I consider myself a relative newbie to marathon training. Though I have completed 3 marathons, I still have more questions than I have answers. One of the biggest things I have learned, however, is to listen to my body and allow time to recover - to rest!
When I first started preparing for a marathon in 2006, I used a training plan for beginners developed by the Furman Institute, commonly referred to as FIRST. It entailed just 3 days of running and 2-3 days of hard cross-training. The weekly mileage started out around 20 miles and worked up to about 35 before the taper.
I opted to go with aerobics for 2x a week for the cross-training component. My gym has a high-energy 70 minute class that incorporated steps and resistance. Most importantly, it was fun. I discovered though, shortly into training, that the bouncing and running was too much on my heel. I developed Plantar Fasciitis in my left heel and had to take several weeks off.
Upon the advice of a podiatrist, I started swimming. I joined the Masters swim team. The workouts are varied - preventing boredom and the group setting provides me needed encouragement. I picked up my training plan where I had left off, modifying distances of the long runs and the paces slightly.
Due to a fall during a trail race, an injury prevented me from running the esteemed 18-mile long run. I finished my first marathon, but was determined to do better. I had so many set backs that first training cycle that I knew if all went well, I could make dramatic improvement.
In 2007, I switched training plans - choosing one that required substantially more mileage. I finished my 2nd marathon and improved my rookie time by over 38 minutes! In 2008, I finished my 3rd... I had suffered from burn out during this cycle, frequently cutting my runs short and rarely hitting tempo pace, so I wanted only to finish. I was surprised that I improved again, though only by 2 minutes.
As the fall marathon season approaches, I am again training for 26.2. I desperately want to prove to myself that I can achieve my pace goals. I want to push myself harder. However, since the Dirty Half in early June, my hip has been nagging me to take it easy. Somedays I hardly notice the ache. Other days, my walking stride is altered and I take ibuprofen (something I rarely do).
Essentially, my body is telling me to be careful. Don't push too hard. Stretch. Take it easy. I do my best to listen.
OSN: 1850 meters
400m warm-up; 200m kicking w/ fins; 7 x 50m free drill w/ fins; 2 x 150m IM (no free; 25 drill 25 stroke); 3 x 100 m free; 100m IM; 100m free; 100m IM.