"Now if you are going to win any battle you have to do one thing. You have to make the mind run the body. Never let the body tell the mind what to do. The body will always give up. It is always tired in the morning, noon, and night. But the body is never tired if the mind is not tired.”

- George S. Patton, U.S. Army General, 1912 Olympian

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

21 Weeks to 26.2

One of my three known readers recently asked what my training program looks like, how many days a week I run, how quickly I'm adding mileage, things like that. When I set out to find a program that would work for me, I knew up front that running 5-6 days a week, plus cross-training, plus 30 minute pre- and post-run stretching sessions, plus 1-hour post-run icing sessions would be out of the question for me. Simple reasons, really. I like being married. I also like to eat and live in my own home. In short, I don't have 30 hours a week to devote this endeavor. I have a family, a full-time job and a 15-hour a week volunteer church calling.

I'll post some of the various programs I looked at near the end of this post, but the simplest one comes from marathonrookie.com. Very straight forward: Four days a week, increasingly long runs on Saturday, rest days on Sunday, Tuesday and Friday. I had to modify it a tad in that it's only a 16 week program and I had 21 weeks to fill, so I supplemented it with the first few weeks of Hal Higdon's Novice 1 program.

Here's how each week sets up:
Monday: The shortest run of the week. More than anything I'm looking to shake things out a bit and get comfortable after my long run the previous Saturday. Nice and easy for the first half and increasing the pace on the 2nd half of the distance.

Tuesday: Rest day. Some light stretching throughout the day, but not much more than that.

Wednesday: Build-up day. This is where miles are starting to build towards Saturday. I try to get loose as quickly as possible so I can keep up a pretty good pace for as many miles as possible. My goal here is to maintain a pace rather than peak somewhere in the middle of the run and struggle to finish. If I'm not spent at the end of this run, I haven't run hard enough.

Thursday: Lungs-bursting day. Typically the distance is the same as Monday, but coming off of a longer run the day before, this becomes the most difficult run of the week. Knowing that the distance is a little shorter I'm pushing the pace right up to my threshold and trying to maintain it. Again, I'm looking for a consistent pace, not peaks and valleys. I know Friday is a rest day, so I'm not too concerned with going too hard.

Friday: Rest. Prep for long run Saturday morning.

Saturday: Long run. For the first month or so, these runs are pretty short, relatively. By week 10, I'm running 10 miles on Saturday and then it ratchets up from there until I peak at 20 miles in week 18. As the distances get longer my goal is to find a pace I can maintain and settle into. It's not a sprint; it's a marathon, right? Mentally I have to tell myself that I'm not going to finish a 2-hour run in 20 minutes. So sit back, relax, find a good groove, and just go.

Sunday: Rest day. Minimal physically activity. Mostly focused on replenishing my system with nutrients, getting ready for another week.

So here I am, in week 3 of 21. I'll try to post the program I'm using here somewhere. In the meantime, I'm posting my recent runs on the right-hand side of the page.

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