Barely Hanging On…..

I don’t know if I ever formally mentioned that I’m using the Run Less Run Faster book as a guideline for my training for the Lansing Marathon.

This book has a chart which gives you a target finish time of what THEY believe you should be able to run, with proper training, of course.   It takes the “I wanna run X:XX:XX” out the equation when its right there in black and white that you can or cannot probably do it based on your current run times.   After you figure out your goal pace/marathon finish time, then there are multiple training tables which plan your training.  They also include a training plan for each of the Boston Marathon Qualifying standards.  Although, I’m not necessarily looking for a BQ because it seems impossible, I did select one of those plans because unlike the more generalized plans, it spells out each and every workout down to the pace you are “supposed to” run without any additional calculations necessary.

I won’t lie, this book is intimidating as all get out.  The premise is to run 3 key runs each week:  Speed, Tempo & Long Run, then add in two cross training days.  I chose biking for my cross training since I’m on deck for a 70.3 triathlon in July.  This 5 day plan works out well for my schedule because I can juggle the days, live my life, work, be a parent, be the “soccer mom”, and still not miss anything too important training wise.  In fact, I have never ran all the miles on a normal plan so I was willing to change my focus a bit this time around from “just run the miles” to “let’s sharpen the focus”.  I’m also not a person who wants a coach to whom I need to answer to but that doesn’t mean that I don’t like the idea of having a structured plan. 

As intimidating as the plan is in regards to hitting the numbers, I was a bit surprised as to how easy the workouts were to understand.  It is all spelled out for me and I just look at it on a day to day basis.  If I can’t do my speed work on Monday, I just move it to Tuesday and look at the day on my chart for the workout details.  I program my treadmill to the desired intervals and honestly, just try to hang on for as long as possible.  The paces are NOT easy for me.  Marathon training is not easy for me which is why I do it.  The paces, the plan, the training is a constant challenge.  I have not yet nailed a speed or tempo session and I don’t know why but that doesn’t seem to bother me.  I just keep on moving to the next workout as if I DID nail it and things are progressing.  In fact, they are progressing in a positive manner.  I “almost” nailed last night’s speed session.  In fact, I nailed a good 75% of it.  Progress in week 11 with a late start and a couple “rough” weeks.  I can’t wait to see where I am on April 21st when I fight it out mentally & physically at the Lansing Marathon.  I honestly do not believe that I will hit my predicted finish time for this marathon but I will be interested to see how close I come to their prediction.  I have considered sliding back to the next slower BQ training plan but what fun is that?  I don’t want to nail every workout but rather reach for it and keep trying to improve.  So  yes, I’m “in training” but I’m barely hanging on…… good thing I don’t go to the gym cuz I might scare someone.

fall off treadmill

Do you like to train within your comfort zone or do you try to push the limits?  I’m sure if I had a coach instead of a book, they would back me down so that I could nail it and grow my level of confidence but I kinda like it this way because this is what I do for fun.

** Happy Running ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

How To Train For a Marathon…..

A marathon is something that some hold sacred while others toss the word around like it’s nothing, no big deal.  The truth, it is a big deal.  It is a big undertaking.  It is a commitment.  I know I’ve talked about the marathon, and what you can expect, in my Interested or Committed post.  However, I wanted to revisit it again to put a fresh spin on it since the spring marathon season is staring us down.


1.  long-distance race: a long-distance footrace run over a distance of 42.195 km (26 mi 385 yds)

2.  difficult undertaking: a lengthy and difficult task, event, or activity

3.  endurance test: a test of endurance, especially in a competition

If you want to run a spring marathon, or any marathon, you first need to commit.  This means registering.  If this is your first time, or you “possibly” have had a bad experience in the past, then I understand your fear hesitation but really put your money where your mouth is and all of a sudden it will become real. 

$$ Spent = Commitment

chicagomarathon pic

After you blew the money on the registration, now get on your favorite social media account and tell the world.   Yes, tell everyone you know that you registered for a marathon!  Be proud and soak up that moment when everyone says your crazy amazing.  This will make you accountable.

Public Announcement = Fear of Public Humiliation Accountability

Now that you are committed & accountable, it’s time to think about training.  There are a bunch of plans available.  You can spend as much or as little as you want.  Some people go directly to a coach but most start browsing the net.  Three tried and true options for training plans:

  1. Hal Higdon – By far the most popular source for training plans.  Free.  Easy to use.  Variety of training options.  18 weeks of hell fun.  I’ve used a variety of his plans on numerous occasions.  I always have the promised outcome, a finish.  Win, Win. 
  2. Train Like a Mother:  How To Get Across Any Finish Line – and Not Lose Your Family, Job or Sanity – Very popular with the #MotherRunners.  $9.99 for the book which includes 9 training plans for all distances for beginners and advanced runners alike.  Entertaining.  Not all about running.  Catchy title.
  3. Run Less Run Faster – A Runners World publication.  $11-16 for the book.  Popular with injury prone runners.  Three key runs per week.  Detailed training plans for each of the Boston Qualifying times.  Challenging.  Encourages 2 cross training days and provides specified workouts for various cross training activities.  Detailed strength & stretching plans.

