I’m back on the trails, sidewalks, and pathways of my community. Next July I will compete in my 5th career marathon, on my 4th continent, as a part of Team Diabetes headed to Gold Coast, Australia.
Despite the fact I am much more comfortable and happy running half marathons now versus the full distance, I couldn’t pass up a chance to round up my total to 5 and check another continent off the list and train for a marathon.
The last race I had in my calendar was Bermuda in January and I have been lazy keeping up the kilometres since. So, with 9 months lead time before my next crack at a marathon, I’m starting my training early.
Starting my training in fall is a beautifully inspiring season. I’m out with the changing colours, away from the heat of summer, and it’s just a very comfortable time to get out and run. The next 5 months for me are all about laying a base. I want to get out and run 3 to 4 times a week. Right now it’s just 3km, soon it will be 5, and then I’ll regularly stretch out to 10k on the weekends.
I’d like to be consistently running 25km a week by the spring before I get things going with my proper training program, and there’s no better time to start than the present.
MY MARATHON TRAINING GEAR
This week I cracked open a box of Adidas Ultraboost shoes (in a very bright 80s neon) from Sport Chek and slipped back in to doing some laps of the neighbourhood. These shoes are a tight, cushioning ride. They promise a “sock-like feel,” and they’re giving me that along with a full-length boost™ midsole and outsole that softens each step along the way. To keep tabs on my pacing and distance, I am thrilled to have a new Garmin Forerunner 910XT on my wrist. I picked it up earlier this summer, ditching the very glitchy Garmin Forerunner 410. That old watch had controls via the bezel and it never worked properly. Despite only ever running with Garmin watches, I hated that model and I’m so glad to have a push button watch back on my wrist. Time and distance is key to marathon training. You want to keep your pace under control and having it just a glance away on my wrist really helps me with intervals and to keep my strides down to a proper tempo.
MY MARATHON TRAINING GUIDE
The first marathon I ever completed, the 2002 Vancouver International Marathon, was done starting from scratch. I hadn’t run in years and then, after just four months of training, I found myself completing 26.2 miles in 4 hours and 41 minutes. So you can go from zero to 26.2 in sixteen weeks, but I’d rather not. Those first couple of marathons I had a coach as part of a newspaper promotion running team that made things easier. When I got back into the big runs on my own later on, I didn’t have the trainer to fall back on. I discovered Runner’s World Magazine’s SmartCoach to plan my training. It’s a 12 to 16 week planner for any race from 5k to 10k to half marathon to full marathon. You tell it a recent race distance and time, how hard you want to train, the distance you’re training for, and it will plot out a 3-4 day a week training routine to get you to the finish line. I’ve used this planner for 6 years, and it’s my go-to schedule that hasn’t failed me yet. I won’t need to start that 16 week training calendar for my July 3 race until March 12. The weather will just be turning, running outdoors will be easy again, and I’ll have a strong base to get back to my marathon distance with ease.While much of my winter training will be done indoors (I live in Calgary after all), when the weather does present itself with a warmer day, I’ll get out on to the snow-cleared pathways of the city for a run.
While having a watch can help you with your distance, you can pre-plan your route by using a site like Map My Run. It will not only let you track the distance for a route you plan to pace, but it will also supply you with routes other users have uploaded, perhaps giving you a new place to train. With 9 months of road pounding ahead of me, I’ll need some fresh scenery.
That’s how I train for a marathon, and I’m so excited to #sweatforthis once again.
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