Training for a marathon is not easy and even harder when I am struggling to make it out for runs consistently. In the past, my training plans called for 5-6 days of running, where 2 of the days were speed work – intervals and tempo and long run during one weekend day. I used to double up cross training and runs at least once a week. Those days are long gone.
For the Los Angeles Marathon, my goal will be to finish the race in a respectable time. What does respectable time mean? Well, for right now, I am not sure. I signed up for the race so I had a goal and something to motivate me to run consistently. I missed the structure of having a schedule and everyone knows I am much happier and nicer after I have had a good sweat.
While I am not completely starting from fitness level zero, my days of having a strong base are a distant memory. These days my base is about 2-3 miles. While I was pregnant, I read about the “Run Less Run Faster” training philosophy created by the Furman Institute of Running and Scientific Training. For more research, I purchased the book leading up to developing my plan. While I have not read the book cover to cover yet, I find it to be a good resource and I’m sure will be useful in many more training programs to come. The theory behind the program is that more miles does not equal faster race results. Not only are there other time commitments that prevent people from being able to run as often as possible, for some, running more leads to injuries as well. The FIRST plan calls for 3 tough days of running and 2 hard cross training days. In the 3 days for a marathon, there are track repeats/intervals, tempo runs, and the long run. There are several critiques to this plan (as with all plans out there) which I acknowledge and respect but for me and my current training situation, this plan seems to make sense. I’ll definitely plan on doing an overall training recap after March 19th!
My training plan, which started three Mondays ago, is built on the FIRST foundation — three days of hard running: intervals, tempo, long run + two days of cross training: easy run, elliptical, or spin class + one day of barre. Most days I am up around 4:30AM to get ready for the day before the workout and many runs are unfortunately on a treadmill since it is still dark out. I try to join a local running group when I can and sign up for as many races that make sense so I can get some speed/tempo work in outside. So far it has been a challenge to get up that early and out the door but it does feel great to be done with your workout before the sun rises(!).
I’ll continue to keep you all posted in the months head. Look for my training recaps every couple of weeks!