So many updates – Philly Marathon training

I mean to blog more often, really I do. So when I finally get around to it I have way too much in my mind to know what to write about.

As I am now less than 4 weeks away from the Philadelphia Marathon I decided to review how my training has been going and compare to my first marathon attempt 2 years ago (also the Philadelphia Marathon).

I certainly feel better prepared this time around, but would be lucky having already done it once anyway?

Here’s my summary of what has gone well:

  1. My average weekly mileage during this build up has been 8+ miles more than 2 years ago.
  2. My confidence has been boosted by some quality runs – in particular a 17 mile run this past Saturday that felt relatively easy and at a decent pace, followed by an 8k cross country race on Sunday where, despite tired legs, I recorded a time I was more than happy with.
  3. Despite some issues with tight calf muscles, they seem to be responding to the training and have become less of an issue.
  4. 2 years ago I had issues with what seemed to be my knee but actually turned out to be a tight muscle in my lower leg. This year I have no such issues. That problem caused me to panic slightly before that year’s race, and, not having run long for a while, just 3 weeks before the marathon I went out hard on a 17 mile run to “make up for lost miles”. It didn’t work and resulted in less running that week.
  5. Based on my coaching courses I actually set up a plan for myself.
  6. RVRR weekly track workouts have been enormously beneficial.
  7. Joining a gym a block from the office and getting to work an hour early to use the treadmill has been incredibly important in helping keep my mileage up (often resulting in 2 runs per day).
  8. A fairly accidental series of half marathon races (5 over 6 weekends, with 2 10ks and a 5k thrown in on the same weekends) appear to have helped, at least with my confidence.
  9. Through my training, my conversation running pace appears to now be faster by about 20 seconds.

and what has not:

  1. My intention to keep mileage high was sidetracked in early October with a work trip to the UK and then again by a cold that knocked me out for half a week (just last week), so my average weekly mileage should have been higher. The average across all weeks has only been around 40, but with a few high mileage weeks in the low 50s.
  2. Despite the calf muscle problems easing, I’m still not entirely convinced those muscles are ready for 26.2. In my 2013 marathon, the calf muscles were almost my downfall with muscle spasms starting at mile 18 of the race so I am wary here.
  3. Serious marathon training requires more time than I realistically have available without causing detriment to other things. I’ve seen the kids less, and I’ve not been as helpful around the house.
  4. I’m pretty sure now that 26.2 is beyond what I really want to be running. I love half marathons and I’m pretty sure that I’ll be looking to stick to that (at least for racing) for a few years.

With all this in mind, I strongly believe I am all set for a marathon PR, but, as I was discussing recently with a friend, anything can go wrong with a marathon and then all that hard work is wasted.

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