I decided that writing a weekly recap of my marathon training for the 2016 Fargo Marathon would be a nice way for me to reflect on the week’s activities. It would also serve as a nice reminder for future marathon training plans as to what worked and what could be tweaked for better results. Lastly, it would serve as a good platform for me to share with others (those who care) how things are going.
A lot of work goes into training for a marathon. Recapping all of my activities from the week helps me reflect on and remember how much effort it takes to prepare for a 26.2 mile race.
The week of February 15 marked the beginning of my 14-week training plan for the 2016 Fargo Marathon.
Fargo will be my seventh marathon and I feel like I am more prepared than ever to have a great race. Every marathon training period teaches me something new about myself and ways to improve. This week I thought back to past training periods and how much I have learned and grown as an athlete. I know I still have a lot to learn, but I truly think I am setting myself up for the best race of my life in May.
I have my training plan all mapped out, which is something I have never done before. Usually the most I do for planning is set my base mileage, determine where I want to peak and how long my long run for the week will be. For Fargo, I have planned out every single workout for all 14 weeks.
I have built my training plan to be flexible by keeping it pretty general. For example, I know I want to do one speed workout each week, on Wednesdays, but not necessarily what that speed workout will be. Some weeks it might be mile repeats on the tracks; other weeks it might be fartlek workouts. You get the idea.
I know that I want to run easy pace for two-thirds of my Saturday long run and the last one-third at marathon pace. I know I want to run a tempo run every Monday, which is 60 percent of the long run distance, at marathon pace. In-between the workout days, I know I want to do recovery miles at 8-9 minutes per mile. Recovery running is something I have not done enough of in the past, and I think it has really hurt me.
That is a quick overview of things. Now for the week one training breakdown.
Monday, Feb. 15
I ran a 6-mile tempo run at marathon pace (7:00 per mile) on the treadmill. (I actually ran slightly slower than race pace.) I was going to bust out the new shoes I got as a Christmas gift to start week one, but my current shoes still have life in them. I am so impressed by HOKA ONE ONE. I will be starting on my fourth pair soon. They are absolute beasts. I have over 500 miles in the current pair and I think they could go another 100 miles. I won’t push them that far because I don’t want to risk injury, but they could do it.
Tuesday, Feb. 16
I ran a 3-mile recovery run on the treadmill at 8:36 pace. This pace feels super slow but I know it’s important to let my body recover after workout days. The unfortunate thing of training for an early spring marathon is that you find yourself logging miles on the treadmill in February and March. The winter is a lot less harsh here in Chicago compared to my old stomping grounds in Sioux Falls, so I anticipate more outdoor running in the near future. I can handle the cold, but when the sidewalks and trails have snow or ice on them I do not want to risk an ankle sprain or fall. Plus most of my running is done after work when the sun is already down. It just isn’t worth the risk when the conditions are less than ideal.
Wednesday, Feb. 17
I ran a 4-mile ferlek run for my speed workout on the treadmill today, alternating slow/recovery pace for 3 minutes (6 mph) and fast pace for 3 minutes (10 mph). Wow, 10 mph felt super fast at first. I got used to the speed eventually but it certainly was a tough speed workout.
Thursday, Feb. 18
I ran 4 miles at recovery pace (8:35) after yesterday’s speed workout. Again, I was on the treadmill. #WinterSucks.
Friday, Feb. 19
Today was my first off day. It felt good to relax after four straight days of running. I did get in my carb load at Maggiano’s Little Italy that night in preparation for my long run Saturday morning.
Saturday, Feb. 20
I ran 9 miles OUTSIDE today. The weather was glorious—sunny and 55 degrees. There was a 5K/10K race happening on Lakefront Trail, which is where I do basically all of my outdoor running. No exaggeration, I encountered thousands of runners on the trail today, and not all of them were running the race. I love Chicago because of how active people are on the trail. I remember my training days on the bike trail in Sioux Falls where I would maybe run into a dozen people. It’s just a totally different vibe here. Anyway, the run was great. I went easy pace the first two-thirds of the run and picked it up to marathon pace (actually a little faster) the last 3 miles: 6:55, 6:45, 6:45. This is how I plan on running all of my long runs. I want to start out relaxed and finish strong, which simulates how I want to run the marathon.
Sunday, Feb. 21
I rounded out the week with an off day. 25 miles was my base mileage goal this week and I hit it perfectly. So far training is going according to plan.
Note: I am only detailing the actual running in these weekly recaps. I also do plenty of stretching and weight training, but I will probably leave most of those details out because I want these recaps to focus on the running portion of my training.