Marathon Training Begins!

Today marks the first day...of my first training program….for my first full marathon.

Before making the 26.2 commitment, I knew that training would be absolutely critical to the success and survival of my first full marathon. 

I’ll have busy days.

I’ll have bad days.

I’ll have long days.

I’ll have painful days.

I’ll have emotional days.

I’ll have dreadful days.

But I still have to run.

Surprisingly, today was one of “those days” – and the last thing on Earth I wanted to do was run.

Munching on snack food and going to bed early sounded PERFECT tonight.

But instead, I threw on my workout clothes and headed to the gym. My training program called for 3 miles. Pulling into the gym, I thought…”I’ll just do a mile. I’m too tired to do all 3, so I’ll just make up for it later in the week.”

I jumped on the treadmill, turned on Law and Order (as if I need another fear to add to my list) and quickly changed my mind.

“You’re doing all 3 of these miles even if you crawl on this damn treadmill,” I said to myself.

I closed my eyes, prayed for strength and just started running.

I was slow and steady.

And I took walking breaks.

But it’s what I needed to get through after “one of those days.”

A few times, I lost my mental strength and said, “Okay, you’ve done good enough. Just stop after the next quarter mile.”

But my body refused to listen to my mind.

I did 3.01 miles, just to prove I’m an overachiever.

If I can keep this attitude…

If I can continue to lift myself off the couch during the most challenging moments…

And if I can keep fighting when my body wants to stop…then I have no doubts my first full marathon will be an enjoyable experience.

And for those of you who are interested, click here to read my full marathon training program by Hal Higdon. What do I love most about this program? Everything.

Within the first few sentences, I am reminded:

“You can’t get to the finish line if you never make it to the start line.”

And he offers the below advice, which I LOVE:

Long Runs: The key to the program is the long run on weekends, which builds from 6 miles in Week 1 to 20 miles in the climactic Week 15.

Walking Breaks: Some grizzled veterans offended by the Jeff Galloway walkers grumble that the marathon was meant to be run, not walked. Don’t listen to them! Walking is a perfectly acceptable strategy in trying to finish a marathon. It works during training runs too. While some coaches recommend walking 1 minute out of every 10, or walking 30 seconds then running 30 seconds before walking again, I suggest that runners walk when they come to an aid station….Walking gives your body a chance to rest, and you’ll be able to continue running more comfortably.

It’s best to walk when you want to, not when your (fatigued) body forces you too.


Cross Training: The best cross-training exercises are swimming, cycling or even walking. What about sports such as tennis or basketball? Activities requiring sideways movements are not always a good choice. Particularly as the mileage builds up toward the end of the program, you raise your risk of injury if you choose to play a sport that requires sudden stopping and starting. One tip: You don’t have to cross-train the same each weekend. And you could even combine two or more exercises: walking and easy jogging or swimming and riding an exercise bike in a health club. Cross-training for an hour on Sunday will help you recover after your Saturday long runs.

Strength Training: A frequently asked question is: “Should I add strength training to my marathon program?” If you have to ask, you probably should not. I strongly endorse strength training for maximum fitness and long life, but if you never have pumped iron before, now is probably not the time to start.

Rest: Despite my listing it at the end, rest is an important component of this or any training program. Scientists will tell you that it is during the rest period (the 24 to 72 hours between hard bouts of exercise) that the muscles actually regenerate and get stronger. Coaches also will tell you that you can’t run hard unless you are well rested. And it is hard running (such as the long runs) that allows you to improve. If you’re constantly fatigued, you will fail to reach your potential. This is why I include two days of rest each week for novice runners.

So, as I tweeted earlier…I am accepting support, motivation, inspiration, and adorable text messages now until November 3 when I complete the Indianapolis Monumental Full Marathon. 

Even better, mark your calendars and come cheer me on! 🙂

Much love,
Ashley

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