Before I get any farther in my training and blogging about it, I thought I’d give you a little bit more background on how I got from where I was on June 1st, 2011 to seriously considering a marathon.
As mentioned in the last post, June 1 was when I had my “to heck with feeling crappy” moment and started hiking the M trail somewhat regularly. It was really hard at first. I would have to stop and rest in the middle of some of the steeper legs of the trail, and at most of the switchbacks. But over time it got easier and I was able to stop less often. I nearly always stopped at the first switchback, though, to stretch. I found that I got a lot less sore that way, which made a big difference in my motivation levels. Eventually, the hike got easy enough that I started to run a couple of the legs (usually the 2nd and the 8th or 9th). At some point I started to copy some of the other hikers and turn around to run back up some of the legs on my way back down from the M.
The point is, I didn’t just keep doing what was easy. I wasn’t satisfied with just doing the same thing, and neither was my body. My body responded to being challenged. If I didn’t challenge it, it did not reward me with the endorphin boost. Now, don’t get the idea that I was “going hard” at these things. I wasn’t and I still don’t. I am a fairly lazy person and I’m still not what I would consider to be “in shape” at all. But I’m a lot closer than I’ve been since my early twenties. Even then I was thin but lazy so I still wasn’t very fit.
Right now, I’m far, far slower at my run/walk/run than I would like to be. But considering I just started on 11/30, I imagine I will speed up considerably in the next 182 days. I’m going to experiment a bit with my pace over the next week or two, and see what feels right. I don’t exactly have a time goal for the marathon. One of the presenters at the talk I mentioned, gave us the suggestion that a good goal for the newbies might be simply to finish before the food tent runs out of food. That’s a very reasonable goal, to my mind. My real goal is to finish and to have as much fun as I can along the way, both on the day of the marathon and during the training.
Most people who’ve done any training for something like this will already know the things I’m learning, but this blog is about being a newbie, so I’ll talk about some of that “obvious” stuff sometimes. For instance, one of the things I learned at Wednesday’s presentation was that the cornerstone of my training is my weekly “long run” which will usually be on Sunday for me. Right now, my longest “long run” has been the 4 miler I did last Sunday. I think I’m going to do this week’s long run today, and rather than try to go farther than 4 miles, I will try to go faster and see how I feel. I’m also going to play with my run/walk interval a bit and see how that feels.
While I’m looking forward to running with the group, starting on 1/22, I do value this time before class starts, and the opportunities I have to experiment with my pace and my run/walk intervals, without dealing with other people.
I’ve poked around a little bit at Jeff Galloway’s website and there seem to be lots of helpful suggestions and tools there. One suggestion I saw there was to always rest the day before your long run. Since I took yesterday off (not really on purpose, but I did), I think a long run today will be good for me and also help me out of the semi-depressed mood I am in.
That’s another thing that I find interesting. I’m getting used to the impact exercise has on my mood, and when I’m depressed, upset or grumpy, I get the urge to go exercise so I can feel better. That’s a really great way in which my body gives me some positive reinforcement, and it works. We’ve all heard about that phenomenon from the exercisers in our lives, but most non-exercisers don’t really take it to heart as a truth. I know I didn’t. But now I know from experience and really appreciate it a lot.
So, my next post should be less background-y and more about something new I’ve learned or how I’m doing currently.
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