This blog post has two parts to it - "Go Time" as it relates to my upcoming training, and "Go Time" regarding my husband's marathon journey and the start of his taper.
My marathon training technically starts today (with a rest day! Ha!). Twenty one weeks of intense training leading up to California International Marathon on December 2. The last few months I've been trying to maintain my fitness, gauge where I'm at, and prepare for the rigors of my most ambitious training cycle yet. These last two months have been especially great for me as I've been running purely for the love of it rather than because of some obligation I feel. Since May 1, I have run 300 miles.
Most of my miles have been easy pace, trying to build my base and my aerobic capacity, with a couple of days and a few miles per week of speed thrown in there to keep it interesting. With this summer being warmer than normal, being able to run easy without guilt has been vital to keep my head in the game. It's easy to feel overwhelmed by the heat and humidity and to dread each workout, but when you take the pressure of speed out of the equation and put the focus back on base building, that dread can virtually disappear. While it's certainly not as fun as running in cooler temps, I'm still finding a lot of joy in every mile that I'm out there. I honestly don't remember ever feeling this at ease during the summer months.
So what is my training going to look like? For Mississippi Gulf Coast and Louisiana last winter, I increased my volume and the percentage of easy miles run, while upping the intensity and pushing my limits during my hard effort runs. I religiously wore my heart rate monitor and tracked my improvement. I got my body into pretty darn good shape (for an almost-44 year old). The formula worked, and because I'm entering this training cycle ahead of where I was a year ago, I don't see any reason why I can't push my limits a bit more. More miles, longer tempo runs, more race pace simulation, while still taking rest and recovery very seriously and listening to my body and my head. I'm looking forward to honing in on more marathon specific training again. The last few months have been fun, but the focus will get tighter now.
But let's hear it for my husband! He just finished peak marathon training week with a 21 mile run yesterday and a 58 mile week. He's run over 270 miles since June 1! His race is on July 29 in Washington and he's as ready as he's ever going to be. He has done the work, shown me that the speed and endurance is there to meet his goal. This is his FIRST marathon, so he's entering uncharted territory on race day. I've run 14 marathons, some great ones and some truly horrendous ones so I know where his head will be on race day and throughout the marathon. I've tried to coach him to the best of my ability to not only prepare his body physically for the demands of 26.2 miles, but to prepare his head for the possibility of wanting to quit 20 miles into the race. He knows he's capable of completing the race in the time goal he's set for himself, and so hopefully with the mental training, his head won't sabotage him. The marathon can be a dirty beast sometimes, but it's not inevitable that one will hit the mental or physical wall. I have a lot of confidence my husband will become one hell of a marathoner on July 29.
I am so excited to go on this journey with him, and then to have him by my side cheering me on and supporting me as I begin my training for marathon #15. Teamwork!!