I have a post written up on my trip to Costa Rica but I haven’t been able to upload any new photos to WordPress so I’m saving it for later.
In other news, I officially kicked off marathon training on Saturday! If you missed it, I did decide to run the Mountains 2 Beach Marathon and I intend to PR. After some self reflection and discussion with Mike, I realized that I am happiest when training to run faster and that this opportunity to join the Seaside Striders Running Club is a great way to get there AND have fun along the way. The thought of pushing myself in a marathon again is scary and only time will tell if my goal is achievable, but we all know that big goals should be scary and uncertain right!? It’s not fun to set a goal you know you’ll achieve with ease.
I’m really excited to start training. To give you a rundown of how training with this group works, here’s what is include in the seasonal training fee I paid:
- Personalized weekly training plans (sent Sunday night for the week ahead)
- Saturday group long runs mostly around North County Coastal San Diego (on routes I would never think to choose myself)
- Wednesday night group speed workouts (these are the key!)
- Other perks: race discounts, a team shirt, social events, occasional guest speakers, a weekly newsletter with running tips, and more
The thing I like about the Seaside Striders is that the group is full of serious runners. Most of the runners are similar to me – we didn’t run in high school or college, but we fell in love with running later in life and are competitive with ourselves. We’re not the fastest, but we are serious runners who focus on improvement. A large portion of the runners have qualified for Boston. The runners are of all ages and all abilities and there is no “typical” runner. Everyone is friendly, laid back and fun! I got to see a whole new side of the group when I went to the Christmas party in December, which included a pretty hilarious White Elephant exchange.
Besides the people, the Wednesday night group workouts are the key to the program. Jim doesn’t go easy on us. Most runners in the program are doing either half marathon or full marathons. We start our workout with a warm-up, then do some drills, then strides, THEN we do several miles of intervals. Usually the speed portion totals about 4 miles and the total workout is 7-8 miles including the warm-up and recovery. However, I’ve heard during peak training these Wednesday night workouts can be up to 11-12 miles long. We do intervals of all lengths and speeds and he always has us use our goal marathon, half marathon or 10k pace as a guide. Given that my goal marathon pace is pretty far off from my actual marathon pace at this point, the intervals even at MGP (marathon goal pace) are tough!
I already can tell that my running has improved with Jim as my coach. He started giving me training plans at the end of November, with the caveat that I was allowed to skip or modify workouts as needed/wanted during the holiday season in order to give myself some downtime and balance. And I did. I got in some great workouts but I did skip a few, including a long run. I didn’t run at all in Costa Rica and then came down with a cold as soon as I got back, so I’ve had a bit of time off. Now that my cold is nearly gone, I’m feeling antsy and excited to start this training cycle. 18 weeks doesn’t seem like very long and race day will be here before I know it. I have a lot of work to do, but I plan to take this training cycle very seriously and see what I’m made of. That includes regular stretching, foam rolling, focusing on higher quality nutrition (I won’t be following any of my 21 Day Fix or Beachbody nutrition plans, just eating quality foods – look for an entire post on this soon!), and giving my body the recovery it needs (which includes sleep and not packing my Saturday full of activities after a long run).
I am glad that I didn’t make any other race goals for the first half of the year becuase all of my tune-up races will not include any taper and some may even include a long run the day before. The next 18 weeks are focused on ONE day! No pressure! But seriously, whatever happens on race day will happen. It’s not going to determine the success of this training cycle or my self-worth as a runner. The journey of training is why I’m doing this race. Race day is just the icing on the cake.
I definitely plan to continue to cross train with my Beachbody programs during training. I’m starting Core de Force today but my goal is just to do 3 of the workouts (there are 6 in a week) per week and ideally do yoga on Sunday as a recovery day (there isn’t yoga in CDF so I’ll either go to a studio or do 21 Day Fix or one of the P90X yogas). CDF is only 4 weeks long and even though I’m only doing half the workouts, I plan to just do it for 4 weeks. After that, I’d like to look into doing some of the strength training from Autumn’s other program Hammer and Chisel, but I probably won’t follow any kind of plan until after the marathon. I want to supplement my training with the workouts but my running will take priority. At some point I’ll be doing a tempo run Mondays, speed work Wednesdays and a long run Saturdays. That doesn’t leave a lot of time for an intense leg workout. I’d like to build some more leg strength before the mileage gets too high and then probably back off a bit and do more full body workouts rather than lower body focused workouts.
So here we go! I’ll be posting weekly training updates so stay tuned!
What is your favorite part of marathon or half marathon training? Do you run with a group or on your own?