Air Force Marathon Training…So Far

I can’t believe I have already completed 4 weeks of marathon training! There have been some ups and downs, but overall things have been pretty good! The miles are low-volume (no more than 25 per week), but by adding one day of speed I still feel that they have been quality runs.

Since I’m breaking down my 16 week plan into four 4-week cycles, I thought it might be fun to evaluate these last 4 weeks – kind of grade myself and see where I can improve (everywhere!!), and what I did well. 

Running : A. Even if I couldn’t run on the planned day, I still managed to fit in all but 4 of the planned miles. I may have been kind of stupid about it *cough* running 5 days in a row *cough*, but they all got done. I was also really diligent about hitting the hills and even tried to work in some fartlek’s and a tempo.  The schedule is only going to get harder, and it may be difficult to get the runs in but I think these 4 weeks have set a good precedence.

Strength: D- . If my sticking to my running plan was a good example of my training, then strength training was the worst example I could have set. I only managed 1-2 times per week (2 is being generous), and that makes me mad. I know how important it is, and how much I’ll have to rely on my physical strength in the last miles of the race but I just don’t do it. I’ve been saying that life has been getting in the way, and things are just really stressful and crazy, blah, blah, blah; but, the reality is – if it’s important to me (which it is) I will make it a priority.  It’s not even that I don’t want to do it – I do; but I’m not making it a priority. I’m letting everything else come before this. If I can make running a top priority, I can make strength training a priority too.

Nutrition: B. I haven’t been tracking my DQS score like I planned, but I am making a conscious effort to make sure that my meals and snacks are real foods – lotsa veggies and fruits and good, lean, protein. I’ve been trying to keep my cheat meals to once per week and eating out to a minimum with decent results; we’re still going out to eat more often than I’d like, but I’m at least making smart choices when I’m out.  I’ve done a decent job avoiding the “candy drawer” at work, and monitoring my junk food at home, and all of that is paying off because I’ve almost shed my “injury pounds” (the 6-ish pounds I gained when my legs were being jagoffs)! I also mentioned in last weeks recap that now the heat and humidity is rising it’s time to start carrying some hydration and fuel with me, at least on my long runs.

Injury Prevention: C.   I’m doing…ok here.  I’ve made sure to ice after every long run, but icing during my mid-week runs has not been the best.  I try to get it done, but in the morning after a run,  I’m already rushed and 20 minutes is kind of a lot to set aside. BUT, just like the strength training it’s something that needs done; so I’ll make the time to do it.  There are also ways to give myself more time in the morning – I can pack most, if not all, of my lunch the night before, eat a make ahead breakfast or eat at my desk when I get to work, etc.  I have been doing a really good job stretching! I’m also really happy that last week, I made the smart choice to skip a run to give my legs a chance to rest. It doesn’t sound like much, but I normally have a “must run all of the planned miles OR ELSE” mentality that can be hard to break. 

I’d say that so far I’m doing well…obviously there is a lot of room for improvement, so for the next 4 weeks I’m going to:

Maintain my running “grade”. Stay away from junk miles, make every run count and if something hurts…back off. Missing a day here and there is always better than missing weeks or months.

Maintain or improve my nutrition grade:  As the miles increase, so does the temptation to eat the junk, or sweets because “I just ran 16 miles – I can have Chinese takeout, Dairy Queen,  AND a Twix Bar”. Not so much. I think having treats here and there, and designating a cheat meal during the week will keep those temptations to a minimum.

Improve my strength training. This is a no brainer. I need to make it happen.  I’m thinking that the answer here may be as simple as doing it in the morning before work, so I don’t have a b.s. excuse when I get home from work. 

 Am I missing anything? Are there any glaring holes that I’m overlooking?

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4 thoughts on “Air Force Marathon Training…So Far

  1. Looks great, nice work on a strong first 4 weeks.

    Designated cheat meals are a great idea, I find that helps quite a bit during weak moments, knowing there is a planned time to be spontaneous, which is an oxymoron but works.

    For strength training, you mention that 1-2 times per week is not enough. What is your target to shoot for? I know we’ve all got our own bodies to contend with and our own goals, but for me 1-2 times per week is exactly what I did and I never felt like I was hurting in that area. Sure, stronger legs never hurt, but given all the other things going on, I was happy with that amount. Mostly just curious to see what your ideal frequency is, not trying to sell you on anything.

    • Now that you mention it – I’m not really sure how many strength sessions I’m shooting for. Ideally, I would say 3-4 times per week but….typing that out, I see that it’s a tad aggressive. I guess I get caught up in what “everyone else” is doing; if they’re all hitting the weights 3 or 4 times a week, I should be able to, too.
      Sometimes, cheat meals are what get me through a hard workout – the promise of something delicious later in the day or week is enough to keep me going! It doesn’t take much… :-)!

  2. Awesome that you did so great on the running front. Given the heat & humidity, that’s huge! As for strength training, are you following a prescribed routine from your plan? If not, maybe another routine would work better for you. The Run Less, Run Faster program prescribes only 4 exercises that take 10-20 minutes to do only twice a week. Maybe you would be able to more easily commit to something that takes less time?

    • Thanks!! 🙂
      I think you’re totally right re: the strength training; it’s not really prescribed in either of the training plans that I’m pulling from – I’m just kind of winging it. I definitely think I should do a little more research to see if there is a better option for me!

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