Marathon Training Begins, Social Life Ends

Well, we’re back from our trip to New Hampshire/Massachusetts.  Oh, how I will miss seeing Red Sox logos every frickin’ place I look.  The wedding was really nice, and I was right on with my veggie-pasta premonition.  Here’s a quick shot of it, and one of me and Erin all dolled up.  Imagine how good it would be if my mug weren’t in it!



We were seriously missing our smoothie after a weekend of on-the-road eating, so today we had a big one with banana, frozen cherries, and Amazing Grass SuperFood powder.  I’ve been really happy with the Amazing Grass powder; it doesn’t affect the taste of the smoothie at all.  Come to think of it, I should have brought a few of the packets on the road with me, but then I’d have had to mix them with water, and I just don’t know if I’m ready to take my relationship with Amazing Grass to that level.

Marathon Training Starts This Week!

Yesterday marked exactly 16 weeks until the Wineglass Marathon, where I’ll be making another run at the goal I’ve been chasing for seven years, qualifying for Boston.  Which means my official training starts tomorrow.  I explained my tentative training schedule a while back in How I Plan to Qualify for the Boston Marathon, but now I have a much clearer picture of what I need to do to get across that line in 3 hours and 10 minutes.

matt-runningI have mixed feelings about my chances to actually do it this time.  On one hand, I feel extremely confident because my new vegetarian diet (and resultant weight loss) has allowed me to run faster than I ever have before, even with limited training due to a knee injury early this year.  My recent race times of 19:16 for a 5k and 1:34:27 for a very hilly half marathon are indicative of the fitness level associated with a 3:05 to 3:10 marathon.

But even though a 19 to 20 minute 5k is what you’d expect from a 3:10-marathoner, it’s not even close to a guarantee of a 3:10 marathon.  To run the marathon without breaking down after 15 or 20 miles requires intense training and a significant mileage buildup, and preventing injury during such training is perhaps more difficult than the exercise itself.  And that’s where I’m not so confident.  Although my knee seems to be healed and hasn’t affected any of my runs in a long time, the substantial rest the knee has required has prevented me from building up the mileage base that I had hoped to have at this stage.  I’ve managed 10-20 miles per week for the past few months; the mileage required by my training program will eclipse this amount in the first week.

The Training Program to Get Me To Boston

The training program I’ll be using is a hybrid of the programs in Runner’s World Run Less, Run Faster and Core Performance Endurance.  Here’s my plan for a typical week:

  • 3 workout runs– 1 track workout, 1 tempo run, 1 long run.
  • The track workout consists of short (quarter-mile to mile), fast intervals at prescribed paces.
  • The tempo  consists of 20-45 minutes of running at a relatively uncomfortable specified pace.
  • The long run consists of 13-20 miles at a pace which gradually increases so that at the peak of the program, I’ll be running 20 miles at the pace required to qualify.
  • 3 Core Performance strength and core workouts, done on the same days as running workouts.  These are a series of dynamic plyometric exercises designed to improve running form and prevent injury.
  • 3 between-workout days, when I’ll do either easy runs or cross-training (swimming or biking), depending on how I’m feeling.
  • 1 rest day.
  • 1 day of weightlifting, if I can fit it in and not feel overworked on between-workout days.  It will consist of front squats, deadlifts, quad and hamstring extensions, and light upper body lifts.

So that’s my plan.  Certainly there will be plenty of modifications along the way as I figure out what works and what doesn’t.  The absolute must for me is avoiding injury, since I feel that my conditioning level is already fairly close to what’s required.  But an injury that sidelines me for two or three weeks is all that’s needed to derail the whole thing, along with another season of my Boston dreams.

And the Chobani Winner Is…

Dea, whose perfect Chobani snack is a roasted onion dip made with plain Chobani, fresh thyme, black pepper, and sea salt!  And how did I pick Dea?  Very complicated.  I said, “If I could eat any of these Chobani treats right now, which would it be?”  And since I’d already had a smoothie, I was in the mood for something savory.  Of course there were lots of other great ideas, like peach Chobani with blueberry jam from LisaM, sweet potato fries with honey chobani dip from Christine, and of course a shameless attempt to appeal to my mathematical side by Alison from Mama’s Weeds.  Thanks to everyone who entered; more giveaways are in the works!



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  1. Shameless indeed! 😉

    I’m in Western NY, Corning is only a few hours from me. I ran the Rochester marathon last year. Your training plan for a BQ sound solid!

    Alison’s last blog post..Monday Mess

    • Neat, I’ve heard the area and the course are beautiful (Wineglass, I don’t know anything about Rochester). But I probably won’t even notice… when I ran Disney I kept forgetting to look up and see the parks and characters and stuff! My wife has wanted to do it for a long time, so she’s looking forward to it as well, and she’s definitely more aware of her surroundings when she runs.

