I recently had to make a tough decision. I previously registered to run in a marathon but shortly after beginning to train for it, I had to take a break from running for three weeks. A few weeks ago, I finally started doing some 3 and 5 milers. Surprisingly, my comfortable pace was faster than ever. However, with the marathon date only seven weeks away, I had to decide if it was still doable or if I should just wait until next year. I decided to go for it.
I readjusted my training schedule so I can get at least three weeks of over 30 miles of running. Each week includes one long run which increases progressively up to 20 miles. Then a week with a few short distances and a couple days off just before the race.
I once saw an interview with a gentleman who has run well over 20 Ironman triathlons and he was asked what it takes to complete one. His answer really stuck in my head. He said that fitness is obviously important but being healthy on race day is the single most important factor in completing an Ironman. He also added that you don’t need to be a great swimmer, cyclist or runner. You just need to be good at all three.I’m confident that this will get me ready for the marathon without being overly aggressive. In fact, the week before starting this routine I ran 29 miles so starting out with 26 might be even be a bit on the light side. We’ll see how things go after the first couple of weeks. There might be a little room to add a few more miles but I need to be careful about that.
I understand that those comments pertained to an Ironman but I am taking his advice and applying it to this marathon. Sure, training aggressively could help me be more better prepared but it also greatly increases the risk of getting shin splints, runner’s knee, blisters, etc… Finding a good balance between aggressive training and remaining healthy is what I hope this schedule accomplishes.