“Got a lot farther by working a lot harderBy being a lot smarter”

 I had two really successful week of training. I had mentioned in my training log that I switched from Hansons ‘beginner’ to the ‘just finish’ plan.  I have some trouble with both of the names of their plans, their idea of a beginner plan is quite bad ass.  Obviously they speak to the experience (competitive) runner/racer/athlete who just happens to be a beginner at the marathon.  As someone who has run 79 different races in the past 10 years, I’d put myself past beginner in runner terms.  I may not be competitive (ie fast) but that doesn’t mean I am still a beginner. I attempted to follow the beginner plan for the Philadelphia Marathon, but ultimately began to cut out the speed related workouts and attempted to maintain the high mileage. As someone who trained for their first marathon on 2-3 days of running a week, I knew that simply by running more, I would be a lifetime more prepare for race day. ( I was. I had a 29 minute PR & I am 8 years older and roughly 15 pounds heavier -all of that is a story for another day..)

As 2017 started, I struggled to figure out what running goals I wanted to achieve.  I had thought I wanted to get faster, I’ve always had the logic that if I could get faster overall, starting with 5k & onward, the marathon wouldn’t take so damn long.

I still feel that way, but truly, I like just running. I had started Hansons plan with 5 weeks of base miles and knew that I was going in the direction that would leave me happy.  Once week 6 happened, and I was suppose to start speed & tempo runs, I felt a sudden shift in my opinion. I went from wanting to run to ‘having to’ run. This is a view I do not take likely.  I have friends & family that would give just about anything to be able to be more physically active. I don’t take my able body for granted, so I knew I needed an attitude adjustment. I took a good look at the plan and realized what I was dreading wasn’t the high mileage, but the paces.

Sure, one could argue that I am not stepping up to a position that is uncomfortable or challenging, but in reality, in my non running life, I very much am.  So for now, running is going to be comfortable.  I am still challenging myself in the amount of miles.  I am looking forward to new monthly mileage PRs.

While I am not branching out into speedwork & tempos, there are a lot of things I am doing differently this round of Marathon training.

  1. I started taking a multi-vitamin a few days a week. I used to be a firm non believer in vitamins.  I eat vegetables and occasionally some meat, I love cheese and milk in my coffee.  But when I was set back a bit by my Ulcertative Colitis flare, it was brought to my attention, that my body might not absorb these nutrients that I do consume.  It was a bit fustrating to think that I eat the right things but still struggle to nurish my body.  I did some research and found a basic multi-vitamin to supplement my (mostly) good diet.  Now I have had a few million changes happen since I started taking them, so I cannot contribute anything directly to them, but its something different that I had never done before.
  2. Nutrition – Pre/during/post: I’ve been experimenting with proper fueling.  Prerun – I invested in UCAN after reading about it on several blogs/instagrams.UCAN’s texture is a bit interesting to get used to, but I felt great during my last two double digit run after using it, so I will continue with it.  Run: I bought reusable flask & GU to start, would love to create my own gels, but babysteps here. I am trying to get a head of the game and remember to take GU every hour or so, but since I don’t run with anything, the timing isn’t perfect – as it depends on when I return to my car. (obviously somechanges can be made here.) Postrun: Vega protein.  As a non competitive runner, I know this seems a bit over the top.  But with having a gastro disease, a happy gut makes a happy life.  As for post run,  I try to make a protein shake at school after a morning run,  to avoid going too long without eating anything.  ( I am limited on morning time, more on that in a bit)  I think smoothies will be a lot more exciting when it isn’t subzero temperature and 2 feet of snowfall in one day.
  3. Stretching.As a naturally flexible person,  I’ve often negletcted a solid stretching routine.  I practice yoga once a week(ish) but over the past year found that would be the only time I would really stretch. Lately I have been stretching for about 15 minutes every evening.  I know that there can be strong opinions about the usefulness of stretching, but if nothing else, it recenters me and brings me back to my runing goals every night.  I started off by following a few stretching poses in my Hansons Marathon Method book, but have started to adapt to what I crave.
  4. Morning Runs!  I have always wanted to be a morning runner, but continued to have excuses about making it happen. What started out as once a week has spirled (happily) into mostly AM weekday runs.  While there are some days that I wish I could wait until it was warmer, having it done before I’ve had my coffee, is fantastic.  I am quickly adjusting to the earlier mornings.  Currently I go directly to work from running, so my morning routine is compressed ( ie lots of food prep at night, laying out of clothes, etc)  but I am getting the hang of it.  As we gain sunlight back in the morning, I look forward to possibly starting a bit earlier to ease the rest of the morning routine.

 There are still “a million other things I haven’t done” in terms of marathon training, but here are 4 that I am currently working on.  I am eager to see how these benefit my overall running fitness/ quality of life/ marathon training.  I would love to hear changes you’ve made as a runner & did it work?



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