Tuesday, March 5, 2013

How I train (for marathons)

For most of my life, running marathons had no relation to me. Other people ran marathons. Fit people. People with six-pack abs and legs of steel, people with steely resolve, sharp jaws, no body fat, way more discipline than me. The guy down the street, when I was growing up,  must've been the only runner in town. Now I think I live in East Boulder, the hordes of people sweating and grunting up and down the streets of my town before dawn all year round.

That guy down the street used running to shed a bunch of weight, and of course he died young of an early heart attack...Crazy people. Pheidippides died after, or didn't he

In middle school, I knew one high school kid who ran Boston bandit and came back to show off his blisters. 

Blisters? I was surprised he hadn't died from the exertion. 

So years ago, I ran my first 5k, then 10k. Then half. Then I bicycled from Boston to New York. Then I ran a marathon - a slow marathon, then another and eventually a third. 

So I've been asked how I train, both in general and in preparation for the marathon.

  • Bike commuting about 17 miles a day: cardio, low-impact cardio. Getting into town is easy. Getting home is up damn hill and almost always into a headwind.
  • Once a week I play pickup soccer with a bunch of tolerant, talented soccer players.
  • In summer, once a week I swim a mile out and back at Walden with another group of hard cases. 
  • Once a week CoonDogg Fitness. "Quality over Quantity." See below. Sign up at Arlington Community Education. I swear I dropped 20 minutes from my marathon PR and ten from my half just by going to boot camp. I've never been the group fitness sort, but Matt (mcooney15@yahoo.com) has a ton of energy, and the hour flies. Planks. Burpees. Squats. Cardio. 
  • And finally, the running. For a few years, I was running 40 mile weeks rain, snow, shine. In marathon season, I'm following Hal Higdon's Intermediate 2/Advanced 1 in some combination. Out of season, I'm running north of 25 miles a week, with a 10 mile long every couple weeks, and running 4-5 days a week unless I am biking too much. 

And that's how it's done...

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