Training for the Marathon: Best laid plans...

Training for the Marathon: Best laid plans...
March 5, 2014, 11:15 am
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Comcast SportsNet's Trenni Kusnierek is preparing to run this April's Boston Marathon. Over the next few months, she'll provide updates on her training . . . both physical and mental. This is the third of her reports.

"The best laid plans of mice and men often go astray.”

I don’t remember much from my high school literature class, but for some reason that quote has always stuck with me. When it comes to training for a marathon while also working fifteen hour days at the Olympics in Russia, it seems fitting.

I went to Russia with the best of intentions. I vowed that no matter how early I had to be at “the cube” or how late I climbed into bed, I would still run at least five times a week for a minimum of thirty minutes. Like I said, the best laid plans . . .

Training in Sochi proved to be a tougher task than I first expected. The hotel did have a gym, but it didn’t open until six in the morning and I often had to be out the door to work by 6:45. Normally this means I would just run outside, but the sun doesn’t rise in Sochi until nearly 8:30 and in all reality it would not have been safe for me to run alone in the dark. So instead of running, I grabbed a few extra minutes of sleep when I could.

I still managed to get in three runs a week the final two weeks at the Olympics, including a 90 minute session with Summer Sanders and another woman I met named Ali. Just like in the states, running proved to be a great way to get to know my new colleagues better. Despite having to go back and forth on a boardwalk just outside our hotel grounds, the time flew by thanks to easy conversations with Summer and Ali. Conversation is the reason I like to ask friends to join me for a jog. In this day and age of constant communication via text, email and social media, running allows people to really connect. You can’t check your phone and run at the same time, so you are forced to, *gasp*, talk with someone.

While I did manage to get in a decent amount of runs while overseas, I still felt behind and a little overwhelmed upon returning to Boston. Thankfully, my coach decided to see the glass as half full and suggested that maybe the down time would be beneficial and might allow me to peak come April 21st. I have no idea if Jen is telling the truth or trying to make me feel better, but it worked.

My first week back, at the recommendation of Jen, I focused on getting my body clock readjusted to east coast time and easing back in to my training. I slowly upped the number of minutes (not miles) over the course of the week, beginning with a simple 30 minute run on Monday and ending with a two and a half hour run on Saturday. I would highly recommend this plan of attack for anyone coming off a minor injury or illness. As a prototypical Type-A personality, I often try to bull rush right back into things, but I’ve learned the hard way that’s not always the best approach.

I have now been back for eleven days and I’ve returned to my original training plan. The mileage is steadily increasing and the work load can be daunting. My average week is now in the 50-60 mile range until I begin to taper and my runs are hard and long. For example, this week (March 3-9) I run six times with my lowest mileage at six and my long run at 20 miles. I also have two intense speed sessions that include a nine mile run with 6x800 at 3:25-3:30 (a 6:50-7 minute mile pace) and a ten mile run with eight miles at marathon pace. (My goal will be to run those eight miles between 7:45-7:55.)

Despite the intensity, I’m still behind in my training. Saturday will be my first 20 mile run, but it is supposed to be my third. It is also scheduled as a 22 mile run, but I thought best to hold back and stick to 20. Yes, I realize how ridiculous that probably sounds, but trust me, two miles makes a big difference! Plus, I keep reminding myself there are 40-plus days to the race. It is after all a marathon, not a sprint.