Last weekend, I ran the Maritime Marathon in Manitowoc, Wisconsin. It was a very well run event. The weather was variable. It wanted to be a very hot day, but most of the race the conditions stayed tolerable. I had a weak training cycle. I took a season off running after my Fall marathon (Bemidji Blue Ox Marathon). This Spring, I worked up slowly to what I would consider a minimal, get-you-to-the-finish-line-somehow marathon training. I knew that this would not be may best race. I was okay with that. My body needed a break. I had fun, and gained insight on why one cannot train in half-measures and expect good race results.
I still need a recovery plan even though the training cycle was minimal. This past week, I did not run until yesterday. This coming week, I have four short timed easy runs on the schedule. The next, five easy runs. This should give me ample time to fully recover, and set myself logistically, mentally, and physically for the summer training season with a goal race at Des Plaines River Trail Marathon, October 14th.
I have a doctor’s appointment tomorrow. Just an annual check-up. I will also request to see a registered dietitian. Last week, I have started logging all of my food similarly to how I’ve logged all of my exercise over the last few. One of the missing links in my training has been tuning my diet to my training needs. So far, I’ve found out that I am probably not too off with my current diet. But, I’ve read and seen so many different opinions about my caloric intake needs that a trip to a professional is warranted.
Based on what a visit to the registered dietician, I need to work with my family about meal planning. I do not live alone; spouse and two growing children. We’ll need a plan to meet all of our needs. It’s not easy.
I also need to work with my family about training planning and when I’ll do my runs. We are a busy family It is not just about me. It is about what works best for all involved. As much as I would like to jump into a training cycle and only think about what I need, the real world does not work that way. We need to work together to coordinate our family life if I am to get in my scheduled runs.
The Mental Game
My goal is to PR. That means I need to set myself up to achieve it. I know it is still achievable if I have a good weather day (i.e. not hot). I know it is achievable. I can feel it in my legs already. I am going into this training cycle both well rested and a decent running base. My outlook is positive.
And yet, my mental game is probably my weakest race pillar. Mile 22 rolls around and states clearly, “I Cannot!” I need to break that if I want to see something south of my current PR.
Not only am I trying to zero in on my nutrition, I am also dedicated to a flexibility and strengthening routine. I joined a gym and an already regularly there once a week. I can already feel the benefits. The marathon last week, my hip flexors did not give me any trouble. A lot of that has to do with strengthening everything around them. I need to continue to be regular with my strength and flexibility workouts.
Bringing It All Together
Taking the time to organize your training and other plans is well worth the effort. I use a combination of applications: an exercise tracker, a food diary, and a calendar. These three are synced with each other and I can keep track of what’s next a lot easier.
The most important thing I do to have a successful marathon training cycle is work within my family and what they need. As mentioned before, I am not an island. Constant adjustment and communication with the other members of my household is key.