Monday, August 9, 2010

Marathon Training Update, Weeks 1 - 4

Rather than bore you with too many Chickamauga Battlefield Marathon training updates I've decided to post one every four weeks. Since I'm using Hal Higdon's 18-Week Advanced II Training Plan, this will provide nail-biting coverage through week 16. I figure this is enough, since the last two weeks are basically for tapering. And I shouldn't have any trouble writing about running withdrawals and extreme paranoia during that time, right?

For the first four weeks I've completed everything asked of me. And then some. When I first looked at the schedule I thought Hal was taking it a little easy on me the first few weeks. The mileage was pretty light and so was the speed work. Little did I know he conspired with Mother Nature and the two of them piped in extreme heat and humidity to make it more challenging. On days I thought I might add on an extra mile or interval I quickly changed my mind and did the bare minimum. Pangs of guilt? None whatsoever. I trust that Hal has tweaked his formulas and tested his plan on other suckers runners. Besides, he hasn't let me down the last two times I followed his instructions.

In addition to the running I've been hitting the gym. Borrowing from Greg Strosaker, I began strength training on Mondays and Fridays in week 2. Now, I'm no stranger to the weight room but it has been a few years. I've had to learn the nuances of new equipment and figure out how much I should be lifting. Three weeks on and I'm still making small adjustments each time I go. And it's fun. Just today I was getting ready to use the chest press when an elderly woman (70s) dressed in street clothes walked in and knocked out a couple of sets. I was glad to wait.

I've also been swimming once per week on Wednesdays. Before my training officially began I swam some in preparation for my first triathlon. I'd never done pool work before and was surprised at just how much I liked it. It's a good workout and once I'm done I feel like I've accomplished something. Unfortunately, I'm questioning whether I should keep it up. After last week I felt the after effects for a couple of days. I think I'll give it one more chance this week and see how it goes. If I'm excessively fatigued again I may have to step away from the water for a while.

So, how do I feel four weeks in? Both physically and mentally I've experienced highs and lows. Some days I feel like I've had my ass kicked, and others I feel like I'm the one handing them out. Some days I'm confident I can meet my BQ goal, and others I wonder if I've set my sights too high. Either way, I'm in it to win it. I'll continue to give it all I've got while maintaining the necessary discipline.

Stay tuned for the next update. Same bat time, same bat channel. And happy running!

If you'd like to see all my workouts they can be viewed here on the dailymile website.


  1. I just started following you blog so I don't know how many marathons you have run but I love that you are doing strength training and swimming as well. I have found it makes a big difference in my training. I have the same coach as Greg and have really enjoy the total body workout we do. Are you doing A LOT of core on those days too? My husband thinks that made all the difference in his BQ last fall. He dropped 40 minutes from his previous marathon

  2. Hi, Ann! This will be my first marathon. A little nuts to set a BQ goal, but you only live once, right?

    Sorry to disappoint, but I've decided to give up swimming during training. I love it, but I've really noticed how tired it makes me on the following day's run.

    I have not, however, given up the strength training. I'm focusing a lot on core and plan to integrate some variety to make sure I'm hitting every muscle. A nice bonus is that I'm already starting to see a physical change. :)

    Thanks for stopping by!