Tag Archives: marathon training

Back on the (Running) Horse

I’ve become a total slacker, not running, barely going to yoga or weekly (just weekly!!) boot camp. Except for the magical Loon race, I really haven’t been running.

It’s a mix of being unmotivated, lazy, and rather taken over by the apartment hunt (nothing yet). Plus, the heat! I am personally responsible, however, for ending our heat wave in the Northeast, and you’re welcome. How did I do it? I singlehandedly lugged home a borrowed air conditioner, hauled it in, and installed it in the kids’ room, all on my own, without crushing my feet, cutting a finger, or dropping it out the window. I am a total rockstar. And that feat literally broke the heat wave, overnight.

I clearly have superpowers.

But anyway. I can’t run in the heat. Not like I’m a wimp, but I had a heatstrokey experience a few years ago (heat exhaustion, heat-related illness, what have you, I don’t know the proper term — let me just say it was Rather Bad), and since then I tolerate heat/humidity even less well than I did before, and so a recent afternoon running-in-the-heat attempt turned into a mere two-miler that left me beet red, dry-skinned, superhot, and feeling chilled. Yeah. I don’t sweat well. So. I officially give up trying to work out when it’s hot and humid.

While I’d made my peace with becoming one with my chair/sofa, I also know that I need goals. And my planned September 50-miler can’t happen, because I haven’t been running. Time to get off my ass and do something about this before I melt into a sad puddle of endorphin-less squish.

Oh, I love the endorphins.

Plus, with so many things in my life up in the air right now, I need something regular to count on and to do for myself that’s positive. Also, I “met” this woman while training for my ultra last December (we only met online, ran the race near each other [me somewhere behind her], and still haven’t met in person), and she’s very inspiring. She’s been training hard, recently won a 50K, and posts all her training online. I love following it (she’s also a vegan and posts pics of her meals — also inspiring). And it has inspired me to get off my ass and get back out there.

So I finally downloaded a marathon training plan, pinned it to my wall, and am sticking to it. I downloaded some new tunes to my iPod (a healthy mix of Sia and Highly Suspect, if you must know) and knocked out five miles today. Alone. Happily, even. With some box jumps on a big rock near the end of the run.

Race plan:

  • July: Mudderella (5-mile mud/obstacle race, pure fun)
  • September: Trail half marathon, followed two weeks later by a road half marathon
  • December: Trail ultra (yes, will use the marathon plan to get my mileage up and then build up from there)


It's just an intermediate training plan, but i's a good way to get my mileage back up.

It’s just an intermediate training plan, but i’s a good way to get my mileage back up.

Seriously, the new songs helped a lot. I haven’t updated my playlist in four years. Ugh. No wonder I don’t want to run!

And the half marathons on the training plan sync perfectly with a local half on a weekend I don’t have the kids (win-win!). However, I’m not sure how I will manage my weekend runs when they’re here. Make them bike alongside? For 14 or 20 miles?? Remains to be seen. I might have some 4 a.m. weekday runs in my future. We’ll see. I will definitely have to tweak the training based on when I have the kids, but I’ll get it all done and mark it all off as I go.

Plus, right above this training plan on the corkboard is this delightful drawing by Ben, which I love so much:



I think he was four when he drew it, and while it looks as though Max might be about to take a swig, if I recall correctly he’s poised to throw something at Ben, according to the artist — who might be holding a self-defense rock in the drawing, come to think of it. Sweet, sweet children (no, seriously, they are — JUST THIS WEEK they started playing board games together, checkers mostly, and this morning Max was teaching Ben to play chess! You have no idea how much pure joy this brings me).

What are you training for? Who or what inspires you? How do you get off your butt when you’re becoming one with your chair?

The 20-Miler on the Marathon Course

It’s like I’ve completely forgotten how to train for a marathon.

The first time I ran a marathon, I did it with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training. I had a very specific training plan, a coach and guidelines and weekly phone calls and everything. They offered great support, and I followed the plans to the letter, including all the stretching after the runs. I felt really really good during my race and really happy.

The next time I ran a marathon was after having two babies. I was doing a lot of long runs and decided to run another marathon. I stuck very close to a training plan for that and followed all the “rules” of training, and not only did I qualify for Boston but I PR’ed with a time of 3:36.


Last summer I trained kind of badly for a marathon with blood, sweat, tears, and a leg injury that I ignored. I qualified for Boston but paid the price of having to take several months off, which meant I started training for Boston with no base mileage to speak of.

I seem to have backslid and regressed even further. This time around I don’t quite exactly even have a training plan. I ran a half marathon two weeks ago and forgot to eat beforehand. Can you believe it? By sheer luck I had one gel on me but I had to eat it too early in the race and it was a kind I’d never had before and I didn’t have enough water to wash it down. Isn’t a basic rule to fuel up before and during?


