I've spent the last couple of weeks researching various training programs. I'm running the Chicago Marathon on October 11th, which means my "go" date for summer training is June 21st... right around the corner.
After reading and discussing the matter with several knowledgeable running friends, I've decided to put my fate in the hands of the Furman marathon training program. My friend Thad, known in the blogging sphere as Runnerdude, posted a recent entry about the program.
The appeal of the program is that you only run 3 days a week. The flip side of that is these are focused (read: hard) runs. No casual chit-chatting with fellow runners on this program. The first run is intervals on the track and the pacing charts are brutal. The second run is a tempo run, usually run at 70-80% effort. The final run is the long run but unlike most programs that encourage you to do LSR's (long slow runs), this program keeps you moving at almost race pace. And the mileage is insane. Week one kicks off with a 13-miler and I think we do our first 20 miler by week 4. Most programs spend all summer building up to the 20 miler.
The other part of this program is cross-training two days/week. Unfortunately, yoga and weights don't count as cross-training. On Monday, I'm calling Play It Again Sports about getting the monster weight machine out of our exercise room and buying either a used stationary bike or elliptical machine. I'm also working out 2x/week with my trainer, Ben Roberts. I LOVE the personal training. I leave with my knees and arms shaking from exhaustion and yet I feel strong.
Being honest, I'm not sure I'm tough enough to hang with this program. But I've bonked on my last two marathons so I feel like I need to something to shake up my training to a new level. I'm also concerned about being able to stay true to this program and rejoin my running group. I'll be on a different schedule than the group which may not work to anyone's advantage. But I've run with this group for over 2 years now and I can't imagine not reconnecting with everyone this summer. The bonding over group runs is my favorite part of running. However, Thad and I are tossing around the idea of finding Greensboro runners following the Furman plan and maybe forming a little off-shoot group? Plus, my running pal Marshall who I trained for this last marathon with is using Furman and we'll do most if not all of our long runs together.
So we'll see. Right now, I need to focus on training for the training program. I'm not kidding. I'm nowhere near the times I need to be running just to hang with the training program for a 3:45 marathon. I think I'm going to have a quick reality check and realize I can only train at the 4-hour marathon mark and even that is going to test me.
One other thing I need to work on is reclaiming my enthusiasm. This last marathon shook my confidence more than I realized. I feel more fear than excitement about this summer's training. That's a problem. If I'm already making mental excuses on why I can't do this or complete that, I've lost before I've even begun. I think rejoining my running friends and getting in a few good runs will help. With traveling and recovering from traveling, I've kind of been out on my own for a couple of weeks.
Here's one thing that could cheer me up. Know anyone who wants to buy a home gym?