Sunday, November 12, 2017

Marathon Training update

Hi Fellow Runners!

A little background. Last yr after a surprisingly successful 10k, I knew that I could go further. Started looking at half plans and upcoming races. Did my first half in Sept '16 and immediately started looking for more! Going into '17, my goal was to do a yr of half's and then maybe look into doing a full in '18. I have been going through the half plan for more than a yr now and towards the end of my last round was feeling pretty decent. Made the mistake of looking up a full plan, and to see if it would coincide with where my half ended and the full Philadelphia marathon. It matched perfectly!

Rock n Roll Philly half was 09/17. Which matches up with week 11 of the marathon plan (close enough, did 14's and 15 during the last half cycle), which matches up with Philly full on 11/19. 

To credit the images, they were pulled Coach Jenny Hadfield's training plans

Hope to be holding one of these on 11/19. (Pic from Philadelphia Marathon stand at the Rock N Roll Philly Expo)

Training progress will include weekend long runs from week 12 on. Majority of my training will take place at a nearby trail. (Pennypack Creek, Huntingdon Valley, Pa). Each week's update will take place there unless otherwise noted. 

  • Week 12: Saturday 09/24. 10 miles at the trail! Had plans later in the day and knew I had to check into work for a bit before heading out. Set my alarm, of course i got up before that! lol! Got up around 5, worked for about an hr. Got to the trail by 6:45, already plenty of people there! love the running community, so ambitious! My trail is 10.5 miles. I park in the middle. Did the side with slight/steady incline first. On the way back i bumped into someone that i knew did the #RnRPhilly and ran/ chatted with them for a bit. Midway point i passed my car and passed on hydrating. To the other side of the trail that's flat with a decent incline at the end. Fueled with a half a GU gel at the hour mark and finished it a few minutes later. Stopped at the 10 mi mark and walked rest of the way. Fellow runner ragged on me for walking to the parking lot, I know i have more steps later in the day, no shame in stopping on my planned mileage. lol.

  • Week 13: Saturday 09/30. 16 miles! New personal longest run! Set the alarm for 5, woke up 5 min before that. Got up, coffee, work for a few minutes, light breakfast. Got to the trail just after 7. (Pennypack Creek, Huntingdon Valley, Pa). Did the gradual slight incline side first. Did that and on my way back, bumped into my wife's cousin Dave, who's training for a mudder. I let him know the pace i wanted to go, he backed off for me, but still a few seconds faster than my goal. I don't normally run with others, but was good conversation, and the pace didn't have me grasping for air. Passed the mid point, passed the opportunity to hydrate. To the other side. Kept telling Dave he could take off, didnt want to hold him back, to the other side of the trail and he did. Understandable. Lost track of time, didn't fuel where i wanted to, had a Gu gel at the side of the trail. Passed my car again, should of had water out, failure on my part, kept going. Did the other side and back to complete the 16 miler. Weather was good. Felt decent, definitely feel things tightening up afterwards. Water, should stretch, hopefully i take that advice. 

  • Week 14: Sunday 10/08. According to the training program, scheduled to do 8 miles for this week's long run. Well, I signed up for the Army Ten Miler, so we're doing 10! Rough day, didn't get my 10 mile race pace in, once that was evident, concentrated on the marathon pace, but was still pretty rough! You can check out my race review here! 

  • Week 15: Saturday 10/14.  New longest run of 18 miles! Philadelphia Marathon training. Set the alarm for my normal work time of 5:45, got up just after 5! Had my coffee, light breakfast, and water. Worked for a few minutes since I'm on call this week, need to make sure all is kosher before I head out for a few hours. My trail is 10.5 miles, park in middle. Placed water on my car, (I sometimes forget this simple step). Did the side with gradual incline first and back, stopped at my car for half a water. To the other side. Set my alarm for fueling, this too I am trying to get better at. Had my first gel at the 1 hr mark. On the way back from that side of the trail, someone I waved to earlier was doing about the same pace, and struck conversation with me. Asked how far I was going and what i was training for, he is training for a marathon as well! My new friend and I ran about 4 miles together. I pass my car, finish my first water. To the side with the incline again, my new friend breaks off as he finishes his 14 miler. I reach the end, and my options to add about 3 miles were to go back and do the other side for a bit, or explore a side shoot. I decided to explore a side shoot. It was a rugged trail, beautiful, but rugged and I stubbed my toes kicking rocks too many times. Passed several deer running away from me in the woods. I got lost for a min, since the side shoot had multiple side shoots throughout,  but was able to make my way back. Reach my regular trail and finish the run heading back to my car. Time to hydrate and stretch! 

The side shoot to the other park (Lorimar Park) starts with a bridge. If you follow my weekly running updates, I love trail running and have been trying to get better at pausing to enjoy nature a bit and take a pic along the way.

  • Week 16: Sunday 10/22. I usually do my "long" runs on Saturday's and rest Sunday, but I signed up to do a 5k yesterday. The Runners World Half festival has a 4 mi, 5k, 10k, and half. I signed up for the 5k a while back, had a blast. In hindsight, i could of added the 10k as well, but I don't regret not adding it because I had a blast with my friends afterwards. You can check out my race review here! 
    So I did my "long" run on Sunday. Scheduled for 10 miles, did my 10 miles at a somewhat relaxed pace. My trail is 10.5 miles, 10 miles  is a pretty standard distance for me at this point. I park my car in the middle, do one side and back, stop at my car to hydrate, off to the other side and back. Fuel around the 1 hr mark.
    Couple things worth noting, yesterday and today, at the starting time of my runs it was still sub 50 degrees out. Both days I was fine in short sleeves, but with just under month to go, it may get colder. Haven't worn long sleeves since early spring, may have to get used to that again soon before the big race.
Just as I started my run, before the 1 minute mark, I had to pause for a pic! There were a couple deer on the trail. Only got a pic of one, hope it's not too blurry. I couldn't get much closer and zoomed in.

