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Marathon Notes – 9 days to go

October 8, 2009

I’m running my first marathon in 9 days along the shores of Lake Champlain in the Islands of Vermont. This is one of my favorite places in the world. I’ve considered running bigger marathons, but for one reason or another I was able to make excuses not to train for them. Then this one popped up. A month after my birthday, it just seemed right for my first time: mid-October in Vermont, waters of Champlain to my left on the first half, to my right on the second half, along dirt roads with farms and fields and not much else. Maybe a few people out there cheering us on. There are just over 200 people entered into the race at this point. It is small. It is my style. Plus my wife and kids were in support of me putting in the time to train.

Anyway, I’m pretty anxious about the race overall. I am an athlete and I’ve been running for many years, but usually only like 5 miles at a time. When I first toyed with thoughts about a marathon, my thinking was that I’d like to be able to train well and run it at my “normal” running pace (8 min/mile would be ideal). As of this afternoon I have run 313 miles in about 11 weeks and I’m pretty certain my pace will be much slower than I had hoped for…I’m not sure what I’ll run it at (which scares the hell out of me) but my thinking today is I will just run comfortable for as long as I can before either I get the guts to kick it up or I have to down-shift. All I can say is, we’ll see. It scares me because usually when I play a sport or do an activity, I know what I’m doing, I’m confident in my skills and I’ve done it before. This is different and I think my expectations are still too high and unrealistic for a first marathon. My longest run was 22 miles and I was hurting. 26.2 is a lot longer.

As for training, I couldn’t find a suitable 12-week marathon training plan anywhere online so I went ahead and I pieced together a few 16-week plans and created my own. Here is it. Days shaded are completed.  It has worked well for me (though I guess the final test is next Saturday). Feel free to use it for yourself if you find it helpful. The keys of course are long runs on the weekends and taking it pretty easy during the week. Like I said, I’ve been running for years so I have a base to go from. I never felt the need to add any junk miles into the plan.  

12 wk plan

(The potentially-cheesy inspirational quotes are all NIKE)

As I sit here with the feelings of a tight chest (beginning of a dreaded cold, perhaps), but feeling great after a leisurely 4-mile foliage-filled back road run in East Montpelier Center in my new Nike Air Pegasus shoes, I am feeling at ease. For now. Sipping warm lemon tea, listening to some Brett Dennen, and yes feeling at ease. Let’s talk again tomorrow.

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