Training Plan = Success

You’ve spent your $$, you’ve told your friends, you picked a plan. It’s easy from here on out.  Just follow the plan and trust in your training.  Don’t freak out if you miss a workout here or there because you do still need to maintain your REAL LIFE.  However, for the most part, be a task master and just do what it says.  Follow along week by week and don’t peak to far ahead so that you aren’t overwhelmed.  Clean up your food intake cuz it’s possible the training will make you feel as if your starving extra hungry.  If you don’t have the metabolism or mileage of Marathon Mike, don’t eat ice cream for lunch like he does ….. won’t work for you, or me!  Keep your food intake clean by drinking your water,  eating your fruits & veggies, and focusing on lean proteins and whole grains. Oh yeah, and alcohol will dehydrate you. 

Balanced Diet = Healthy Weight

The last, and possibly most important, ingredient in successfully training for a marathon is rest.  Don’t be crazy; get some sleep.  Your body will be doing amazing things.  It repairs while you sleep.  So if you want to be as successful as possible, you might need a few extra ZZZZZZs.  Don’t feel bad about it.  Sleep.

Rest = Repair

I could go on forever but I won’t. 

Any other tips you want to share about marathon training?

** Happy Training ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

Trust Your Training Plan

A lot of my friends & F’N Runners are currently in the midst of the heavy training miles for the 2012 Chicago Marathon.  Everyone is hitting their miles and making amazing progress yet their confidence is not boosted with the completion of each long run.  Instead they are filled with doubt.  They are doubtful they will finish, doubtful they are running enough, doubtful they will be fast enough to make the cut-off, doubtful that they can even make it thru next week’s run because the run this week went so poorly. 

I’m want ALL OF YOU to know that you will make it thru the next run, and the one after that, and the 20 miler.  We will get your nutrition in check and find out what works for YOU in order to get you to the start line with nervous excitement rather than doubtful dread.


You are certainly not alone when you look around and wonder if you are going to make it thru the training.  This is absolutely normal!  At this point, you are starting to hit the high miles and it’s not easy.  I remember getting back into my car after many a long run wondering how I could possibly get thru the next bump in miles.  Yet, I did it, each and every time.  It doesn’t get easier when  you have more marathons under your belt, you just know to trust the training plan.  Trust the training plan YOU picked.  Think about it for a minute, you picked a plan for a variety of reasons but basically because you thought it was “somewhat” manageable for your life.  You probably downloaded it from the internet, right?  How many other people have used that same plan before you?  You probably downloaded a plan from a well know website, right?  How do you think that person or that website got so popular?  Well, it wasn’t because the people who ran the plan before you didn’t make it thru the training,  couldn’t manage the next bump in mileage, didn’t finish their race.  They did finish and so will you!

So take a deep breath, stop panicking and trust in your training plan.  Here are a few things to consider:

  1. If you are having excessive soreness & fatigue after the long run, consider an ice bath.  Nobody wants to take one but they do help.  It is the fastest way to cool the muscles and decrease swelling.  Everyone does it differently but I sit in the empty tub, start the cold water, plug the tub and immediately dump in the ice.  I use a lot of ice, a heaping full 8×8 pan, no less.  Let the tub fill to the top of your hip bones and sit for as long as you can.  I usually shoot for 15 minutes between fill time & sit time.  I take my phone, check Facebook, brag about my AWESOME long run, let everyone know I didn’t die, send out a few tweets about how my training partners totally ROCKED THE RUN, etc.  Basically be prepared to distract yourself from the cold water.
  2. Don’t forget to use a Post Workout Recovery Drink that helps you get back your lost nutrients immediately after the run.
  3. If your “on the run” nutrition plan is not working, change it.  Now is the time to nail down what works for you.  Remember that what works for Suzy may not work for you, so talk to several people to get various ideas.  Keep trying, you’ll figure it out!  If all else fails, keep things very bland both the night before and the morning of the long run.  I like to keep it simple with a bland pasta dish with very little protein or fiber the night before, then a banana in the morning of the run.
  4. Consider getting up a few minutes early to drink a cup of coffee or have an energy drink that will get your blood and intestines “flowing” pre-run.  This could help avert an awkward run into the bushes for an emergency pit stop!
  5. Weather makes a difference!  By this point in the summer, you have probably realized that when it’s really hot out, its just not safe to run your normal pace.  In addition to adjusting pace, you will need to adjust your fluid intake.  Consider a hydration belt, handheld or hydro pack and plan ahead to drop water along your route.  Buddy up for the water drop and run so that you will have various places where you can expect icy cold water without having to do all the drops yourself!  I would also recommend dropping more than you need in case another runner, who is not as well prepared, needs to “borrow” some of your supply.   If you see this cooler on the trail, help yourself; I always bring extra!cooler
  6. Know that the higher temps and high humidity will result in more sweating.  The sweat flushes salt out of your system so go a little heavier on the salty foods the day before the long run.  Consider salty snacks, salt tabs, electrolyte drinks or a salt packet on long runs/race day to put a little salt back in your body to avoid water poisoning.
  7. Know that you and Suzy probably aren’t using the same training plan, so don’t go out and run 10 miles with her because that is what she has on her schedule.  Commit to the plan you picked and DO NOT feel guilty.  You will both be standing in front of the same finishers screen wearing the same shiny new medal!


Don’t stress; “You’ve Totally Got This”!

Do you  have a specific training issue/question?  If so, comment below and the readers will try to help you out! 

If you have any training tips that can help calm the nerves of our beginner marathoners, I’d appreciate your sharing!

** Happy Running ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **