Two and a half weeks into full on marathon training, one question keeps popping up: am I doing it right? Honestly, I have no idea. I knew nothing about marathon running or training until about three weeks ago.
Luckily, the age of the internets makes things easy and cheap to learn about. A few articles read, the marathon plan is in place.
While my knowledge is still limited, one thing’s for sure – I’m inspired to give it my best shot.
You’ve probably gone through something similar, where, although you may second guess yourself at times, something just feels right. This is sort of what is going on with operation marathon.
What follows is essentially a brain dump of self-reflection regarding my marathon training.
My mindset be shiftin’
Since starting to meditate, my mindset is shifting quite a bit. I’m starting to enjoy things for what they are.
Let me explain. Previously I would dread running – I saw it as monotonous and boring. Meditating allowed me to shift perspective and truly enjoy and savour the moments I get to run.
The ability to run outside is a privilege; being healthy enough to pound the pavement regularly is something which I am fortunate for, and now now I enjoy every moment of it.
Speaking of enjoying things, talking about this far-fetched endeavour is a good conversation starter. To say I’ve received some interesting reactions from people would be an understatement.
From armchair commentary, repetitive advice, to forewarnings and wisdom, I welcome all the advice with open arms.
The supporters remind me how lucky I am to be in a position to try this, and the naysayers inspire me shatter their perceptions.
Willpower up the ying yang
One trend which keeps coming up concerns how much ‘harder’ a marathon is than a half marathon: “just worry about finishing,” they say. People keep telling me that I’ll hit a wall at some point on race day. This seems arbitrary to me.
Personally, when I have my mind set on something, I won’t stop until it’s done. This is one case where having an addictive personality is a gift and a curse.
The thought of committing to completing something, whatever it is, and not following through is ludicrous to me.
In the case of this marathon, not finishing simply won’t happen. My ‘will’ (not sure what else to call it) is too strong.
Ramping up and pounding pavement
Throughout the last two weeks, the training volume is getting significantly larger. Before this modest plan, I figure that I average 40 km per week.
Last week we clocked about 70 km and felt pretty good about it.
Our weeks look something like this: 8-15 km runs on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Rest days on Monday and Friday. Active recovery or light activity on Saturdays, and a long run on Sundays.
This past Sunday, we set out for our longest training run to date. The plan: bang out a causal 30 km mid-morning jaunt before all of Vancouver’s hot running spots got too crowded.
We overshot our route estimate (damn you google maps)… more on that below.
What to eat and drink while you’re running for 3 hours?
This is an interesting one, because I love to eat. Real food. Looking at power gels makes me cringe… do people actually slurp that crap
Nonetheless, we were stoked to test out fuel and hydration tactics, and also see how the legs react to the increased distance and volume.
With that in mind, shopping for groceries on Saturday, I figured I should grab something to fuel my run, so I headed to the nutrition section of the grocer.
Dilemma time: Do I spend $5 on fancy gels and sports candies or do I buy the childrens chocolate bar with the shiny label? You’ll be pleased to hear that I went for the later.
So while Chris fuelled on fancy Cliffbar candies, I elected for a chocolate bar stuffed into the quickly ripping pocket of my running shorts.
Surprisingly, it actually worked out pretty well. I chowed it down at the 20 km mark, and it was delicious!
How tired is too tired?
We overshot our Sunday stroll by a few km’s, and ended up running 33.5 km in just under three hours.
The legs definitely felt a wee bit fatigued after the run. The rest of my sunday consisted of me laying low, off my feet.
Fatigue really is not that bad, I was surprised. Maybe because I’m used to always being sore and barely being able to walk up stairs all the time from my Field Hockey training days.
Honestly, my legs haven’t felt this good in about five years. I could still feel a bit of fatigue in my legs on Tuesday’s run, but no soreness.
It’s also comforting knowing that we both had lots left in the proverbial tank and could have hit marathon distance on Sunday.
Confidence is high through week three. I’m not sure how this whole thing will play out… just going to enjoy the marathon experience.