Two big things are happening this week: first, today I officially began training for the Marine Corps Marathon, which–assuming all goes well–I will run in just under 18 short weeks. It will be my second marathon, so I know that it is possible to complete the distance, but that doesn’t mean I’m not still scared out of my mind.
The marathon itself scares me, but so does the training. I’m hoping I can handle it and put in quality training miles while also keeping up with a busy work schedule and the rest of life in general. I’m doing Hal Higdon’s “Novice 2” training program, but also might add a few elements from his “Intermediate 1” program. The only difference with the Intermediate program is that it has an extra day of running per week, for a total of five days instead of four. I tend to do best and avoid injury on four days of running per week and I don’t want to burn out and get hurt, but if I’m handling it well I might add in a fifth run here and there. Also, the Novice plan has one long run of 20 miles and one of 19 miles, while the Intermediate has two 20-milers, which I plan to do.
At the moment, the thought of a 20-mile run is nearly unfathomable but I know I will work my way up to it. My primary marathon goal is just to finish; despite having finished one marathon, I know that is no guarantee that I’ll be able to do it again. I would like to finish in a time that I am happy with, and so will be doing tempo runs at goal pace. But my primary focus over the next 18 weeks will be hitting all of my mileage goals and not getting injured in the process. During my first marathon training schedule, I did two 18-milers but no 20s, and absolutely no speedwork. I also know that I skipped/moved around some runs due to work and travel schedules. All I wanted then was to see if I could complete the distance, at any pace. That is still my goal this time around, but I do know I have become a better runner in the past two years (measured only against my own times, certainly I am nowhere near “fast” in the broader scheme of things), so I just want to see what happens now.
I also intend to continue going to a yoga class at least once a week and doing shorter yoga sessions/podcasts in between at home. I’ll keep bike commuting almost every day, and I would like to say that I will keep up strength training because I know that will help with my running form and speed, but realistically, that will probably be the first thing to suffer a bit…I always have trouble keeping up with a regular strength training routine in my normal life, so I’m not going to put pressure on myself during marathon training, too. But I will do my best to keep up with things like leg lifts to keep my IT band and glutes in shape and basic pilates moves for my core.
The second major thing happening this week is that Andy and I are leaving for a week in Mexico soon!
We are headed to Mexico City and Oaxaca and I can’t wait. Lots of modern art, archaeological sites, great food, mezcal. I know that this seems contradictory to starting marathon training now, and it’s not perfect timing, but it’s just the way it worked out and I’m not going to stress. I’m bringing my running stuff with me but I’m not going to plan any of our vacation days around running; I’ll try to fit in a run only if it makes sense. I’ve been running continuously this entire spring, so I know I have a decent base and I am still going to get my long run in this week, and next week right after we get back I’ll do a long run here, so I won’t miss any (they’ll just be a little compressed).
This trip won’t be as long or thorough a trip as our trip to Colombia last summer, but it will be really nice to get away and be someplace totally different. I loved feeling so far away last year; I loved the reminder that there is so much more to the world than my little world and the daily stresses and worries in my own confined universe. I can’t imagine a life without travel, and I can’t wait for this trip to start.