Monday, June 18, 2012

To Plan or Not to Plan, That is The Question

June 18, 2012

Marathon plan called for Sunday off and 20-30 minutes cross training today. Usually on Monday's I both run and swim - and I did so during my half training without much trouble but I also know that a marathon is an entirely different beast. In the interest of being smart, at least for now, I cut out the run and stuck with the swim.

I'm still not entirely sure of how I'm going to proceed over the next few weeks while my running mileage remains lower than what I've been putting in. Before I decided to make the leap into 26.2 I spoke with Charlie at my trusted running store, Blue Mile and found that my average mileage of about 20 to 25 per week is my "base". I had spent some time building up to that over the course of my last half marathon, but continued to run longer every other weekend after in an attempt to keep up my fitness. Admittedly, after all the work that I've done to lose weight and get fit, there's also something intensely gratifying to know that I can call on my body to run 13.1 at any given point in time.

Charlie did advise that between my half and starting up marathon training it'd be okay to cut back on mileage some - part for the mental break of sticking to a training plan day in and day out, but also to give my body the opportunity to recoup and recover.  I still consider myself to be a novice runner, but what he was saying made sense to me so over the last couple of weeks I reduced my mileage pretty considerably (or what seemed to sot me).  Of course now... now I've got nervous twitches that somehow I'm not going to be able to build back up or that I'm going to struggle doing so. In my HEAD I know this is nonsense. The Type-A, overachiever in me debates that.

What I may do is throw in lower mileage, truly easy run one day a week (like Monday) and keep that up until my midweek mileage catches up. Of course, I think the best advice I got on Daily Mile came from Olu when he said:

I would follow the plan as closely as possible at least for the 1st one. There's nothing remotely intuitive of marathon training until you've done it before.

I'm realizing that everything I know how about running - fueling, hydration, recovery - is about to get shaken up, but that's okay.

So in keeping with my plan I stuck with cross training only and made my way to the gym where I spent close to 45 minutes in the cool, calm, waters of the lap pool. If there's one thing about swimming indoors during the summer it's that most people have made tracks to be outdoors, so there's less lane comedy or chaos. There's something amazing when it's only me - the water is smooth and my swim is more like gliding through the water than trying to power through it.

My choice of music changes when I'm swimming - I tend to favor Coldplay, Enya, maybe Enigma but by far what I listen to the most is Maroon 5. Thinking about Adam Levine waiting for me at the end of my lane doesn't hurt - but the music, particularly from the Hands All Over album, seems to be perfectly paced and sets just the right "mood" for me to find my Zen in the pool.

Being in the water is where I feel most at peace. Whenever I've found myself feeling particularly challenged, emotionally vulnerable or just having a difficult time in general I've turned to water - the shower, the tub, the pool, a lake, the rain, the snow. Water cleanses, rinses and renews. It flows along gentle and easy or churns and roars with power and might or freezes into crystalline beauty that floats from the heavens and covers the earth. Much like the road and the path have become an old friend that welcomes me back whenever I lace up my shoes - so too is the water, but it envelopes and surrounds and comforts.

Had hoped for 2000m but it wasn't in the cards but that's okay. Was more important to hop out, collect The Oldest from kid care and spend some time pool side with her. She's growing and changing every day - I want to capture memories and moments and time spent with her while I still can because I know that it's going to seem like only a nanosecond and she'll be all grown up with kids of her own.

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