The holidays have come and gone, and now is the time to settle into training mode and gain some focus. In just about 17 weeks (120 days to be exact), I will again take to the starting line in the city that I love and run my fourth Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon. Does that sound daunting to anyone else?
It’s not like I am starting from scratch; I feel like I have built up a pretty solid base. Although I consider myself a wimpy runner for not hitting the pavement (and ice and snow) in this frigid Northeast Ohio winter, I have been consistent with the treadmill and have been running 2-4 times during the week with a long run (around 10 miles) on the weekend. My long runs average a pace in the 8:40s range, so for me, that’s great! I also ran the Santa Hustle Half Marathon with my friend in December, and although the pace wasn’t my normal, being able to sustain the energy to keep going for 3 hours made me happy (and the race was an absolute blast!). Now, it’s a matter of building mileage and keeping my speed relatively consistent. I feel I have enough time to build slowly, which will help me fight running burn-out and injury.
I feel like I have the actual running part of the training down, so a big focus will be on my diet. I hate to brag, but I am pretty proud of the fact I lost weight over the holidays and back to where I want to be for racing. Who can say they lost weight over the holidays?! Being home with my fam gave me time to reset my bad habits (eating at my desk at work when I feel bored or stressed, fast food lunches, etc.) and get back to the healthier ones. Do I still eat chocolate? Yep. Do I still drink beer? Umm…YES! But I have cut back on snacks, added more fruits and veggies, pretty much cut out the fast food except for about once a week (and switched to healthier options like Panera), and cut way back on sweets (my downfall). The trick will be keeping it off. I always have a tendency to gain weight during marathon training, but I know I can do this.
So what’s the plan? Honestly, I don’t follow a traditional training plan that requires certain workouts each week. Things come up. Life happens, and as most of you know, my life is a little hectic. My plan is pretty simple and allows for flexibility with my schedule. I get in at least 2 shorter (3-5) mile runs each week, whether it’s outside or on the treadmill, and I plan for one long run on the weekends. The days for the shorter runs don’t really matter; I just usually do not do them back-to-back. It might not sound like a lot of running to those who are hardcore marathoners, and that’s okay. I’m not going to set any records with my training plan or qualify for Boston, but that’s not the point. The point is I know I can adequately train for and complete a marathon following this schedule and not kill my body or feel that I am neglecting my family and work responsibilities at the same time. Win-win-win!
I have one little added push that is going to help motivate me during my training period and the rest of the year. Dan and I signed up for the Run 2,015 in 2015 Challenge with Run the Edge. The goal is simple – collectively, he and I will run 2,015 miles this year, 1,007.5 each. Running over 1,000 miles for me would be a huge accomplishment, and knowing that I am accountable to our team makes me get off the couch after a day at work and get in some miles.
So, good luck, runners, and I wish you success in training. Whether fast or slow, whether training for the 10K or the marathon, we are all in this together. If you’re looking for some motivation, check out what the other Race Ambassadors have to say about training and racing in CLE.