Marathon Training Gets Real

I started my training approximately six weeks after my final breast reconstruction surgery. I say approximately because I may have cheated and ran really slow for a couple of miles before I was really cleared to run. Keep in mind I’m slow to begin with so this run would be slower than slow.

Overall the timing worked well with my training plan in that I was only a couple of weeks behind schedule. One thing I have discovered over the years is that the first couple of weeks are usually a base building part of the training so I wasn’t overly concerned about missing these two weeks and felt comfortable with jumping in with my first long run of six miles.

Since this long run took place a couple of days after landing in London it was a bit hard to tell if I was suffering from a lack of conditioning, jet lag, or both. The 10k I signed up for worked perfectly into the training schedule for not only the distance required but the day of the week. I had already altered the plan based on my travel schedule so I wasn’t looking forward to altering it further. Having the 10k on Sunday meant that I got to start the upcoming training week on schedule.

I registered for this race in advance so all I had to do was figure how long it was going to take me to get from my hotel to Regent’s Park to pick up my bib. So of course I arrived extra early and got wait for a long before race time.

The course was three loops of a section of the park that went by the zoo and I could not have asked for a better race, better volunteers, and a great experience. I did better than I thought would and was really encouraged for the start of training.

The Hammersmith Bridge over the Thames River. (c) Stacey Cooper

One of the hardest things to do is to train for a marathon while on a business trip. Since mine involved working at a conference with an 8:30 am start time every morning this meant that I was up and at ‘em early in the morning. My goal was to be able to get outdoors and run along the Thames River and check that item off the list as a yes, I did get run along the Thames on every single run day! One day I ran in one direction and the next day another, and on the third I ran farther than the day before. I saw great views and couldn’t have been more happy.

Then I came home and hit the heat and humidity of NYC and the rolling hills by my home.

I am not dumb and will run on the treadmill when the heat index is just too high as it was when I got back to NYC. So my mid-week runs were all on the treadmill but then came the weekend and no way of avoiding the heat and humidity.

I got out as early as I could and managed to get in some hilly miles by my home and along the beach and smiled most of the time. I consider myself to be very lucky that I live close to a beach and get to run by it whenever I want. I do not ever take this for granted.

When it came time for my long on August 26 that is when marathon training got real. I hit the double digits in long run mileage. In my mind single-digit long runs are the build up to the grueling miles ahead. Yes, they provide that lovely base level of fitness but those double digit long runs make you question why you ever wanted to to train for a marathon in the first place.

It’s been about four years since I last trained for a marathon so I am relearning all my fueling techniques, timing and pacing, and what gear to use on which run. This is also the first marathon that I’m training for since I moved and this has meant finding new running routes.

My previous home really only allowed me to safely run 10 miles before I ran out of sidewalks and safe roads. Now it seems that I can run a lot more and include some of those miles in a wildlife sanctuary and of course by the beach! This absolutely helps in keeping the runs interesting.

Another heat wave has hit the area and I’m thankful that this is also a cutback week where my weekly mileage decreases and I’ll be able to give my muscles a much needed break. I’m also getting a new pair of shoes delivered today and you know what they say — “New shoes make you run faster!”

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About scoopsontherun

I'm a SloHoMo.
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