though I missed by bike ride last Monday, I went out for an easy ride on Friday morning. I also missed the ride this morning because of a late night and needing to get at least five hours of sleep. So the plan is to get to sleep at a better time, get up tomorrow morning and ride my bike, and then run my three miles during lunch.
Then tonight I will take out the dreaded Yoga for Runners DVD. You all remember that experience from a couple of years ago, right? If not, let this refresh your memory. It really is a good DVD, I remember being in pain because my muscles were so tight, and I remember fast forwarding through all the meditation and namaste crap.
So while the first recovery week annoys me it has served the additional purpose of reminding that I need to get serious about my training and get my game face on if you will. No more crazy late nights, no drinking during the week, and sticking to this plan.
Let’s do this.
I wish I didn’t relate so much to this! When I train for other distances, I can be more intuitive about what to run each day and stay healthy. With the marathon, I can’t trust myself to hold back early in the program since the sentence “I am training for a marathon” flashes in my brain as often as teenagers probably think about texting. Sometimes a rest day is the toughest day of the week.