Eight weeks from now, if all goes according to plan, I will have completed my second full marathon – the Fredericton Marathon. It’s a little more than halfway through my specific training that began on January 1st, so I thought it would be a good time to look at how things have gone so far compared to my first time around last summer/fall.
The weather has certainly been a challenge. In hindsight, I wish I hadn’t taken so much time off after my marathon in October because there wasn’t much in the way of snow during that time. I needed a little time off to savour my accomplishment and figure out what was next, but I definitely milked that longer than necessary.
Training through the toughest winter I have experienced since moving to New Brunswick has made me readjust what I’m willing to put myself through. I’m very lucky to live in Sackville, as the street clearing here is incredible and this year the town has gone above and beyond. Despite the near record snow, constant storms and general crappiness weather wise, I can count on one hand the number of outside workouts that I moved inside to the gym. That being said, getting ready for any marathon is not the easiest. Getting ready for a spring marathon in Atlantic Canada takes a special kind of dedication (or love of the treadmill – something I do NOT have).
As of today, I have run 484 kilometres in 2014. It’s not a phenomenal amount by any stretch, but it is certainly the most distance I have covered without any kind of setback or injury – especially when you add in the 100 km or so I put in during December. I’m averaging between 40-50 km per week, although that will climb a little over the next few weeks. My longest Sunday run so far this year has been 26 km, but the next two weeks will see that stretch to 30km. If all goes well, I will get in a couple of runs of 32 km prior to race day.
Most weeks I have run five out of seven days, with two days of strength exercises and elliptical training. A couple of times I have used one of my non-running days as a complete day of rest. I really need to be more consistent with my strength exercises as they will help my running, but are also very beneficial when it comes to preventing injury. For someone who has a history of knee problems, you would think this would be a no-brainer for me. Sadly, not so.
As with my first marathon, I’ve been very fortunate to have the guidance of a coach. Chuck Dixon has helped me a great deal with my training this cycle as he took the time to develop a schedule based on my goals and has adjusted it as my training has continued. If you aren’t fortunate enough to have a coach, I strongly encourage you to at the very least find some more experienced runners or tap into the online community. Learning from others and benefitting from their encouragement is a huge plus for any runner.
With less than two months to go I think one of my biggest challenges will be not overdoing it. Following a schedule and committing to it has worked very well, and even if I am tempted to add workouts or stretch some runs a little farther, I will have to resist. I expect that the taper will be challenging again, so I will need to make sure I have other things to keep me busy those last few days. Before I know it, the Fredericton Marathon will have come and gone and I’ll focus on the next challenge – whatever that may be!