It’s a bit late but it does not mean that I have not been thinking about where I am running wise. As I type this I am less than 30 days from the Lehigh Valley Health Network Via Marathon (or Lehigh Marathon as I call it).
I have been training hard – and if all goes according to plan- I will have run 67 miles this past week.
Training for a September marathon is such a different beast. My 3 previous marathons have taken place in November (see recap here) meaning that I was not “peaking” until September, when the weather is a bit less soupy. BUT I made the decision and now I am starting to visualize the starting line more and more as the days go by.
As my miles have increased it has also given me a chance reflect on where I am 30 days out from the Lehigh Marathon and where I was 30 days out from the New York City Marathon last year. It has made me realize – what a difference a year makes.
If you told me a year ago that I would be running a fall marathon, I would have said you were crazy but I have goals and this marathon fit in with them perfectly.
A jumble of emotions has been coursing through me, I have tried many times to write this post but has just become a lot of run on sentences. So – I think it is best if this month’s “State of Running” post is presented in bullet form.
So, without further ado…
- Last Year – I was dealing with a major bout of Plantar Fascitis to the point where I was in physical therapy 3x a week. From the moment I got out of bed, each step I took was sore and painful. I was still running 60 miles a week BUT wearing sneakers ALL.THE.TIME. I was doing all that I could to “manage” my condition but could never alleviate the pain.
- This Year – Plantar Fascitis still flares up from time to time BUT I am in PT only 1x per week to keep the soreness and pain at bay. More importantly – I am walking without any pain/discomfort or soreness. I still wear supportive shoes and avoid flip flops.
- Last Year – Runner’s Knee flared up around September/October. My knees were taped my quality workouts and I even taped both of them prior to running New York. I smelled like a mixture of Tiger Balm and Biofreeze for the last month as I tried to find some relief.
- This Year – No Runners Knee (SHHHH- I am afraid if I say it too loud it will come back.) BUT really – a combination of increasing my mileage slowly (thanks Coach James), making sure I recover correctly and NOT racing a lot this summer has really helped me both build a base and keep me injury free. I also think that the inclusion of strength work (especially for my glutes and hips) as I returned to running has helped as well.
- Last Year – Large jump in mileage in a short period of time that I don’t think my body got used to. I remember being tired all the time and never felt that I truly recovered. I never told my coach (thinking this was a part of marathon training) but my coach never asked me as well.
- This Year – I have had a more manageable mileage build. Yes – I am running 60ish miles a week now but that has been building since February when I started working with Coach James. The slow progression (sometimes much slower than I would have liked) was smart (although I hate to admit it) and has kept me sane and healthy
- Last Year – Week day easy 10 miles runs (always done before work) that became monotonous.
- This Year – I am still running some week day 10 milers but Coach James has broken them down so that I am still running 10-11 miles on some week days but 3/4 are done before work and the remain 1/4 of the workout is done when I get home. This has helped me remain less cranky (although Mark would have to confirm this) and helped me get “comfortable” running on tired legs. Something I am sure I will be thankful for at miles 20-26.2
- Last Year – I can’t be sure but according to my clothes I think I was a good 5-10 pounds heavier. Yes – I am on the tall side but extra weight is still extra weight that can slow any runner down.
- This Year – My clothes that were tight last year fit better. I believe this is due to marathon mileage but also some changes I have made in my diet. Less dairy (good-bye greek yogurt; hello daily egg whites). A daily shake on my way to work (before breakfast). More fish (especially salmon) and complex carbs at dinner and the return of salads for lunch. I have to give a big shout-out to Mark who started championing the lunch time salad push. His weekly chicken meal prep has made it easier to put together a salad each day. That does not mean I have given up beer and frozen yogurt – I have just lessened my consumption.
- Last Year – Yes I did have a coach but looking back he did not initiate conversations throughout training and really left me floundering at the end of my training cycle. Give me a plan and I will follow it BUT not having a coach reach out and ask me how I am doing was more of a problem than I realized at the time. It was only four days before the New York City Marathon that he called me and “sort of” gave me a plan to execute. It’s probably one of the reasons why I did not feel confident come race day.
- This Year – Constant and continual communication with my Coach as well as several “off the ledge” talks which have really helped me mentally. Mark is a great sounding board but sometimes you need a Coach to lay out the big picture for you – he might be faster than me but the trials and tribulations of training are the same no matter the pace. His level headedness and willingness to take me on when I was not even running over the winter AND his confidence and pure love of running has been great. Don’t get me wrong – this plan is challenging but I have “enjoyed” it (thus far), and I have no doubt that I will have a race plan more then a couple of days out from September 11th.
On Ward and Up Ward!