There is a lot that goes into training. “Studying,” mental, emotional, and physical aspects. Since my first half marathon April 16, 2011 I have been in maintenance mode trying to keep my fitness and improve it by strength training and yoga. I did strength training 2-3x/week and yoga only once a week. Granted, it was p90x yoga, not just a casual 30 minute session. The yoga tapered off after about a month because I found an hour and a half to be too much after work. I continued strength training and now after finishing week 1 of marathon training, I can say that it has definitely paid off.
My knee pain is gone, even after an 8 mile long run. I knew I needed to strengthen my quads, hips and supporting muscles, so going to Group Power (aka Body Pump) a couple of times a week helped me achieve this. I also improved my balance/core/hips by balancing on the Bosu Ball.
My physical therapist/RD friend who is SUPER knowledgeable told me about it and also cautioned me not to overdo it. When I started, I could literally balance for only 5 seconds. No Joke. That is not a typo. I can now balance on it for an easy 1 and a half minutes. I can feel all my hip muscles working to support myself and that too has been a big help with relieving hip pain and running hills.
Also during this time I was trying to decide on a training plan. After reading tons of runner’s forums and doing my own research online, I decided on one of Hal Higdon’s 18 week marathon plans. It is designed to get you to the starting line injury-free and successfully complete your marathon. I am all for both of those things, so that’s how I decided to go with it. I could also still do long runs on Saturdays, incorporate cross-training on Sunday, with Monday and Friday and complete rest days. Since it’s my first marathon, there’s really no time goal. Sure, I would love to make it in less than 4 hours but I’m betting it’s not going to happen, at least not for this marathon. Not because I’m pessimistic or don’t believe in myself, but because that’s not a reasonable goal for a first marathon despite my half marathon time being 1:56:49.
My training route for the half marathon looks completely different now that it is summer! I was primarily running in Feb-March where all the trees were dead but now it is full of leaves and life. It really helps that it is mostly shaded, even completely shaded in parts, so even though it was 74 degrees and 93% humidity this morning, it was bearable.
I’m hoping to do either yoga or cycling tomorrow for my cross-training day. I didn’t do strength training this past week but I think it could be doable now that I have one week under my belt and can see how the days are laid out.
One thing I don’t have, but need, is a way to stay hydrated during my long runs in the heat and humidity. My next running purchase is going to be a fuel belt. I have been debating a fuel belt vs. a hydration backpack but again, from reading reviews and forums it seems the belt will work best for me. I’ll keep you posted on that though! So, this marks the end of week 1 of marathon training. I had strong runs during the week and a GREAT 8 mile run today. Now I’m off to make black bean brownies!
Does anyone have experience or preference with hydration belts or backpacks during long runs?