Last week I went out for 17 miler, again not exactly fueling well and realizing by mile 14 that my shoes (the Ghosts I ran my September marathon in….but haven’t really run in much since then, since I took the fall off and spent the winter running on ice in trail shoes) didn’t have enough support.

Tomorrow I run 20 miles on the Boston Marathon course itself. I can’t wait. My running club is totally supporting it, with four food and water stops. I think there’s a police detail to control traffic. It’s a big day, because it’s generally the last and (for some of us the only) 20-miler for almost everyone before the race itself.

Of course, I haven’t had a chance to go buy new running shoes. So I ordered some from Amazon. I took a test run in one pair (Saucony Mirage 4) this morning and realized they’re not going to work for me. The other pairs arrived tonight. I won’t have a chance to try them before the run tomorrow. So I’m going to pack my old shoes and will wear a pair of the new shoes (Saucony ProGrid 7, a model I don’t think I’ve run in before) and hope for the best. I also have big plans to eat breakfast before I leave and will bring food with me. Brilliant, right? It’s like I’m already on top of this.

I know the long runs are a time to hammer out the kinks, but this is getting ridiculous. I can’t find the running gloves I wore all winter, the gloves I ran with just two days ago. I think I left them at a cafe near work. I don’t know which are my favorite socks, because I’ve been wearing the same pair of high wool running socks all winter. I have no idea which of my ankle socks don’t slip down, because I haven’t worn them in so long. I still need to check the forecast, I’m out of gels and sport beans, and you know what? I don’t care. It’s very freeing, this not-running-for-any-sort-of-time-goal. It gives me so much room to do so much so half-assedly. I mean, this isn’t ideal, but it’s not going to ruin much for me, ultimately. And I ran 17 last week and it was tough but I did it, so I’m pretty sure I can get through 20 tomorrow, especially since there will be so many others out there, and so many water and fuel stops along the way.

Here’s to tomorrow and the confidence it will give me!

And here’s to having the new shoes work out just fine for me!!


It’s Thursday. Who Am I Supposed to Run With Today?

My friend called me an exercise slut today. See, I’m now working out almost every day, at 6 a.m. (How did this happen?) I suspect she called me that because I’m now losing track of who I’ve made what workout plans with, and I’m starting to double- and triple-book myself for runs and such.

I used to do a trail run once or twice a week at the leisurely hour of 6:30, a weekend road run at 8 a.m .or so, and boot camp in my neighbor’s yard at 6 a.m. maybe once a week at most.

Somehow things have shifted. Partly I’ve shifted into higher gear as I finally really start training for my fall marathon. My options for a qualifying race, if I wanted to stay in New England or the near Mid-Atlantic area (I did), were August 18 (too soon) or September 8 (also kind of soon, but I hope I can do it if it’s not too hot that day). I’m pretty sure the September date will be fine. Any later, though, and I could miss my chance to register.


From the B.A.A. page. Clearly, I’m not the only one wondering WHEN registration will open, so as to race the fall marathon in time!

This week, I did boot camp with my neighbor A___’s trainer, who came to her yard. The following morning, I ran with another neighbor, P__. Yesterday, I did a trail run with one of my running partners, F___ (the one who today called me an exercise slut).

Today I couldn’t remember who I was supposed to work out with or how many miles I’d planned to do. I suspected I was due to run with neighbor P____ again, but I hadn’t arranged it with him in time, so instead I went to the track alone for my first speed workout in ages. Loved it. Speedwork can be really fun and feel productive, though my calf did get a little twingy toward the end.

Since anyone can lose track of something now and then, I decided to go big and essentially triple-book myself for running tomorrow. I’d forgotten I’d sort of planned to run a short road run tomorrow instead of today with P____. At the end of Wednesday’s trail run, I sort of committed to a longer road run tomorrow with F____. Online, I not only planned to run with my trail running group, but I talked P____ into joining us for that.

So that’s now only two runs I’m supposed to do at the same time tomorrow. I think F____ may join us in the woods. Saturday it’s boot camp with A____ in her yard, and then Sunday a 9-mile road run with — at this point — anyone who wants to join me for any part of it. (Are you having a hard time keeping track of all of this, too?) I may just do Sunday’s run with the Tufts marathon team.

I haven’t run with them since February or earlier — maybe January? I have only run with them about three times total. And you know what? Last Sunday (just before the chills and shakes set in 7.5 miles into my run — oh, hot weather, I don’t like you much) I passed the Tufts marathon coach handing out water to the Sunday runners, and this man — who has been coaching heaps of runners for years, and coaching swim teams, and generally dealing with about a billion athletes a year — he called out, “Hey, Julia, how ya doing?” to the sweaty, visor-and-sunglasses-sporting beet-faced person huffing by (I mean me, if it’s not clear).

That’s how awesome and supportive running with the Tufts marathon team can be. So maybe I’ll start joining them for my Sunday long runs for awhile.

That would certainly keep me from double-booking on everyone else, at least.