I know, I know. We haven’t posted much about the actual training program we’re on. Michael found a training program online that includes four days of running per week, and one day of cross training.  What we use is similar to this program.

The mileage varies week by week, but every Tuesday and Thursday, we do a 4-5 mile run depending on how much time we have. Each Wednesday is a slightly longer run—usually around 7 or 8 miles.  (Once we get to week 15, it ramps up to 10 miles—then tapers back down until marathon week.)  Saturdays are for long runs. The mileage zigzags between 5 to 10 to 12 to 15—finally up to 20 miles at week 15, then tapers by marathon week. 

Unlike the training programs for intermediate and professional runners, we do each run at our comfortable base pace. What we’ve learned over the years of training on the same program is as follows:

  • The training program works, so we follow it to the best of our ability.
  • If we miss a training run, we do our best to make it up during our off days by juggling around the training runs.
  • It’s most important not to miss the long runs.

We signed up for the marathon part way through what would’ve been week two of training — so we were a little late. However, we were both in good running shape and hadn’t missed any runs longer than 5-6 miles. So, we jumped into this late. Other than starting a bit late, both Michael and I have followed the training program religiously. Two weeks ago, it was week 5 of our 18 week training program — and I hit a little roadblock.

It was Wednesday. I had worked a freelance interpreting assignment. When I got home, I flung myself onto the couch and realized how fried I was. My head felt “foggy,” but it’s not terribly uncommon to feel mentally exhausted after a day’s work interpreting. I had a busy schedule, but was able to orchestrate the evening with enough time to take an afternoon run at the gym before a meeting later that night. Soon after arriving home, my head began throbbing. I went upstairs with Anabel to change into workout clothes and my headache and mental fogginess increased. I had the thought, “Am I in a state where I can responsibly take care of a child?”  I fed the dog, took Anabel in the Ergo Baby and went out to walk the dog. When I got home, the pain in my head was excruciating. I took two ibuprofen, and tried to wait patiently for the medicine to kick in. Soon, it was clear that this was not just a headache, but a migraine — one of three I’ve had ever. When Michael got home, I hadn’t moved from my position seated on the floor in front of the loveseat, with the Ergo Baby still draped over my lap. Anabel was happily entertaining herself with her toys on the living room floor. 

So, I skipped a run, but it was for good reason. It’s never worthwhile to push through a run when you’re under the weather (in my opinion.) Do I run when I’ve got a head cold? Yes. Other than that, I’m the first to cry uncle and not feel guilty about it. The next day, I got out there and did the next run on the schedule. I didn’t make up the run I missed. I figured, let bygones be bygones.  Besides, this was only week 5 of the training program. That Saturday we did the 10 mile run on treadmills.  It wasn’t fun running indoors, but it went well. When I run on the treadmill, I alternate between running and walking, taking breaks to drink water. I did the run in two five-mile chunks interrupted by a bathroom break. I walked for three minutes, ran until 15 minutes, and then walked three minutes, and so on — taking breaks on the 15 minute mark. It took about two hours.  Again, I didn’t push my pace, just pounded out the miles.

This week we celebrated our birthdays (mine and Anabel’s). Yes, we share the same birthday! On Monday, Michael and I took the day off of work and we had a family day. That night, I ate what would soon become known as some “suspicious Chipotle.”  When we went to bed, I was nauseated, but I figured it was because I overate. By the early hours the next morning, it became clear that I was either suffering from a stomach flu bug or the effects of food poisoning. Because it lasted only 24 hours, we suspect the latter. I’ve missed two training runs this week, and while I wish it weren’t the case, I’m not too concerned with the training program. It’s week 7 now, and this Saturday we will be logging 12 miles.  I haven’t missed a long run, and in the coming weeks we’ll be amping up our Wednesday and Saturday runs. While it’s unfortunate that I got sick this week, it’s much better that it happened now rather than later on in the training. 

On Wednesday as I hemmed and hawed about whether to do the 7 mile run, I consulted Google. I found four blogs, all written by women, suggesting that rest and rehydration were the best medicine.  One of the bloggers had food poisoning during the week leading up to her marathon. Egads! 

Aside from the couple of health related hiccups, the training is going well. The extra cardio has done wonders for my metabolism, and I’m back to pre-pregnancy weight (of course, the illness likely played a part).  Nevertheless, I’m insatiably hungry all the time. So, if you see me out and about, I will most likely be snacking on something. And if I’m not, please offer me a sandwich! 

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Running in the cold: Are you in or are you out?

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Rands on the Run: Favorite marathon training routes