MARATHON TRAINING UPDATE: EXTREME MILEAGE EDITION

When my right ankle bal­looned three weeks ago, I thought my marathon train­ing was over. I knew that the doc­tors would rec­om­mend that I rest and take anti-inflam­ma­to­ries, which I did, but I nev­er expect­ed it to work to the degree it has. Some­times it’s great to be sur­prised, eh?

After run­ning the Philadel­phia Dis­tance Run pain-free, I was excit­ed to get into the Week 10 train­ing, which fea­tured a long run of 19 miles. It was a great week over­all, despite my ongo­ing frus­tra­tion with the Nike Plus Sport­band. We ran the last of our four mile week­day runs, two 9 mile runs and then 19 yes­ter­day.

The weath­er was­n’t per­fect by any stretch of the imag­i­na­tion. My train­ing part­ner Rob called at 5:30 a.m. to say that we should prob­a­bly push our start time back from 6:15 to 7, just to see if the weath­er would clear up a lit­tle bit. For­tu­nate­ly for us it did and we were able to run in a light driz­zle to a fine mist along our stan­dard “long-run” route from Fair­mount all the way out to the red cov­ered bridge that spans the Wis­sahick­on.

In the end we based our mileage on time rather than dis­tance. Why? Because the Nike Plus Sport­band is such an unre­li­able piece of equip­ment, a posi­tion I’ve held for a while. It’s been so frus­trat­ing to have to guessti­mate mileage that I decid­ed to buy the Garmin Fore­run­ner 405. When you’re run­ning any­thing over 10 miles, I think it’s best to have a pret­ty exact­ing piece of equip­ment. Based on what I’ve read and the peo­ple I’ve spo­ken to who’ve used it, I think this is the answer.

This week is a major step-up in train­ing. It’s a fifty mile week, with runs of five, 10, five, 10 and 20 miles. As much as dis­tance has been an issue with the Nike prod­uct, pace has been a night­mare, too. We’ll be able to train more effec­tive­ly with the Garmin than we have at any pri­or point in train­ing. Yes­ter­day we caught up with a guy on a 20 mile run and ran a 7 minute mile with him from mile­mark­er 15 to 16. It was so reas­sur­ing to know that we have that kind of ener­gy that far into a long run.

If you can’t tell, I’m start­ing to get real­ly excit­ed about the marathon. My weight has dropped into the low 180’s and I’m get­ting clos­er to my goal weight of 170 by race day. I’ve been doing weight train­ing before work three days a week to great effect. While I don’t think a Boston qual­i­fi­er is in my future, at least not for this marathon, I think I may be able to break the 3:30 bar­ri­er with a lit­tle bit of luck. I’ll keep you post­ed as always on my progress.

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