And just like that it's time to recap my 4th marathon training cycle! I seriously cannot believe that this will be my 4th marathon AND my 2nd marathon OF 2017! I've only ever done one marathon during a year, so this was the first time where I went from finishing one marathon, took 2 weeks off of running, a few weeks of building my mileage back up, then started another training plan. I went with the Runner's World Advanced Training Plan to Break 4:00s and we will see if it pays off! I'm feeling pretty confident going into the race (especially with the downhills) and having done the course last year, I think I have a pretty good shot of meeting my goal!
So, let's start at the beginning of the training cycle with some HIGH points:
- This was the first training cycle where I actually logged my mileage! I know, I know, I was a crazy runner before...but now I'm converted! I love keeping track of my mileage each week and recapping the good, the bad, and the...well...unglamorous side of marathon training (i.e. chafing, lack of sleep, sweaty-smellyness, hair always wet when heading to work, etc.)
I logged 416.14 miles during this training cycle
- Tempo Runs. This was another first for me! I did some tempo runs (at marathon goal pace) and they were tough. I got through them and I think that was a HUGE confidence booster.
- Pilates every week. I think I may have only missed 3 Jumpboard Reformer Pilates Classes the entire training cycle. I was able to stay strong and keep the injuries at bay thanks to these classes (I believe..).
- I set a new PR in the Half AND crossed off my goal of breaking 2:00 hours. This race was a huge confidence booster for me because it was a few weeks after my kidney infection and I was tired/ in the middle of this training cycle/ didn't completely push myself and still was able to break 2 hours. It was amazing.
- I meal prepped every week during this training cycle. I normally have a few weeks where it's hard to meal prep and I get lazy, but I really stuck to this every week.
- I took rest days when I needed and stopped going to the gym every Monday-Friday. This was a really big difference between my previous marathon training cycles and this one. I had ALWAYS thought that I needed to work out 6 days a week and never rested. Even my "rest days" typically included some strength training (which is still WORK/STRESS on your body).
- I slowed down on my easy runs. My previous training cycles, I never really focused on keeping my easy runs slow. This was the first time where I really stepped-back and slowed down and listened to my body when it needed it. I feel like this was a HUGE reason why I was able to nail almost every interval workout I had.
- I got a kidney infection and found out I was Anemic half-way through my training cycle. This was definitely a big blow to my running and training. I ended up taking 7 days off of any activity and then took another week of blended easy running before tackling any sort of hard work-out (including long runs or tempos). Although, in the end it was needed for me to take some rest days and the anemia really helped me become stronger and healthier. I looked back on the weeks prior to my infection and I noted several times a week how tired I was, allergies were terrible, my runs were not going well, and my strength overall was just not there. Afterwards, almost every single one of my runs were happy (some were still hard) and I haven't dealt with any sickness/allergies/ rundown energy since! It really was a blessing in disguise.
- It snowed. A LOT. I think the beginning months of any late-Spring race will always have weather as a negative. It caused me to run on the treadmill during the first few weeks of my training cycle, but it could be worse I suppose?
- I worked over 40 hours a week most weeks. It wasn't until about 3 weeks ago where I finally was able to only work 40 hours, but the majority of my training cycle I worked upwards of 48-50+ hours a week. This really isn't a change from other training cycles, but still can be a low.
Overall, this was a strong marathon training cycle towards the end. The first 8 weeks of training were rough, but the last 6 weeks finished out really strong. I feel like I'm trained and prepared. If my sub 4 doesn't happen this race, that's OK. I know that I've already become a stronger runner and want to go out and have fun and enjoy one of my favorite races of the year. I know my sub 4 will come either this year or some other year and that the steps leading to it will make me a better runner in the end!