Pre-marathon training freak out post

I haven’t trained for a new distance since 2018 and even though I previously wrote a post entitled ‘why I’ll probably never run a marathon,’ I’m doing it! So whoever had age 38 in the family pool your odds are looking pretty good right about now. Of course anything can happen between now and October, that’s part of the process but I’m pretty excited. Also a little anxious and super nervous. I have been venting these constant thoughts to husband but ya’ll just get it a little more right? With that in mind here are the big things running through my mind at the moment.

Pre-training injury

I was ticking along nicely getting a couple of runs in every week including some longer weekend runs but… Then I was gardening one day, not doing anything weird or heavy, just bending down shaking out turf and is stood up to a shooting pain in my non-injury prone right knee. By the end of the day I was limping and was for more than a week after. I took 4 days off from work and it was so swollen that my jeans were puffing out. Trust me your girl doesn’t wear tight jeans to work either. The swelling calmed down in about 10 days and I definitely have a baker’s cyst that wasn’t there before. I was just feeling like a return to running was possible and then I picked up a very heavy piece of old wood and really set it off again for a couple more weeks.

I have diagnosed myself on google so take this with a grain of salt but… The baker’s cyst is pretty much a given as it’s really specifically weird looking and I looked like that exactly. The most common reasons to have one is arthritis or a meniscus tear. Given my age and that it came on all at once I’m going with the second option. So I decided to forgo running in favor of working for the time being. This last week (maybe two) I’ve felt good enough to run again so fingers crossed. PS all the times I joked that if my other knee hurt it would be a refreshing change it turns out that was incorrect.

No running build up

As much as I wish I could be a ‘fitness wife’ or train for a living, alas we are not there yet! That means a girl’s gotta work, like every single week! How crappy is that? Joking, but I know that in the heavier weeks of training I’ll be working less. I usually do work at least 6 if not 7 days a week this time of year if the weather allows. After a few years with halfs I now know that at some point I’ll have to take a few hours off each week when the time comes to train. 

So I’ve tried to front end load the hustle into this season and put some cash in the bank early because I know that being behind on work leads to more stress which leads to $hitty feelings. I’ve tried to take some steps to avoid that. I hired a helper and I’ve been training her so that I can step away a bit later if I need to. I didn’t take a contract with a previously difficult customer this year since I won’t have the headspace for that at some point soon and I’ve gotten ‘enough’ new people to keep me going through most of the season. Actually at this moment I’m feeling overwhelmed a bit. But… everyone I’m working for is really understanding and chill this year. When I told one of my favorite customers that I was doing virtual Boston his immediate reaction was “Tell me what we can do to support you in this?” How sweet is that!

Which is a bunch of fancy excuses to say I haven’t built the base I should have. Yes, even though I know better. But… we’re here now and it is what it is. Some of that went into the plan I chose and how I’ve decided to modify it slightly. I went for a longer plan with a slower build up for that reason. It’s a freely available novice marathon plan which you can check out here!

Did I pick the right plan?

The perennial question right? I’m at the point in my running journey at this point where I know the right marathon plan isn’t just double the half plan I usually use. I did research a lot on the different popular plans available for beginners and the one I chose is really close to that. In half training I’m used to running 5 days a week but I noticed the vast majority of plans call for only 4 runs a week. Since I’m little busier than I have been in the past that jives with me but I also sort of freaks me out. This is basically the plan I’m using with just some minor modifications in case you’re interested.

Like many first time marathoners I’m a little obsessed with that 10k race day training gap. The plan I picked is available here *thank you! But I plan on tweaking it just a little. I’d like to do one extra 20 mile run so I’ll play just a bit with some of my long runs to get the 18 miler before up to 20. Other than that I’ll be sticking to it except I’ll be converting all those miles to km!

Weirdly I think can fit it all in…

As much as 4 runs a week makes me uneasy it does make it easier to fit it all in. PS I plan on counting my physical work as cross training unless I also want to do something else. My mid week runs top out at 8 miles which means that it’s not until week 12 that I will need to take some time in the day to do that. Then it will only be every second week. As for long runs well those were always going to be a thing. I should still be able to work 6 days a week and spend an afternoon on the boat IF I get up early to get my long runs in on the weekend. But failing that (and factoring in weather) it will probably still be at least 5, maybe 4.5 days of work. Stay tuned for training updates to see how this delusion works out.

32 km runs looming

I’m not alone here but thinking about those 20 mile runs and the 10k race day gap is already on my mind. That mental barrier has often said to be the hardest part of the marathon. Well for mortal runners anyway. However I do remember that at the end of my 24 km runs for half training that 32 km was starting to look sorta doable. Aren’t I just full of optimism today.

Conqueror challenge

There becomes a point in training that you’re milage committed with the preparation you’ve already put in. But… you’re also sort of over it. As an extra step in motivation I plan on signing up for one of those milage challenges where I’ll pretty much meet the distance in training anyway. I’m thinking it will be the camino de Santiago challenge because it’s just a bit more than what I’ll cover in training. It’s pretty sweet in that you get a super sweet medal but also you get an interactive map of how far you’ve come. As you progress through training you get a distance based interactive map of how far you’ve already come toward your overall goal. And… they plant 4 trees as you progress. Yes, it’s a silly dorky thing but I’m pretty stocked about it! It’s also not terribly expensive at $50 cdn for a lot of built in motivation.

Time to spend some dough

The year was 2019 when I last did a substantial amount of summer running and upon getting my gear out again it is in fact lacking. Most of my sports bras have stretched previously and ben sewn tighter so they’re on borrowed time. Plus the elastic doesn’t age well. I could use a few more tanks as those are also sewn up to get a few more miles out of them. My headphones are starting to glitch so I ordered these ones on Amazon after a few hours of research. I wanted a pair of AirPods Pro but the on board battery was lacking (I’m slow) so I went for a highly rated more cost effective pair and will likely switch over in a generation or two. Then sneakers… I was gifted a substantial sports check gift card Christmas before last with lots left on it which will cover all my marathon sneakers, thanks honey! I have a new pair of kicks now for long runs and a pair with about 250 km on them for other runs. With about 750 km left to go I’ll need a fresh pair at least on race day. I like to have another pair in the mix too so two pairs to order before now and then. Or most of one pair with carbon plates…

So that’s some (most?) of what I’m freaking out about now but it does feel great to be training again! You can follow my progress on here and on instagram. I’m just about finished week two of training now and this week was a lot easier than last week so things are looking up! Are you training for a marathon this year? What are you freaking out about? Any advice for a first timer? Leave it in the comments below!

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