Marathon Training Begins!

A less intimidating--and much cuter--starting line than NYC, but I'm thinking the post-race glory probably isn't as fulfilling.

To you, this may seem like an ordinary, blazin' hot Monday. To me, it's the beginning of 16 weeks that will hopefully carry me across a certain finish line in Central Park in early November. The official training starts today, and I gotta say, I'm more excited than nervous, which is surprising to me.

A few reasons why:

1. I went to dinner with Katherine, my friend I wrote about in the friendship chapter in RLAM, on Friday night. We were having one of our usual non-sequitur-filled conversations, and my injuries came up. I told her how much better I was feeling, and she made a few really important, smart points about retraining your brain. (She's super well-read, and her brain retains ridiculous amounts of useful information.)  Thanks to too much white wine, I didn't retain as much as I'd like, but one thing stayed with me: I have to start thinking of myself as healthy, not hurt. Every runner has aches and pains, and I'm no different. I've worked hard to get my pain to a manageable level and now it's time for me to see it as a glitch, not a goblin. The situation is like a three-year-old's tantrum: the more attention you to pay to it, the worse it gets. Ignore it, and it'll die off. I'm obviously can't do the la-la-la-I-can't-hear-you thing with my left leg, but I am going to not let it be my first thought when I think of running any more.

2. I've got a very doable training plan. I am fortunate enough to have Andrew Kastor, husband and coach and massage therapist of a certain Olympic bronze-medalist and marathoner extraordinaire, guide my training. (Thank you, Asics!) I had three training levels to choose from, and opted for the beginner plan, which, despite having run two marathons, is really where I am starting from. The plan goes up very conservatively in mileage, and calls for running 4 days a week (or maybe even 3 for me, if need be) and cross-training two days.

The best news for you? Andrew and Asics have allowed me to share the 16-week plan with you. (I'll do it in four-week chunks: too overwhelming to see all the work now.) So if you're running NYC or another fall marathon and it's your first 'thon, consider following along with me. (SBS will post her more advanced marathon plan, also designed by Andrew and her guide for the Portland Marathon in mid-October, tomorrow.) To make the plan and the real life marathon training of a mom more realistic, I've posted the Kastor plan up top, and down below, I'll post what I really did, along with some comments about the run (and my sleep, motivation, nutrition--or lack thereof--and any other vital tidbits).

The best news for me? My training starts with a rest day.

3. This refrain from the Avett Brothers' song I and Love and You has been echoing in my head for a few weeks now. I can only take it as a sign.

Brooklyn, Brooklyn take me in.
Are you aware of the shape I'm in?
My hands they shake, my head it spins.
Brooklyn, Brooklyn take me in.

So Brooklyn (and Queens, and the Bronx, and Staten Island and Manhattan), take me in.
First-time (or pushing-the-reset-button) marathoners, train with me.
Head, trust the body below you is healthy.

And all of you: thanks for coming along for the ride. What are your running plans for the fall?

34 responses to “Marathon Training Begins!

  1. Dimity,
    Sorry this is a few days out (vacation in Outer Banks, NC with no internet access seemed like a good idea at the time), but a question about the training schedule: do you think I could do it switching the days around a bit? The way my schedule is now I run on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays (long run) and XC on Fridays and Sundays. This schedule works for my work and life schedules. I’m due to start my marathon training next week for the Philly marathon 11/21/10 (my first) and I was going to do “The Three Quality Runs” program from Runner’s World. Any words of wisdom would be greatly appreciated 🙂

  2. Just discovered your blog, and love it!

    I’m debating about training for a late fall marathon.
    Like Kami, I have a few halfs on the schedule, but you are inspiring me to try for a full.

    Good luck! I’ll enjoy following your progress.

  3. Good luck! Nothing like a rest day to start off on the right foot! (ha!) I’ll be following your progress since I hope to run NY next fall.
    But this fall I’m running the Philadelphia Rock n’ Roll half in September and an 18-miler at the Jersey Shore in October. And perhaps a turkey trot or two.

  4. Love this blog girls! I am pretty scared of doing a full marathon but I decided to challenge myself in a different way this fall. I will be doing 3 halfs in 3 months. Each has a different goal so I don’t overtrain: September is just to run with a good friend, October is for a PR (hopefully), and November is because I really love the race shirts 🙂 This will be interesting and I may regret it, but I have to try!

  5. Ohhh! This sounds like fun. Sometimes its better to start back at the beginning. I’m excited to watch you progress after recovering from your injury. It gives me hope and confidance. I’ll be doing far more XT this time at Kettlebells to keep my Glutes in shape! That seems to be my whole right side downfall.

  6. I’m running Santa Barbara on Nov 6. I already feel like a part of a special community. Good luck ladies. See you at the finish. Anyone else out here in CA?

    1. Dede, where are you? I’m in NorCal, Chico area. Where are you? I do have some friends who RAVED about SB last year. Good luck with that. I’ll be training for CIM again but not for time and maybe only for the relay considering I’ve spent the last 6 months rehabbing after a hip injury.

  7. I’m running NYC too! This will be my 2nd marathon. My training has already been underway for about a month, already up to 12 miles! I’m on the slower side but training in the heat of FL is brutal, fast or slow. I’m looking forward to following along in your journey 🙂

  8. GOOD LUCK, Dimity!! NYC will be so fun. I am training for a half on 9/19. If it goes well, I will shoot for a January marathon, which would be my first post-kids (and a b-day present for me!). Love the “think yourself well” mantra–last winter was so rough in my house with upper respiratory stuff that I fear it will all fall apart with the first autumn breezes/coughs.