  2. I think your plan to run your 20-milers at race pace is VERY smart. My long traing runs for Boston were a lot slower (and included more pit stops) than my marathon race pace and this caused quite a shock to the system around mile 17 of the marathon. I think it’s important to remember that the body is going to respond differently to water/gatorade/gels while running 7 minute pace than it will at easy run pace. If you can simulate race conditions for a 20 mile run I think you’ll be very well prepared for the actual marathon. Good luck!

    Megan (The Runner’s Kitchen)’s last blog post..Mighty Montauk Triathlon 2009

    • Good point, I didn’t even think about responding differently to gels and gatorade wile running at a different pace from what I’m used to. I think it’s a good idea for the more obvious reason… if you want to run a marathon at a 7:15 pace, you should train for one at that pace. Of course, the reason most programs don’t do this is because it increases the risk for injury the more you do it, so I’ll have to be careful with that part.

  3. That pasta looks great! As do the two of you!

    I know nothing about marathon training, so I’ll just wish you luck!

    Hanlie’s last blog post..What’s new, Pussycat?

  4. That’s a super solid training plan. Our running coach uses the interval workouts from the Run Less, Run Faster book and sets our pace with it. I really need to pick me up a copy to read.

    I’ll have to look at the Amazing Grass stuff. I’m a big V8 person myself and usually try and make up my veggie servings through a big glass.

    I had to LOL at your post total. So true….so true.

    Wishing you the BEST OF LUCK!!!

    Jennifer Z’s last blog post..Weekend-ish recap

    • Thanks for commenting Jennifer. I really like Run Less, Run Faster, but it is what I was using when I got injured. It’s more intense than anything I’ve done before, so I’ll have to be careful. V8 is probably just as good or better than greens powder, although I don’t know, does it have a lot of greens in it?

    • Jen, I just checked out your blog. I love it and I’m adding it to my blogroll! Help me out here, I can’t figure out of if you are a high-school runner, coach, or what.

  5. Thats so awesome! My brother ran the Boston Marathon this past year, and I definitely have major respect for all the time and training that goes into running a marathon. Best of luck and HAVE FUN! 😀

    Sarah (Running to Slow Things Down)’s last blog post..Give me food, and nobody gets hurt…;)

  6. Looks like a great running routine, I am jealous. I am not able to run as much as I use to, bad hip. But on a side note, I made your tostados last night and extras for lunch today for work…YUMMMMM!!!! Thanks for doing this blog, this is a good read when I wake up in the morning while drinking the coffee. Yeah, still on the coffee, not ready to get off it yet. Hopefully one day 🙂

    • Thanks Dawn, I’m glad you like my blog with your coffee! The stuff I read when I drink coffee is always my favorite, so I’m honored 🙂 I’m really looking forward to being able to drink coffee again once this 30 day challenge is over; I realize that’s it not something I want to give up forever. I just don’t want to drink it daily, because at that point it goes from being a good thing in my life to a bad thing with the anxiety I get from it.

      I’m glad you liked the tostadas, I was happy with those too.

  7. Wish I had a running routine like yours. I have left it so long I don’t know where to start!

  8. Hey, thanks for stopping by my blog.

    RYC: The socks can be worn during and after runs. I have yet to try them during a run, but know many people who do this. I think they would be beneficial even if you don’t have any lower legg issues (I don’t myself) for improving overall circulation/recovery.

    Sounds like you have a great plan in place – good luck with your training!

  9. Sounds like you know what you need to do to BQ! Stay confident and work hard. You can do it.
    .-= diana´s last blog ..Komen Race for the Cure =-.

  10. Thanks for popping by my blog and for your heartening advice! I’m so glad, as it’s brought me to your blog, which is GREAT! I’m a lapsed vegetarian/vegan (long and boring story, but I’m probably about due for a few months of veggo eating!) and still have a passion for terrific veg food. Can’t wait to check out your recipes and read about your progress after changing to a veg diet.

    Great to meet you!

  11. I just found your blog and I like it! I’m at the start of a training cycle after a loooong bout of injury, and I face the same frustration of pretty much knowing, in theory, what I need to do to get me where I need to be, but on the other hand, worry that stupid knee stuff will get in my way. Your plan looks solid, though, geez! You men sure have to run fast to BQ.

  12. I think we will be running separate marathons on the same day! Woowoo!

    I think your plan sounds fantastic. I might pick up a couple tips as well…crossing my fingers for a Boston qualifying time for ya!
    .-= Holly (The Healthy Everythingtarian)´s last blog ..Marathon Training & Helping Heartlinks =-.

  13. I am in awe of anyone who is able to qualify for Boston, what a great goal!
    .-= Julie´s last blog ..Food, Inc.: When food stinks =-.

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