A few weeks ago, in my post – Work Smarter, Not Harder – I explained why and how I was changing my training to prepare for the Copenhagen Marathon this May.
I decided that it was time to change things up a little bit to be more solely focused on qualifying for the Boston Marathon.
In the hopes of achieving this goal, I started a new marathon training plan – my first ever – at the beginning of February.
So, here’s how it’s going so far:
Weeks 1 – 3: Strong and Consistent Start
With the excitement of kicking off the new plan, I started everything about as well as I could have hoped. I was hitting all of the goal mileage and paces on each of my runs.
Easy runs were easy. Recovery runs were easier.
As for the speedwork and hill repeats, which were both completely new to me…
There was one speed workout in each of the first two weeks. And one hill repeat session in the 3rd week. All three of these workouts were great. I was completely focused on the targets of each workout and, for the most part, I executed each of the workouts perfectly. I found myself looking forward to these workouts because they presented an opportunity to see how I was feeling and progressing.
Then, at the end of Week 3, came my first bad day of the training plan. Each of the first three weeks had long runs (12 miles, 14 miles, 16 miles) scheduled for the Saturday. These long runs in the first two weeks went great. Almost to the point where I thought maybe I could have picked up the pace some more.
Well, the 16-mile long run at the end of Week 3 came around to remind me that not everything was going to be easy during this plan. Almost right away, my stomach felt very unsettled and my legs felt heavy. I tried to run it off and get through a few miles and hopefully settle into a comfortable pace.
That never happened.
I went home after 7 miles for a pit stop and a refuel. After a short break, I went back out to see if I could make up the rest of the miles. Initially, I was feeling better, but after a couple miles the heavy legs and unsettled stomach returned. Even though I ended up with 13 miles total for the day, I was not happy with how I got them.
I knew that these days would come at some point during this training cycle, but I was still frustrated that the first one would came this soon in the plan and in this way.
I had to try to put that behind me as quickly as possible and continue to move forward.
Overall, through three weeks, I should have been feeling really good all things considered but this failed long run left a bad taste in my mouth going into a new week. Add that to a still-unsettled stomach for a few days and that’s not a winning formula.
Week 4: Some Good, Some Bad
Still not feeling 100% physically and mentally after the failed long run, Week 4 was about to begin whether I was ready of not.
Feeling sluggish and a little out of it, I managed about 6 miles of a planned 8 mile recovery run on Monday. Then, much to my delight, Tuesday and Wednesday felt great. Especially my workout on Wednesday, which included 4 miles at tempo pace. It felt like maybe I was turning a corner and headed in the right direction again.
Heading into the end of the week, I was hoping for a few more good workouts to be completely back on track as my next long run came up on the Saturday. Unfortunately, those feelings proved to be short-lived as my heavy legs and unsettled stomach returned just in time for the planned 14-mile run with 8 steady-paced miles.
The only thing different this week was that I felt this way before I even walked out the door to start my run. After two disappointing miles, I decided that maybe it was best to take the rest of the day off and try to recuperate my mind and body. I know that there are several other long runs and important workouts on the training plan and, in this case, I just felt that there wouldn’t be much (if any) benefit to continuing on.
So, with mostly good things happening through my first 4 weeks of the training plan, I am still a little bit discouraged with how the last 2 planned long runs have gone. But other than that, I’m happy with the progress I’m making and feel confident that if I stick to the plan I will reach my goal of qualifying for the Boston Marathon in Copenhagen.
In a few weeks, I will check back in with another update on my training. These next weeks will be crucial to my preparation for Copenhagen and, hopefully, when it comes time for the next update, I will still be on the right track!
More From RunPatRun:
- Coming Soon: As part of my preparation for the Copenhagen Marathon, I will be racing in half marathon at the end of March and probably another one at the beginning of May. Once I confirm those, I will have a post about my feelings leading up to the races and also a race report afterwards!