Next week is my next scary (to me) distance. 20 miles! I'm sure I'll be nervous thinking about it until i get started. 

  • Week 17: Saturday 10/28: Another new longest run, also the longest run of the training program before the big day! Been trying not to think about this all week! But it was on the back of my mind since signing up!
Set my alarm, got up before it. Coffee, light breakfast, at the trail by 7:30. Park in the middle, set water out. It was a bit chilly to start. Short sleeves, but had hat and gloves. The past couple days, my left calf has been tight, not slowing me down, but a bit of an annoyance. It was definitively an annoyance to start, cleared up about mid way. Out and back, passing my car every 5.5 or so. Fueling just before passing my car, hydrating at my car. Bumped into my new friend a couple times who was out for a 14 miler, was good to chat for a bit. Didn't want to hold him back, but definitely helped getting me going a few times. The first 15 or so weren't bad, the last 2-3 were definitely a bit rough. Lower back/overall soreness. Will be stretching and hydrating! Going to cut back on some mid week runs, the days the plan doesn't have running, will still do some core workouts, but will be cutting back to just one and done for miles on those days. Need to recover before the big day! 

  • Week 18: Saturday November, 4th:  Last double digit run until the big day, just over two weeks! Scheduled for 10 miles. That's what I did. 
The usual. Set my alarm, got up before it. Coffee, light breakfast, worked for a few minutes, at the trail by 7:30. This morning, wind chill 36! No question about it, long sleeves, hat, and gloves! 10 miler has been my weekend base when in between training sessions. But, still feeling that 20 from last week and didnt want to push it too hard. In hindsight, should of slowed it down another notch.  
Parked in the middle of my trail, forgot to place water out. 'Doh.  Did one side and back. About a mile in started a sweat, ditched the gloves for a bit. Skipped hydrating as i passed my car on the way back, still practicing this. I need to get better at this. Good thing I will see stations along the race. To the other side and back, fueled around the 6 mi mark.  
The weather may have been chilly to start, but these are my fav days at the trail. Brisk air, leaves rustling, starting to see even more of the creek as the leaves fall. Usually start to see more deer, but not today.
Will be tapering per the schedule, hopefully i feel just a bit more fresh on race day. Will do plenty of stretching and hydrating as well. 
Mail call! Signed up for bib/packed to be mailed, just came in today! Things are getting more real!

  • Week 19: Saturday, November 11th. Six miles. But going to start with this, before heading out at 7:30 am, it was already a long day. I worked my normal shift on Friday, 7:30 am-4:30 pm. But also had to be back by 12:30 am Saturday. My team had a major software upgrade we had to support. I tried to take a nap, maybe fell asleep for 15 minutes, but wasn't able to get the 1-2 hrs I had hoped for. Coffee, energy drinks got me through it. Got home before 7:30 and had plans to head out at 9:15.  Had enough time to get my scheduled six in. It was a bit chilly out, wind chill 8! First time wearing running pants this yr. Was a bit tired, but the chill definitely helped get me through it. One i was home, had to get ready to head out, to a 2 mile charity walk! Alzheimer's walk in Philidelphia, hosted by the Phillies around Citizen's Bank Park. The walk hits home, as my wife lost her grandfather last yr to Alzheimer's. Great walk, and cause, but was supposed to start at 11, didnt start till closer to 12. Lunch with the in-laws at Xfinity. Once home, did 2 hours of raking, and that's only about half of what I need to do this weekend. Other half to be done tomorrow, which is a rest day. After tomorrow, will definitely be resting as scheduled, will hold off next weekend's yard work until after the race. Been thinking plenty abut the race, probably too much, probably shouldn't have analyzed the map a bit the other day. Freaking out, but will do my best to trust the plan! 
  • Week 20: Sunday, November 19th race day! Definitely had anxieties the night before, questioning my training and everything. They say trust your training, they aren't lying. Felt better than expected for most of the race. Did slow down by mile 20, 23-25 slower, and resisted walking that last mile. Had a blast, great crowds through most of it. Will provide more details in my race review, hope to have out sooner than later. Will add a link-back.  Link to my review here

Race day goals:

  • Complete the darn thing.
  • Slow down! Do not blow speed at the start. No matter how claustrophobic you are. (I am guilty of taking off just to get some personal space). If the race feels fast and great, slow down anyway! Miles 18-26 (probably more) will be rough. Seriously, don't blow energy early.
  • Try not to run an extra mile! For a half, I am guilty of running an extra .3-4, it may be due to weaving around people, or taking corners wide? Will try not to do too much of this. We shall see. 
  • Set reminders for fueling, follow them!
  • Have fun. May be crawling at the end, but you did put in work and paid for this. You love running. Make the most of it!

Will continue to provide updates, still can't believe i signed up for this! Am wondering if my headphones, phone, spirit, or body will quit on me first during the actual race. Hopefully none of the above!

Good luck to everyone with your training!

If you do any races, please remember to review them on ! Your opinions help other runners decide what races to run!  Follow me on BibRave: Joe G

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