Boston Marathon training. Oh dear lord...it's here. 15 weeks from today, I'll be toeing the line in Hopkinton...right now, that's a somewhat terrifying thought. Like really? I want to put myself through marathon training again? And in the middle of winter? WTF? But armed with some superfly new winter running gear and a training plan - which I have written out on a calender and am holding myself to as closely as possible - well...I'm gonna do this. Again.
The plan started inconspicuously enough today with an easy 6 miles. I procrastinated the crap out of it, sitting around playing video games with the BF [don't judge] and eating pistachios and enjoying the warmth of my brand new Snuggie [a gift from my sister and it's Wisconsin themed too, I would judge myself but it's just too damn comfy]. Then BF left for a tax preparation class...aaaand I procrastinated some more. At least this was productive procrastination though - I set up my training calender for the next month on an excel spreadsheet and a calendar I printed out and color coded [yellow for easy, orange for long, there are even separate colors for tempo workouts and inteveral workouts! annnd I'm a loser]. The picture I put on the calendar is from the Pearl Izumi website and says "If you ever want to see who the true runners are, take a peek outside during Mother Nature's next hissy fit". We seem to get a lot of hissy fits here in Boston...I think I'm going to need to keep this phrase in mind haha. But anyway, putting it down on a calendar makes me feel much more accountable for putting in the miles I'm supposed to each day.
So finally, after figuring out exactly what I was going to be doing for the next 4 weeks, I headed out for my 6 miles. I was COLD when I first stepped out the door [always the worst part of a run], but I fought through it and warmed up pretty fast. One thing I love about living in the city, and especially a city like Boston where it seems like just about everyone is a runner, is that you see SO many people running at night - after work or whatever, I suppose - it's just nice not to feel so alone on dark, cold, winter nights. And of course, it's fun to ogle everyone's fancy winter tech apparel too. :) For my part, I am absolutely LOVING my Brooks Nightlife half-zip...it's got neon yellow accents and lots of reflective areas for running at night, and its waaaarm. The 6.3 miles @ 8:05 pace went by fast and felt pretty easy, and my knee showed no sign of getting cranky which is...amazing. I can't even express how glorious it's been as I've eased back into running, not constantly freaking out about my knee.
My basic plan for training looks something like this: I'm basing my plan off Brad Hudson's level 2 marathon program, with various tweaks that I'm making to compensate for a) the fact that as I'm coming back after this IT band crap, I'm only going to be running 5 days a week and b) the fact that my mileage hasn't quite been where I want it to be in the lead-up, so I don't want to pound out 45 miles the first week and kill myself. I'm bascially going with 2 easy runs, one usually 5-6 and one 7-8, which will increase as I get further along. My long run I'm going to try to start at 12 miles - not 100% sure on that, but at the least it will be 10 this week. Then 2 days of cross training a week, at least for this first month, and 2 "workouts" - right now they involve some HM pace work, hill repetitions at around 10K effort, and at the end of the month, mile repeats [my faaavorite]. I think I'm just going to take it day by day, but assuming I make it through the next 3 weeks or so without any issues, I may add another 5-6 day to replace the easy day. The long run is going to be interesting since, uh, I haven't done a lot of those lately..but I figure if I just slow the hell down, take it easy, and get through it, it'll come back.
I walk past the Boston Marathon finish line every day on my way to work. Every day, I'm going to look at that line and it will remind me what I'm doing this for. It's going to be hard, but it's going to be good...I know it.
Plus, I'm from Wisconsin after all. What true Wisconsinite doesn't love the cold? :P