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Change of Plans - Literally

Michelle gets ready to begin training for the Boston Marathon in April.

As of two weeks ago, Boston training was supposed to begin last week.

As of last week, Boston training was going to begin this weekend (I figured I had been keeping up with my mileage, and it wouldn't be awful to skip a couple early training runs and jump in a few days late).

As of today, Boston training is going to begin two weeks from now.

Until two weeks ago, I had been doing great with running 5 days a week, and I felt pretty confident that I could continue that for my marathon training, and was really looking forward to a new training program. My book arrived last week, and I was enjoying reading up on the plan.

But at the same time, I was experiencing some aches and pains. I tried to brush them off, and I tried to convince myself that it was no big deal, and that I could still go ahead with my training as planned. And I've spent a good week and a half hemming and hawing, and going back and forth between being sure I could still do 5 days a week, and being even more sure that there was no way it was going to happen. 

To clarify - I don't feel anything like a real injury - it's the kind of stuff that I've felt toward the end of my other two marathon training cycles. Hip/piriformis/hamstring tightness, occasional shin splints, lower back aches, achy knees - things that I wasn't surprised to feel when I was approaching the end of a 4-month training program, but things that I don't want to feel when I'm just starting out on a 4-month training program.

So today I made the decision - really and truly the final decision - that I'm going to heed the warnings my body is sending me, and scale back to 3 days of running per week again, which means back to the Run Less, Run Faster drawing board.

This is the plan I was originally thinking I'd use, and I know it's a good one, and I know it will prepare me. I had just hoped I'd be able to run more, and I hoped I'd be able to follow a plan that didn't require me to put in an intense effort on every single workout I do.

But the red flags my muscles and joints have thrown out at me are clearly telling me that trying to run with less recovery time and with significantly higher mileage is not going to end well.

If I'm feeling this way now, when my long runs have not surpassed 13 miles, I can only imagine how I'm going to feel when they start approaching the 16- and 18- and 20-mile mark.

And this is Boston. I am NOT going to screw this up. I don't want to end up injured and unable to train adequately and jeapordize my goal time or, even worse, my ability to even make it to the starting line.

So the revised plan is for some pre-training training over the next two weeks:  Lots and lots of stretching, lots and lots of foam rolling, lots and lots of cross-training, and only minimal amounts of running. I'm going to make sure that, two weeks from now, I feel healthy and rested and ready to tackle 16 weeks of hard work.

I'll miss my two extra days of running, and I'm hoping that once I'm done with Boston, I can work them back into my schedule. But for now, this is where I'm at, and I've made my peace with it.

Some people can train for marathons on 50, 70, and even 100 miles per week. I am not one of those people, and I don't know if I ever will be.

But my measly (by comparison) 35 miles per week will most definitely be some of the most productive miles I've ever run.

It may not be the highest mileage plan, but there is a lot to be said for quality over quantity, and I plan to put that to the test.

For more from Michelle, check out Me and the Boys, her blog.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Running While Mommy December 12, 2012 at 05:21 PM
I think you are making the right decision and you will be happy with the outcome I am sure!
Cathie Tattrie December 17, 2012 at 03:25 AM
Its good to hear you listening to your body and adapting your training to what you feel. To many people don't listen. Good luck and great job!!

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