Thursday, June 24, 2010

I Always Seem to Forget

When I get back into marathon training, there are always a few things that I forget:
  • I like getting the calcium fortified orange juice to drink before my long runs. Calcium is a key electrolyte, and I'd rather do without having my digestive system try and process milk before and during my run (although the digestive system does shut down during vigorous exercise).
  • It takes me a few hours after a run of 12+ miles to feel like I can function again.
  • Running on shoes that are on their last legs is not a good idea on long runs. My feet start to get increasingly sensitive the longer the runs, and the effects of the pounding increases disproportionately in a negative way.
  • It's always, always, always better to run in the mornings than any other time of day, for me at least. I'd rather run in the morning and little sleep or with a poor night's rest instead of with plenty of rest in the middle or at the end of the day. Unless it's really late at night. I don't mind that at all, but it keeps my wired for a few hours if I do that. Running in heat is equivalent to running at higher elevation and can slow you by as much as 10-20%. Beat the heat by avoiding it altogether.
  • I love the feeling of accomplishment following a long run, and I guess that's enough to offset how much I hate doing them in the first place.
  • I sleepy terribly the night before a long run. Always.
  • And the biggest part is probably just all of the preparation that goes into doing my long runs. It starts the night before with what things I'm eating, and what time I try to get to bed even though it never really matters because it's either going to take me a long time to get to sleep anyway, or I'm just not going to sleep well as it is. I set my running clothes aside before going to bed. I map out my long run on Walk Jog Run. I wake up and fight all of my thoughts about how much I don't want to run, or I think maybe I can shorten it and make it up another day, until I get out running and go ahead and go through with it. I drink a glass of OJ, take some vitamins, and eat a banana, while I go and plant my Gatorades along my route. I come back and rub out my legs and stretch, and then I'm off. It's very involved, but I think my whole routine gets me into the frame of mind to go ahead and get on with it.
So what is it that I never forget about marathon training?

...that I hate marathon training.

The nice part about this time around is that today I ran 13 and felt fine. I am about 4 weeks ahead of my schedule from last year, and this year the race is only one week earlier so I hope the payoff is that I'll have more time to devote to building endurance over the last 4-5 miles of the race. I did some hill repeats this past week and me being the nerd that I am, wrote down all my times and made a spreadsheet to keep track of my progress. I hope that I can be a weekly thing. Doing those made me much more sore than anything else I've done up until this point. We'll see, I guess.

Here's an ad campaign from New Balance that captures well the running dynamic.

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