Marathon Mania

I last left you several (eeep…THREE) months ago, when I was writing a series of marathon training plans.  I’d pre-written most of the blog posts for July, as I was heading out for vacation with my family and wanted to be able to focus on them.  As it turns out, I rather like my family, and I’m so happy to have a business and life that allows me so much time with them.  I also used that month to decide that I needed to pull back from some aspects of my business– namely blogging and taking on new clients– so I could put more energy in to my own marathon training.  I haven’t been so inwardly focused in years.

I’m now T-minus six days and counting until the 2014 TCS New York City Marathon.  My training has gone exceptionally well, and I feel prepared to run a respectable race.

The ironic thing is that I wound up following a completely different training plan than any of the ones I’d been outlining here at OnBalance.  I chose, instead, to follow a training plan by Doug Kurtis that I saw in the June issue of Runners World.    Kurtis is the only person recorded to have 200 sub 3:00 marathons as well has to have run a sub 3:00 marathon in five different decades.  This guy knows how to run fast and how to train to stay competitive as the body ages.

I liked the plan’s balance between easy days, mileage, tempo/interval runs, and long runs.  There was a methodical build up in mileage, but even the mid-week runs (which max out at 8 miles) were compatible with a busy mom’s schedule.  Even juggling early morning clients, getting my kids to school (three kids at three different schools), and finding time to shower before my regular morning slate of clients, I never felt overwhelmed.  Cheers to that!

But what I really liked about the plan was the number of long runs that were divided into two efforts on the same day.  This worked well for me logistically– for example, I can do 8 miles before an 8am soccer game and then do 8 more in the evening way more easily than I can get in a 16 miler when both boys have to be at two different soccer fields for morning games.  I also loved the confidence that came with running tired.  I feel very well-prepared for the final miles of the marathon, knowing that I have a lot of experience running on tired legs.  (This was the big appeal of the Hanson Marathon Method as well.)  As I sit here with extra energy during my taper week, I know that I am ready for the race on Sunday.

The main change I made to the Kurtis plan was to eliminate the Monday run.  In the first ten weeks of the program, I replaced it with deep water running, 10 minutes for every mile.  In the final 10 weeks of the program, I opted to skip the Monday run entirely and focus on a good walk and stretching session.  I probably could have done the full program as written, but I’m pleased to report that I will be toeing the line in Staten Island injury-free.  I think taking one more rest day each week helped these 40 year old legs.

I thought that Kurtis’s ten tips for marathon training were incredibly sensible.  My only exception is that I prefer to run alone– as an extroverted introvert, I need time by myself to think and recharge.  That’s what running is to me.  Otherwise, his philosophy resonated with me, and now that I’ve followed his training plan I feel healthy, strong, and confident.

People have asked me why I follow someone else’s training plan when I get paid to write training plans for other people.  Here’s the truth: sometimes it’s nice to have someone else lay it all out for you.  My energy can be directed into the workouts rather than into whether or not I  should swap out this workout for that workout or spending time spinning my wheels by overthinking things.  At the end of the day, I wanted to run more than I wanted to craft a training plan.

Apologies for the break in blogging, but please know that the time and brain space that I normally devote to these posts has been constructively redirected.  It’s a real blessing to have the time, energy, health, and support to train for a marathon.  I’m grateful to have gone through this process again– for the TENTH time!– and look forward to trusting my training on Sunday.


P.S.  I’m looking forward to taking on new clients again starting next week.  If you’re in the Austin area and would like to talk with me about how I can help you achieve your fitness goals while still fitting in family life, you can email me: karen at balancepft dot com.


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