I feel like I'm preparing for battle. The marathon and I will be facing off in a mere six months. The official training starts on June 20th. That gives me until then to do what I can to prepare.
My goal: to start my training feeling strong and healthy with no lingering injuries. I've learned from experience that I will be struggling to get through the end of the training because my shins, calves and feet will be pushed beyond their limit. Hopefully, with some pre-training preparation, I can keep the injury monsters at bay.
First off, thanks to the Boston Expo, I have two shiny new pairs of running shoes. Normally I can only afford to buy one at a time. I wear them for all of my runs until they are completely dead and then I buy another pair. This time around, I'm going to be alternating between two pairs. As my marathon friends tell me, that gives the shoes a chance to bounce back after each run before I use them again. So I've cleverly numbered them 1 and 2 and I will be switching between them all season.
I'm also starting to get my feet and calves used to my Vibrams. The goal is to be able to do my two weekly 5k runs in them to help strengthen my feet and calves. I'm treating them like just another type of training. Hills build endurance, intervals build speed and Vibrams (I hope) build strength. I have no aspirations of ever running super long distances in them - I just want to use them as a way to get stronger.
Next step - track my running. I have a Garmin which I love but the only thing I use it for is to check my pace and distance while I run. I don't log my runs, I don't keep track of any improvements in my speed and I don't even wear the heart rate monitor so I have no idea about max heart rate. I just like knowing how fast I'm going at any given moment. Doug gave me his über-detailed running spreadsheet that will help me track runs, distance, pace and even wear on my shoes. Fabulous!
I'm making a point of fitting the short recovery runs into my schedule. I ran 5k this morning and it felt great. I ran smooth and easy and found myself back home in just over 30 minutes. I've entered the run into my shiny new spreadsheet and feel ridiculously proud of myself.
Diabetes-wise, I'm going to experiment with food on long runs. I understand the value of gels but my stomach can only handle one or two before I begin to feel decidedly nauseated. If I'm going to be running for about 5 hours, I had better figure out a plan. I'm thinking fig newtons and dates might be good options. So I'll start experimenting with them to figure out:
- how to carry them without completely squishing them
- when and how many to eat to keep my blood sugar stable and
- whether they will provide enough energy to keep me going
Rumour has it that running is 10% physical and 90% mental. In my case, I think it's 10% physical, 20% diabetic and 70% mental. On the bad days, it's more like 70% diabetic and the problem is that no amount of planning will guarantee a good run. This summer I will be entering uncharted territory in terms of distance and time spent running. The only way I know how to deal with that is by making sensible, yet flexible, plans. I'm not one to stress about a missed run, a forgotten Garmin or a bad diabetes run. Having a plan designed to keep me focused, fit and healthy, I can better handle the challenges that I will face over the next few months.
Stay tuned folks - I'll keep you posted on all things Vibram, diabetic and marathon-related.