Some runners run diligently throughout the winter…training hard for their spring marathon. They run through polar vortexes, mountains of snow and sheets of ice just to be well trained and properly prepared for their event.
I am not one of those runner.
After sustaining a near season-ending ankle injury training for the Goofy Challenge a few years back, I have limited my winter running to indoor track or treadmill.
Of course, I can only handle 30 minutes (occasionally 60 minutes) of such tedious and mind-numbing boredom.
So, I call it my off-season…which is much needed and quite rejuvenating.
I also naively sign up for a spring marathon?..and I wallow through my off-season.
When spring hits, I look at the race calendar and start to panic at just how quickly my spring marathon is coming up.
Every. Damn. Year.
Last weekend, I did my season opening Half-Marathon. It was a satisfactory 1:59 performance. Far from my 1:44 PR, but better then previous year opening HM performances.
But, the Pittsburgh Marathon looms ahead of me, and closer then I thought.
So, I started my “Half-assed/half-panic rapid ramp up to an undertrained Marathon/Death March training plan”.
My neighborhood is compact and offers a 3 mile loop. My usual “I am not actively training” long run is 5 loops (15 miles). When training, I start adding 1 loop/week until I get to 8 loops (24 miles) and keep doing that until I taper.
Yesterday, I did my first 5 looper of the year.
Damn, that hurt (and I was darn slow too).
Looking at the calendar, I will have time to get up to 24 miles one time before I start to taper (first week of the taper will bring the Hot Chocolate 15k). After the marathon, I will do one further 24 miler a couple of weeks later before running the Minneapolis Half Marathon the week before my one and only Ultramarathon.
With the ultra behind me, I will start triathlon training (well, will start that during marathon taper). This will not be too stressful since all of my triathlons will be sprints this year (1/4 swim, 15 mile bike). I just need to get comfortable swimming and riding again. During tri-season, I will try to maintain the 5 loop (15 mile) long run weekly (to have a more solid base) until I start my ramp up for the October Marathon Mayhem…3 marathons in 16 days (Twin Cities, Kansas City and DesMoines) the last two are on the same weekend.
After that, my marathon career will be over. I am surprisingly at peace with this decision. I want health and fitness to be a part of my healthy lifestyle, not to overwhelm it. I am hoping that, knowing that these are my last few marathons, that I will enjoy them more instead of viewing each as just another generic race. Unfortunately, I was still just going through the motions yesterday and I was feeling like training was a chore or burden. Hopefully that will change as the weather warms and race day approaches…