Getting My Marathon Training Back on Track

Lake Michigan sunrise

Remember when I said I was going to journal my training for the New York City Marathon this fall?

Remember when I wrote a post about my first week of training and then kind of never got around to writing a second post?

Yeah, so things got a little off track.

Back in June, I came up with what I thought would be an awesome 18-week marathon training plan, based loosely on Hal Higdon’s plans, which I have used in the past. The one tricky thing was that in the middle of said plan I would head to Europe for 17 days, including eight days of hiking the “Peaks of the Balkans” through Kosovo, Montenegro and Albania. I thought that this wouldn’t seriously affect my training too much. Indeed, I thought it would be beneficial as I would be hiking for up to 7-8 hours each day – far more than I would otherwise be doing in training. So I gave myself a break in the middle of my schedule, but planned to start up again just a day after returning to Chicago.

That didn’t exactly work out so well. The trek ended up being far more difficult than I anticipated and I was sick for my last five days in Europe, barely able to eat anything. So when I returned to Chicago, I was completely drained – not to mention jet-lagged. I did manage to run three miles just two days after returning, but my legs felt like lead – it was incredibly difficult! A few days later I got up to four miles and it was a bit easier, but my long run that weekend of eight miles certainly felt tougher than I thought it should. Nine miles the following weekend felt like I had never run so far.

To make matters worse, the trek seemed to reactivate a neuroma that I have had in the past on the bottom of my foot, so my left foot was starting to hurt just 30 minutes or so into my runs. I also had a lot to catch up on at work and several work events to attend in the weeks after my trip, so my schedule was all over the place. I cut back on cross-training in an effort to save myself for my runs, but then didn’t even get all of my runs in.

So as of today, with 12 weeks left until the marathon, I am re-setting. I ordered a customized virtual training plan through the New York Road Runners (the organizer of the New York City Marathon) and I am determined to stick to it by the letter. It’s all mental, but there’s something about using a paid plan designed by an expert that I think will make it easier to follow. Not to mention it is tailored to this particular marathon, including things like hill training designed to prepare specifically for the hills that will be on the course.

I also need to get back on track with my physical therapy exercises for my core, hips and back. Miraculously, all of my pain disappeared as soon as I landed in London in early July (leading me to the conclusion that at least some of my issues are mental and stress-induced) and I had absolutely no problems throughout my trek. Which is great, except it also led me to ease up on the PT exercises. I know I need to get back into these on a regular basis to continue to strengthen all of these areas that are so important in running!

I will also resume my training journal – if for no other reason than to hold myself accountable!

Finally, I would be remiss to not mention my fundraising efforts in connection with the marathon. I am raising money for buildOn to support the work they do in Mali and around the world. I am nearly one-third of the way to my goal of $3500, with just over $1,000 raised so far. If everyone reading this donates just $5, I would hit my goal in no time!

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