After the Marine Corps Marathon last October, I was pretty discouraged about running. My knees were shot, my spirits were low, and my excitement about running another race anytime soon was essentially non-existent. So I took a break! 6 months off of running to strengthen my knee with quad exercises and a 12 week round of Sweat with Kayla to tone up for a trip to California.
Given my discouragement (and newfound love for circuit workouts), I wasn’t planning on running a marathon this year. Instead, Mike and I were going to participate in the 9+1 program through New York Road Runners – running 9 races and volunteering at 1 to guarantee our spots in the NYC Marathon in 2018. We also entered the lottery for this year’s race, which I thought was futile — this would be my fourth lottery entrance, and I’d never gotten in in the past.
LO AND BEHOLD, weeks later, Mike got that special email – he had gotten into the lottery for the marathon! I was in actual shock. And originally, we had planned on me being his support system, like he was for me last October. But when the opportunity came up for me to run for Team TAPS, supporting the grieving families and loved ones of fallen service members, I suddenly found myself shopping for new running shoes for my training.
This would be both of our 3rd marathons, so we both had strong thoughts as to how the training program should go. I was adamant about getting solid miles each week and hoped for only one rest day. Mike wanted to make sure my knees got enough rest, and that we were smart about our mileage increases.
We ended up going with Hal Higdon’s Marathon 3 – an alternative marathon training schedule that incorporated two days of rest, adequate mileage each week, and cross training each week that stressed cardio but was easy on the knees.
For the cross training, we’ve been switching things up a lot. Between Kayaking, Sweat with Kayla circuits, Beachbody and P90X plyos, bike rides, water skiing, and spin classes, our options have been pretty much endless. I’m taking the spin classes pretty seriously – I’d love to be an instructor – and Mike is big into the Beachbody game. We’re about halfway through the schedule, and it’s going pretty well so far.
Check out our training schedule below:
Mentally, I’m getting back into shape. Some of our longer runs have been tough, and I’m struggling with a rather annoying knee injury. I’ve still been a little bit discouraged since last marathon’s performance, and it’s hard for me not to get down on myself when I’m really struggling on a long run.
We’ve been working on setting tiny goals (make it to the next street sign, if you’re struggling just go a quarter mile longer) – and to my surprise, that’s actually been working! I tried it out at the Blessing of the Fleet a couple of weeks ago, and by the time I got through 1 or 2 small milestones, I had forgotten I was hurting all together. I tried it again on a 16 miler last weekend, and going into the run with a positive attitude and the mindset that small goals aren’t pitiful goals has actually been refreshingly helpful.
Somewhere along the way I realized I forgot the mantra I used to repeat over and over the first time I trained for a long race in 2014 – Run the Mile You’re In. To concentrate on what’s going on now, and tackle the next obstacle when I get to it, which is something I’m trying to incorporate into my every day life as well as back into my running.
For all you runners out there trying to get your grit back – this mantra has saved me time and time again. Maybe it’ll work for you too!