Monday, July 28, 2008

Time for Training

After I registered for the Philadelphia marathon, I spent some time looking for a training plan (honestly, I may have started looking for the training plan before registering. Really, though, the order in which these things happened is inconsequential) and, in a fit of delusional perception of my current fitness level, chose to use Hal Higdon's Intermediate I training plan. The plan is well-balanced with two twenty-mile runs toward the end of the program, five runs a week, and a fair amount of weekly miles (starting at around 24 for the first week). The problem is that I tend to go into denial about certain things and I like to believe that I can do things that I am not entirely prepared for. Such as (just in case you are not following me here) this training plan. I think the problem is that I chose something thinking that maybe if I shut my eyes real tight and forgot about reality, I could pretend that maybe I hadn't lost an enormous amount of fitness in the past few months. What can I say? It's hard to go from easily running 8-10 mile training runs to being exhausted by four or five. So I guess I kind of thought that if I chose a training plan that was appropriate for me about six months ago that I would be magically transformed back into that six-month-ago version of Emilie.

As the time to start the training program drew nearer and nearer, I kept looking at it and going over what it was asking me to do. I made a lot of progress endurance-wise in the past few weeks but the first long run distance of this Hal Higdon plan is 8 miles, which I have serious doubts that I can do at this point. The long run was supposed to take place this past weekend, but for screwy and frustrating reasons, it didn't happen. I don't know if I'm capable of running 8 miles, and this week I am supposed to run 9.

So I thought maybe I should shop around a little bit and consider a different program. Last year, I trained with one that I found in an issue of Runner's World magazine. This program is good, obviously--it got my through my first marathon and I enjoyed it the whole time. I never felt overwhelmed by it, but I always felt challenged. So I thought maybe I should go back to that program. But for some reason I am resistant to it. I wanted to try something different, but maybe I sort of shot myself in the foot by slacking off so much for such a long time. I don't even know exactly why I want a different plan. I've looked at Hal Higdon's novice training plans, but they don't really appeal to me and I can't even explain why. I feel sort of silly about this whole thing, because clearly I have this penchant for the Runner's World plan but I'm still second-guessing everything.

Does anyone else do this or am I just super neurotic (I mean, obviously don't answer that question by saying, 'You're neurotic!')? How do you choose a training plan? I'm interested in hearing about other people's experiences.


Rachel said...

I haven't chosen my marathon training plan yet...(am still using my half until that is done). I have gone through the same battle in my head though. Looked at all the plans you are looking at and I am battling between Hal's Intermediate I or the Runner's World Rookie. So you aren't completely neurotic. And I'm sure you'll figure out which one you want once you start to build some more miles back up.

Anonymous said...

You're neurotic!!! (Sorry, I had to :P)

I tend to be a mess with training plans. I usually search around until I find one that I like, and then, as always, something gets in the way and I have to skip some runs and reschedule the whole thing, which leaves me remaking the training program again... I see the training programs as a work in progress, as a guide so that I can know how I should be training, but not as something that I follow religiously, I like to change things sometimes and If maybe one Saturday I feel like doing speedworks instead of a long slow run, I just follow my instincts and go fast.

I don't know if it's the best way to train though, but at least it's fun

*jen* said...

I'm afraid I'm not going to be much help on this other than saying that I'm going through the same thing. I cannot seem to commit to a plan. It's ridiculous. I've researched and printed out at least 8 different plans but have never put them into action.

The extent of my planning has been to say "Ok, I'm going to run 4x this week and one of those runs will be a long run". And of course I plan on making the long run longer every week and am going to try to introduce some kind of speedwork into my repertoire, blah blah blah.

Just try not to be hard on yourself. Ok, so you lost some fitness. Find a comfy starting point and go for it. Since you had a higher level of fitness you know it's just a matter of time before you're back there.

Racn4acure said...

Can you get with a running club or a group of friends training together? Myself, I don't enjoy this enough to just be out there myself for those kinds of miles. That is why Team in Training is so good for me, among other reasons. You get that positive group reinforcement, coaching, your mates to train with, etc. Everytime I finish TNT I resolve to stay in marathon shape and EVERY SINGE TIME within a few months I could no more do a marathon than walk on the moon. So I applaud you. Good luck, Emilie! Don't hurt yourself trying to do too much too soon.

Could you contact your old TNT coach for some advice?

Queen Sarah said...

For my first marathon, I used the "Nonrunner's Marathon Trainer." This is probably the most modest amount of running of anything I've seen ~ the longest run is 18 miles. For subsequent marathons, I have done my own combination of this one and others. (Nowadays I'm running several marathons a year, and when they are so close together, I have to improvise. But if they are spaced 3 months apart, I do use a training plan). I wonder if it would help to write your own plan, based on a comparison of several? Can you identify what it is you don't like about the plan, and adapt it to suit your preferences? I have found that I feel a little more committed to plans when I've tweaked them to my own liking. I also set my own rules for when I have to skip a run ~ sometimes life happens and you have to allow for that. Good luck with your next marathon!