Sunday, August 24, 2008

The problem with the plan

So I've mentioned that I was planning on running a marathon this October. And I finally signed up for the Cape Cod Marathon on the 26th, just to make sure I actually had a race to run in. drive a stake in the ground. Training was actually going pretty well through early June, even though I had blown off a half-marathon in May that I was going to use as training. It was all cool.

And then I got sick. Probably the worst I've felt in years.

And so I've been carefully trying to get myself back into game shape, or race shape, I should say. This week felt like a major accomplishment -- morning runs 5 out of the last 6 days, a long run over 11 miles (the first long run in double digits since before I was sick) and over 33 miles total for the week. It actually felt like a real training week for the first time in ages. And I didn't feel like total crap after any of the runs.

So that's good -- I finally feel like I'm ready to get myself back onto a real training plan.

And so I've taken a look through one of my books, gone back to a few of the websites I was looking at before I started this whole business.

And it looks like I'm well and truly screwed.

I'm just under 9 weeks away from the race, and most training plans I've looked at had me running 20 mile runs by now, if not 3-4 weeks ago. I know I'm not qualifying for Boston, but I'd still like to actually *run* a marathon, not just finish it. So at the moment I'm struggling with whether I just stick with the gradual mileage ramp-up and peak at whatever I peak at 2-3 weeks before the race, or try to ramp more quickly to get the miles in but keep the tempos down and be more careful about giving myself enough rest between runs. I'm not convinced either approach is necessarily going to be a good idea.

It feels like things always seem to be more difficult than planned*. I figured that this marathon training thing should have been straightforward, if not easy. I knew it was going to be work, but it wasn't supposed to get so... complicated. It keeps making me wonder whether SOMEBODY out there is trying to tell me to just cut it out and sit my ass down.


* I know that at heart, I AM kind of idealistic, but I'm not supposed to be that positive, optimistic guy. I'm supposed to be pragmatic. Realistic. Pessimistic. Plan conservatively. Maybe I've changed. Or maybe it's just overconfidence when it comes to physical activities. Like when people heckle pro athletes or watch action movies and think that they could be all heroic and shit.

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