May 11, 2008

Breaking all the pre-marathon training rules

There are a lot of things you’re supposed to do to train for a marathon. Being a rebel, I have broken pretty much all of these tenets. It’s kind of a miracle I’m not crippled for life.

1. Build up your training gradually and have a set plan for whatever marathon you’ve chosen.
My plan goes like this: I want to do a marathon. Hmm, that marathon sounds fun, and it’s in France! I’ve always wanted to go to France, and this would be a great reason. Oh, wait… the airport code for Dinard is DNR (Did Not Run). There is no way I’m going to have my first marathon at a place with the airport call letters DNR. Hmmm… well, here’s one in Burlington, VT, the home of Ben & Jerry’s. And it has free ice cream at the finish!!! Done and done. Let’s see, it’s two weeks from now. I should probably do some long runs to prepare.

2. It’s a good idea to eat lots of carbs the night before a long run or a marathon, and be sure to get lots of calories too. Also, you should probably take a rest day the day before your long run.
Mmm… yesterday I only ate 1045 calories. And I did two hours of aerobics (another post to come about that because it’s pretty awesome). So net calories = less than half of what I should have eaten on a normal day, let alone a fueling day for a long run.

3. Don’t do any long runs or races in the weeks leading up to your marathon. In runner’s parlance, this is known as a taper. You may also want to lay off the booze.
Last weekend I did a half-marathon on Saturday and another half-marathon (yes, I know I still owe you all a race report from that… I promise I will this week!). That was three weeks before the marathon. Today, two weeks before the marathon, I decided I should get in a long run over 16 miles, because I still haven’t done that (at least in one shot). So I did 22 miles (now is the appropriate time to ooh and aah). Also, next weekend I’m doing a 10K race in San Francisco, during which it is apparently customary to drink as you go. And who am I to break tradition?

4. Wear sunscreen.
Okay, this isn’t so much a marathon rule as a common sense rule. And you would think that I had learned my lesson from this one, but sadly I am as dumb as ever. I use facial moisturizer with SPF now, so that was fine, but I did not sunblock my body, and I now have a very dark Road ID tan line (no burn though). The cure? Wear my Road ID everywhere I go to cover it up, including the beach next weekend. My mom would be proud.

5. Around mile 18-20, you will hit “The Wall.” Push through it; this is normal.
I, however, am not normal. I did not hit any kind of wall. Which kind of sucks, because one of my biggest goals for this run was to hit said wall so that I would know how to deal with it when I hit it in the marathon. Am I a superwoman? Or is it going to hit me at mile 25 and give me a DNF? The good thing is, I think mile 25 is close enough that my well-trained nose will be able to smell the ice cream at the finish and sprint to eat it. While running today, I was thinking about what to write on my shirt for the big day, and I considered putting something about if I collapse to just fill my mouth with ice cream, because really, that’s why I’m running this crazy distance.

Speaking of crazy, after I got home, I discovered crazy running blogger #10: my friends bring bottles of beer into the shower to pregame for a party because they don’t want to wait to drink. I bring bottles of ice water into the shower to postgame after a long run because I don’t want to wait to get the nasty salt off me.

This run was done as part of Nancy’s 10K on the 10th virtual race. 10 kilometers, 36 kilometers… whatevs! (Yes, I was totally that bitch who finished the course and then ran it backwards and forwards taunting you all). I got a split at mile 7.24 of 1:10:06, which is a 9:41 pace, so if I apply that to the 10K I was supposed to do, I’ll say my time was 1:00:08.

For my actual run, I did 22.3 miles. I circled Central Park and while running cheered on the back-of-the-packers for the 10M Mother’s Day race, then headed to Riverside Park and ran down the length of Manhattan to Battery Park, dodged the tourists there for a while, then back up to Riverside Park at 86th Street, and finally down West End Ave to get home. Let me tell you, it is not a good idea to put a final loop at the end of your run. I passed my apartment around mile 20, and it was very tempting to just call it quits and go home. But I persevered, and even triumphantly ran a last loop around the one-block-square park in front of my apartment building (I did not put my hands in the air Tsunami-style for this, as my doormen already think I’m crazy enough). Total time: 3:43:03. Slower than I wanted to run it (that is a 9:57 pace), but I definitely felt kind of slow and sluggish. I think a big old pasta party plus adrenaline will make me faster on race day. And did I mention free all-you-can-eat ice cream at the finish, with a carte blanche to eat as much as I want because I just ran 26.2 miles?? Heck, I’ll probably do a 6 minute pace just to get to the ice cream faster.


7 thoughts on “Breaking all the pre-marathon training rules”

  1. Wow! That is impressive! I’m dizzy trying to imagine the route you ran. I was also at the park this monring to cheer on the moms at the 10 miler…very cool. Anyway, pre-marathon training rules are meant for running newbies and you, girl, are most definitely NOT a newbie. Great run! You deserve that ice cream at the finish.

  2. Agreed. I think if you made it 22+ miles today, you must be doing something right! (especially if you managed to avoid attempting homicide on the tourists–there’s no way I could deal with tourists during a long run–you are clearly a saint). You have to let us know how the ice cream is at the finish (I’m picturing like a gynormous bucket of Ben and Jerry’s for each finisher)–if this race lives up to my sweet-tooth’s expectations, I just might have to sign up next year! 🙂

  3. wow you are just amazing 🙂 have fun and good luck at bay to breakers!!! you are going to have a blast! sad i am missing it 🙁
    and ice cream at the end of a marathon sounds like great motivation to me 🙂

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