Ready For It: Taking on the TLAM 26.2 Own It Plan

I'd say this is true for my mind, too.
I'd say this is true for my mind, too.

“I don’t know how you do it—run long distance,” a friend’s husband says to me as we’re about to leave a holiday dinner at their house. “I just can't run very long without feeling like I’m going to puke,” he says.

Our conversation is less about whether running is good for you—he’s a great guy and readily acknowledges its mental and physical benefits—and more about how some of us like shorter distances while others, like me, prefer going long. (Chris confides he’d much rather sprint, even if it does sometimes, for him, result in a queasy stomach: “I like a quick and intense workout, then I’m done.”)

It’s true that I feel most confident about my running when I’m tackling longer distances. Double-digit runs aren’t entirely without an intimidation factor, but they also don’t scare me, not as they once did before I ran my first marathon nearly two years ago. There’s something so empowering about knocking out a long run. I try (and hope) to always feel strong enough to take on a weekend 10-miler during non-training time, and during full-on training mode, there’s an unparalleled kind of satisfaction with going out and logging 14, 16, 18 miles.

I do like shorter runs, like the three-mile trail loop I often run with our black lab, Max, and a favorite five-mile route through my downtown and along Lake Michigan. But as I’ve become more and more in tune with my body the longer I’ve been running, I’ve noticed I absolutely hit my stride only after I’m several miles into a workout. (And isn’t that interesting-cool how that happens, getting to know our bodies in this intimate, informative way?)

This is why I’m so excited to be starting training for my fourth marathon, the Bayshore in my hometown of Traverse City, Michigan. It’s a race dear to me, not only because it’s flat and along the water, but because it was my very first 26.2. Being that it's close to home, there's plenty of family and friends able to cheer me on, particularly during those final grueling final 6.2 miles.

And after nine months of lower-key, shorter race events—I craved a break in training following three marathons, including the Nike Women’s Marathon in San Francisco and Boston, in less than one year—I’m ready to really go for it. What this means: I’m going to follow the Train Like a Mother Marathon Own It Plan. While I did BQ at the Bayshore, I am most wanting to simply best my time and snag a marathon PR. OK, yeah, qualifying again would be incredible, but it’s not my main goal—plus, the updated qualifying times mean I’d need a 3:40, not 3:45 as before (I BQ’d with 3:42:55—yep, I cut it close).

You know the saying - Plan your work, work your plan.
You know the saying - Plan your work, work your plan.

But who knows? I’ve got high hopes of getting a PR with the Own It Plan. It’s ambitious, but I’m mentally and physically feeling good. As Dimity and Sarah point out in TLAM, the Own It plan “is a fairly serious, intense plan that can get you a BQ or a significant PR, and, with either, some heart-swelling satisfaction.” I’m down with that.

Of course, I’ll need to be committed to the hard work that’s involved. This 18-week plan involves running four to five times a week, doing three 20-mile runs, “and generally turning into a sleek, fine-tuned running machine.” I like it. And after a summer, fall and early winter of trail running sans Garmin and a handful of family-friendly races, I am itching to see what I’ve got.

Next week I’ll start training, and I’ll be posting updates here, over at Michigan Runner Girl and also on Twitter. I’d love to connect with fellow BAMRs who are following one of the TLAM training plans. To that end, if you’re on Twitter (and if you’re not, why not join us?), please post updates on your adventures following a Train Like a Mother training plan using the hashtag #TLAM2013. If it fits, don’t forget to add #motherrunner, too. You can find me on Twitter here. (Also be sure to follow the new-ish @TheMotherRunner account, which Sarah and Dimity both contribute to.)

Who’s with me--who's going to #TLAM2013?

22 responses to “Ready For It: Taking on the TLAM 26.2 Own It Plan

  1. I’m training for my first marathon in Washington State this year, and I am nervous. Needing to find a training plan, and Own It might be for me! Although my goal is just to finish. 😉 Good luck with your training!

  2. Hi Heather,
    Another Michigander/Michiganian here! I am doing Bayshore for the first time (2nd marathon, my first was Ann Arbor last year) and am seriously considering the Own It plan. I have no BQ intentions, but want to vastly improve my time. I have less than one week to figure it out! Best of luck with your training!

  3. Heather,
    I’m trying to BQ again this spring, but at the ORRRC Marathon in April. I’ve always followed Hal Higdon’s plans, but am trying a Runner’s World plan this time. Hopefully I qualify and can try the TLAM plan for Boston 2014! Good luck!

  4. Heather –
    I had to get in here and comment – I feel like I could have written that post. Just another reason to LOVE RLAM Community!!!!
    I found soooo many similarties in reading your blog entry. I, too, did both Boston and a Fall marathon (I did Twin Cities and then did the Half at Nike). And I am gearing up to get started on the TLAM Own it plan for Grandma’s Marathon (June). It does look a little scary and challenging but I can do it. You will be a few weeks ahead of me so I’m looking forward to keeping up with you. I’m not on Twitter but I’ll be following your blog.
    Good luck to you. Boston in 2014?!?

  5. I’m trying out the Marathon Finish It plan for my first 26.2 in May. I’m so excited and I hear ya, I love the long distance. 3 miles I’m not fast enough. 🙂

  6. I will be using that plan for Bayshore as well (in Leelanau County). It’s my second time using it. Although last time, I had to just run the miles towards the end since I had ITBS issues and a PF flare up (long story). I still managed to PR in my marathon due to that training and taking care of my issues. I think you will be surprised at how strong you will run Bayshore with that plan. There may be no Boston hopes for me (I just want to hold a 9:50 -10mm!), but it doesn’t mean I don’t dream of becoming more. Best of runs to you.

    1. Hi Jill! So encouraging to hear this from you, someone who has done the plan already. Way to go getting a PR even with your injuries–I’ve dealt with both of those varieties myself. (If you ever need the name of a local expert in ART (active release technique, let me know…he helped with my IT Band issues before Boston)

      Good luck with your training!

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