I am currently 14 weeks out from my 5th Marine Corps Marathon. I’ve done Hal Higdon’s training plan twice and attempted Hansons training plan twice. I say attempted because it’s a really hard plan and I’ve never been able to hit all of the mileage at all the right paces. Last year was closer than the previous year and I went into the race feeling strong and ready and planning to gun for a PR.
And completely fell apart at mile 16. I know some of that was the ridiculous heat and some was poor fueling choices on my part, but the race felt hard from the first step. And it never improved. The first mistake I made was not admitting it was not my day and slowing down after mile 2 or 3 or 4 or… (Mile 1 might lie, but you’d think I’d listen to my body when things haven’t improved by mile 4 or so.)
I’m not making that mistake this year. Last year I made the decision that I was not going for a PR this year. I haven’t changed my mind. I am running for fun and out there to enjoy the atmosphere.
So how do I get from barely running to running a marathon in 14 weeks? Very, very carefully. I’ve created a plan that includes 3 “real” days of running and one “fun” day (AKA run club where I sometimes walk, sometimes run, sometimes just have a beer.) I also had to take into account the weekends I’ll be at ZOOMA races. I’m pretty sure I can’t squeeze in a double digit run with the kind of hours I work there. (Heck, I’m just hoping I can run the shorter distances at most of the races.)
I’m not going to share my plan here for two reasons: 1) knowing me, I’ll probably not actually follow it exactly and 2) I would not recommend it to anyone without a decent base and a good bit of experience running longer distances. What I will tell you is that most of my long runs are between 14-16 miles and I won’t be running a 20 mile training run. And I’ll be making up the difference by lifting heavy 3 days a week.
Fingers crossed I have a fun MCM. I know I’ll finish – after all, I almost quit at mile 16 last year and managed to rally and still finish sub-5 (which is not even a goal this year since I’m currently running 11:30 miles, post injury). And maybe, just maybe, these guys will be waiting in the last mile again…
Have you ever run a longer race undertrained? Was it intentional or not? I’ve definitely been undertrained before, but this is the first time I’m choosing to train conservatively rather than try to “catch up”.
And if you are looking for topics for the next couple of months, here you go!
7/24 free topic
7/31 Grade your month
8/7 Whats your running BHAG? (big hairy audacious goal)
8/14 How has running changed you?
8/21 Summer running goals still left to check off
8/28 Grade your month
9/4 Fall running plans/favorites
9/11 How will your running/schedule change in fall?
9/18 Favorite ways to keep running exciting?
9/25 Grade your month