  9. Amen, sista…on all counts…I’m so happy you are beginning training, Dimity! That’s huge. I love what your friend says about thinking yourself well…so true. My inner thighs, at the moment, feel like I’ve been racing Andy Schleck in France, but it’s just me in my pool. I find all sorts of ways to torture myself in the water. For an added bonus, I jumped on my TM for a quick 5K this am. I am even going for another couple of miles this evening while the girls have soccer camp. I think my brain is exhausted at the moment. Answering questions being fired at me simultaneously by 9 and 10 year old girls is sometimes…well, EXHAUSTING. For the love of God, do they really need to know why we need a de-humidifier in Home Depot? Can’t they just follow me and zip it? Jeez. Anywho, if I can see past my brain fog, I think I’ll be doing the Baton Rouge Marathon in December and/or the Houston Marathon in late January…if I win the lottery…truly, it’s lottery-style this year. Every couple of days, I allow myself the luxury of thinking about marathon training…I love that – the nice, clean schedule of running while the kids are at school, the miles being checked off each week…I really get into that…

    1. LOL in the library. De-humidifier in Home Depot and zip it? Too funny. Thanks for the laugh. Good luck with the Houston lottery. Fingers crossed for you!

  10. O.k., I am so inspired by all you marathon running mamas that I have decided to tackle one myself. My question is: Do I run a local race for my very first marathon or do I go big and run a well-known race? Since this could be the one and only I make time for ( I really want to get back into triathlons!) is it better stick with a smaller race or join the masses? Plus, there is always the question of which one has better swag. I enjoy a nice looking shirt and goody bag! Dimity, good luck on your training! I look forward to reading all about it.

  11. Strangely I was wondering when you would post about marathon training during my long run yesterday. See you in NY! I have a feeling I might be able to spot you from my sidewalk perch… 🙂

  12. oh, can you post more…I am training for a Oct. 3rd race and need to jump ahead a little.

    I’m training for the (new) Seacoast Marathon in Hampton NH

    1. Hey Tami–
      I wish I could post more, but I’m only getting my training plan in 4-week increments. Sorry about that…but it obviously follows a pattern (1 mile a week added on the long runs) so you could extrapolate from there. Good luck in the Seacoast: sounds lovely. Thanks for reading.

  13. I experienced my first dry heaves at the finish line of a race at the tender age of those kids in the pic…
    Best of luck with your training! So excited for you. Me? I’m about 4 weeks into training for Chicago…hopefully not a super hot Chicago…one can hope.

  14. Dimity, that song lyric is perfect for your task at hand.

    I’m planning to run the Twin Cities’ Marathon 10K race for my first 10K. Why not? Though, an old friend I went running with this morning told me she thinks I should bag the 10K and start training this week for the Monster Dash 1/2 Marathon at the end of October.

    You know, the weather IS so lovely here at the end of October… : )

  15. Awesome! katherine gives great advice. I am excited to follow you through your journey. Also, another positive thing, fall is the best time of year to train for a marathon :).

  16. I am training for my second Chicago Marathon! I am stoked…10-10-10! What a day!

    I do have a question…perhaps your readers could help…I have recently realized(after much swelling and pain) that I am wearing the wrong shoes according to the PT that looked at my this week. These are shoes that I purchased after a 3o min ‘fitting session’ at a local running shoe store. So…my questions…has this ever happened to anyone else? If so, what have they done about it? Thanks!

  17. Thank you, thank you. I’ve been in quite the funk, and am also starting my training this week (Saturday starts TNT training for Honolulu) I really needed someone to kick me in the butt this morning. After all, I do think it’s95% mental. And also, thanks for posting your training. You are going to amaze yourself this fall, I just feel it.

  18. Ahh, that’s so exciting, Dimity! Very glad you’re going to get to do NYC afterall! Will look forward to your journey …. try to stay cool in these crazy hot temps here!

  19. Excited to follow you as you train for NYC, Dimity! I’m running the Euguene Women’s Half this Labor Day weekend, and am in the midst of training, but what I’m really thinking about is that full marathon I’ll be tackling in 2011 — not sure where or when, but it’s gonna happen, I’m determined! It’ll be my first, if all goes well, and I’m especially interstested in the training plans you and SBS post here because I did once attempt to train for a marathon, had signed up and was getting ready for it…but got achilles tendonitis a few weeks before race day. You’ve both inspired me to consider a marathon again.

    Enjoy your rest day! 🙂

    1. Hi Heather–
      I’m running Eugene Women’s Half, too. I’m doing a reading/talk at packet pick-up the day before–please search me out! And I feel your pain, literally: My Achilles heel is, well, my Achilles heel. Good luck training for half.

  20. Good luck in your training! Thanks for the reminder of how exciting training can be. I am starting week 7 of my marathon training and needed that mental boost today!

  21. Good luck Dimity!! I love the idea to think of yourself as healthy first – I’m going to work on re-training my brain as I train for my first 10k! Looking forward to following your training!!

  22. Good Luck Dimity! I’m in wk 3 of my half-marathon training (race 9/19), and almost forgot how ALIVE you feel during training!! I love it!

    1. Hey Jess–good way to put it. ALIVE. What half-marathon are you gearing up for? Good luck with it. We’ll post some half-marathon plans in the future.

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