Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Marathon Training Has Begun (Super Exciting Announcement Inluded!)

My first official week of Chicago Marathon training is complete, eeek!  I am super excited to get this training rolling and see where it takes me come October.  This will be my 6th marathon and 4th attempt at a Boston qualifying time (you can read more about my marathon journey in my previous post).  So yes, I am a little nervous and just hoping for a happy and healthy training cycle.  But since I have done a handful of marathons before, I am feeling more and more comfortable and confident going into my training.

The first week went well and I look forward to recapping my training each week.  But before I begin with recaps, I thought I would discuss a little more on my training and how I am preparing.   So here are some of the key factors I am focusing on for Chicago...

In the past, I would typically make just one goal for race day.  For my first marathon, it was just to finish.  For my second it was simply to finish faster than my first.  My third, was the first time I realized I could BQ and unfortunately for that particular marathon, my mentality was BQ or bust.  My fourth started off with that mentality of my third, but an injury caused me to just want to finish (and boy did that sure humble me).  By my fifth marathon, I had finally realized the importance of having a few goals for race day, because you just never know what that day will bring.  I was fortunate enough for my most recent marathon to accomplish my second goal for the day, but unfortunately it was not enough for a BQ.  So with all that being said, here are my goals for Chicago:
Goal A: BQ with a sub 3:30
Goal B: BQ with a sub 3:35
Goal C: PR with a sub 3:38
Goal D: Finish that b*tch if it kills me!
"If plan A doesn't work, don't worry, the alphabet has 25 more letters!" -Claire Cook

Game Plan
From my first marathon to this current one, and most likely everyone after that, I follow a training program pretty much to a T.  I like having a plan to follow, it keeps me motivated and accountable.  Though I have a great solid plan mapped out for me, it is not crazy strict.  There are my key runs, including speed work and long runs, with a little wiggle room on my other runs.  This way, for me marathon training doesn't become insanely stressful like it has in the past and feel like a full time job.  I have read several books on marathon training and have looked into many different programs from Galloway to Hansons.  I have followed a couple of different ones through the years and have since taken certain things from each to formulate my own program that works best with me abilities, goals, philosophies and of course available time.

"A goal without a plan is just a wish." -Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Speaking of available I said above, I never want marathon training to feel like a full time job.  I have one of those and I rather like it.  (Of course it would be pretty awesome if running were my job.)  I also have a family and somewhat of a social life that are very important to me too.  As much as I absolutely LOVE running and how badly I want to BQ, I have to keep a happy balance in my life with my goals and my other responsibilities and passions.  Yes, sacrifices have to be made when it comes to getting my training in.  But for me, it is very important to keep my priorities in order and have a good balance with my training and my life.

"Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony" -Thomas Merton

I like food, a lot.  For the most part, especially during the week days, I eat relatively clean.  Monday-Friday, most of my food is measured and fits into my macros.  When the weekend rolls around, I like to let my hair down a bit and enjoy the finer things in life, of course with in reason.  I made the mistake during my first marathon to think that since I was burning so many calories during my running, I could eat whatever I wanted.  Boy was I wrong and had the extra pounds to show for it!  Also, my poor diet negatively effected my training, performance and recovery.  Now I eat a much cleaner diet, even on my cheat days.  I now recognize that food is fuel.  Yes, I still do run to eat (and drink beer), but more importantly, I eat (clean) to run (better).  It's all about balance!

"Your body is a finely tuned vehicle, give it good fuel and it will take you places." -Unknown

With two small children and owning a gym, sleep has become a luxury in our household over the years.  It's amazing how much my husband and I can still function off of so little sleep.  It's like all those years with 6-8 hours of sleep was wasted time, lol!  Between work, family and training, it is tough to squeeze in an extra hour or two of sleep, but it is necessary for performance and recovery.  The night before a long run, I try to get to bed a little early to hopefully get an extra hour or so of sleep.  The morning after a long run, I try to sleep in, if my internal alarm clock and/or kiddos let me do so.  It's the best I can do but it's better than nothing.  I recognize the importance of sleep and try my best with it, but like I said, it is a luxury in our house!

"Sleep is the golden chain that ties our health and bodies together." -Thomas Dekker

No great things can be done alone.  Even though running is technically an individual event and not a team sport, it is so important to have a great support system of fellow runners.  In the past, I often trained alone.  The trail would get very lonely and there were times were I gave up rather easily out there.  More recently though, and especially now for this upcoming marathon, I have gathered my tribe.  We have similar paces and goals, and are there to push, encourage and motivate one another.  In fact, we are all training for the same event, so we can not only help each other through training but also come race day!

TEAM- Together Everyone Achieves More!

In the past, I have taken an all or nothing approach to training.  I was so focused on one goal and if it seemed like that wouldn't happen, I was be absolutely devastated.  Having experienced three "failed" attempts to BQ, I am much more aware that some times, despite our efforts, things just don't go our way.  I am much better equipped now to handle whatever may come race day.  But I also have more motivation and drive now than ever.  I want that BQ so bad.  I am laser focused, working hard and visualizing my success!

"Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference." -Winston Churchill

Sleep is that golden chain that ties health and our bodies together.
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Cross Training
I am passionate about all things fitness.  As much as I like running, I like biking, swimming, weight lifting and yoga too.  Finding time for it all can be a little tricky, but I feel as if I have settled into a pretty good routine with my running and cross training.  During my early years of running, I did little to no strength and conditioning.  Since then, I have learned the importance of weight, core and mobility training and have made them staples in my training program.  The implementation of a solid strength and conditioning program has taken my marathon time from 4:42 to 3:38 and hopefully a sub 3:30 for this next marathon!

"If you train hard, you'll not only be hard, you'll be hard to beat." -Herschel Walker

And Now for That Big Announcement...
As a performance coach and gym owner, strength and conditioning training is my livelihood and a huge passion of mine.  I have seen first hand how much strength training can change a runner's body and performance as well as aid in recovery and injury prevention.  That is why I am super excited to announce a new program I am currently working on designed specifically for runners, named RunStrong.  This coaching program will offer various services to runners of all levels, abilities and goals and provide the following benefits:
  • Increase strength
  • Improve body composition (decrease fat and increase lean muscle)
  • Improve overall conditioning
  • Increase flexibility
  • Enhance mobility
  • All of which will make runners more efficient, stronger and faster athletes!
More information to come soon, so stay tuned!  In the meantime, you can contact Coach Christina via email and be sure to follow her on Instagram to stay up to date with program announcements!

1 comment:

  1. Congrats on all of it!!
    I will be in Chicago on the sidelines cheering on friends and will look look look for you as well :-) let the training begin!