As soon as I finished my first marathon in Toledo last April, I just knew I'd return again in 2015. I loved the race so much. From the amazing women I met on the course, to the course itself (mostly flat), to the pretty route, to the super bling (finisher medal + first time marathoner medallion + glass mug), I knew I couldn't ask for more in a race. Plus, I found out a few months later that Glass City is one of the top courses in USA for BQing, meaning a greater percentage of runners BQ at this race as opposed to other races. That pretty much sealed the deal for me! Oh, and did I mention it's CHEAP?! Only $65 if you register before New Year's Day. That rate is more typical of half-marathons, so this is a true deal. I hype up this marathon to anyone who will listen... I kind of feel like I deserve a free entry, for all the people I've "recruited" to go in 2015 LOL!
Thus, I am "gearing up" (hence the title of this blog) for a huge spring marathon. I could hardly wait to write up my training plan. Things aren't really changing a ton. I will still be running four times a week. One run will be dedicated speedwork on the track or treadmill, or a tempo run (likely alternating weeks). One run will be nice and easy, a full 2.5-3 minutes slower than my marathon race pace (something missing from my last training cycle, I know). One run will be at my "happy comfy pace" (around 30-45 seconds slower than my marathon race pace). And of course, one run will be long and easy (the "easy" part was missing from my long runs this past cycle). I won't be going much more than 40 miles during my peak week of training, just like always. I do plan on two 20-milers this cycle, as opposed to just one, which is what I did the last two cycles. I will be adding in one swim per week with the local Master's team. I've loved getting back into the water (more on that in a bit), and I know that cross training is extremely important for running. I'm lucky that I have the talent in swimming and can use it to my advantage as a runner. I will continue to do BodyPump once a week, because I love it AND because I can tell how much stronger I've gotten (especially my arms/upper body!) since I started it in June. And lastly, I will continue to do the weekly core workout at my local running store, also because I love it and I know it's helping out a ton (a strong core is extremely important to runners as well).
So my training plan is laid out for the next 20 or so weeks. I also have my racing plan all set. I have two races that I plan on doing between now and April 26 (marathon day). One is the Granville Winter Run. This is the 15-miler that I did last year. It's on February 15th. In Ohio, February is never a wonderful month, weather-wise. It's cold. It's usually snowy/slushy/icy. And this race, if you recall, takes place in the beautiful, picturesque city of Granville, which is about 25-30 minutes east of Columbus... and which is known for its hills. Not just nice little rolling hills,either Big, crazy hills. Very unlike where I train! So why on earth am I running in it? Really, it's the sheer badassery involved. I love pushing my body to its limits, knowing that few can really do a race this crazy. Two 7.5-mile loops of insanity. I will definitely need to get in some hill training before this one. My goal will of course be weather-dependent, but as long as the ground is clear and the wind chill is in the teens or higher, I'm hoping for a decent PR from last year.
The second race is MUCH different. It is actually going to be my very first out-of-state race! I'm going to be traveling to Virginia Beach to race in the Shamrock Half Marathon on March 22nd. This one took some planning. My friend Andrea and I wanted to find a fast marathon in the middle of March to set me up for my full. We looked into several, including one in New York and the Rock & Roll Half in Washington DC, but this one was the winner. It's flat and fast, exactly what I like in a race. The weather should be perfect. The big thing is the distance... we'll be driving, of course, and obviously I'll be gone all weekend, so that will mean my hubby has to hold down the fort. I'm happy he said okay, as I know this is going to be an epic weekend. Andrea is one of my biggest mentors when it comes to running, and I cannot wait to spend three days with her and running what I hope to be a big PR. That's the goal... to give me a big confidence boost so that I'm ready to rock my marathon five weeks later.
|Andrea and me, after a long run this past summer|
I do have one more "race"... it's not really a race, but an event. Next Sunday, I'll be participating in a distance swimming challenge. Four hours, maximum distance is 10,000 yards. I haven't swam that kind of yardage in a workout in about 17 years. I haven't swam for more than an hour at a time in about 16 years! So yes, this is truly going to be a challenge, especially since I'm going for the full 10,000 yards. Crazy, I know... but I really want to push myself on this one. It's all about the pacing, and staying relaxed. Kind of like distance running!