So, I’ve decided 2013 is the year of more as far as my running habit goes.
Specifically (and injury permitting) this means a minimum of three full marathons this year not two, upgrading my training to incorporate more miles (1,900 up from 1,400), plus adding speed work and strength training to the mix. Improvements in diet leading to a lighter, leaner me are also going to happen.
Ultimately my goal is to get myself into a position where qualifying for Boston is a realistic ambition going into a race, and I’ve come to realize that it likely won’t happen without me making a number of changes in my approach to running. I’m not saying I couldn’t run a qualifying time (3:25) without making changes, but the truth is that it would be a little bit of a fluke if it happens (one which I’d gladly accept by the way!) rather than the inevitable result of some careful and well planned strategies.
So, what am I doing about it all?
First off, I just need to run more. I alluded to this in my last post, where I said that the 1,400 miles I ran last year felt like a lot, but at the end of the day, really weren’t enough. I like to think the amount of heart and effort I bring to pretty much anything I do is never in question, but you need strength and stamina to run a marathon really well, and my stamina could be better. Top runners run upwards of 100 miles a week, and last year I managed a little more than 100 miles a month. Even in my own weekend warrior kind of way, there is some scope for improvement – I want no more blow ups at mile 20. So…more miles in training, and at least one more actual marathon during the year.
Secondly, speed. Right now, this early in the year, and coming off an injury layoff in October and early November, I have decided to go easy on the speed work. Getting consistently faster is a goal, and I’ll begin working on it in the post Phoenix build up to Vancouver, and then in the second half of the year. In the meantime, my speed will be dictated as much by the conditions, and how am I feeling on the day, than any pre-set, overly ambitious time goal. If I surprise myself and feel great like I did in Victoria in 2011, then a 3:30 or better could be on the cards. If not, then I’ll take anything south of 3:45 as a victory and move on.
Third, strength. When you run a lot, and especially in either a long training run or a marathon itself, you really notice when your core starts to wobble (literally as well as metaphorically in my case). So, I’ve started to add in a little gym work – core strength and upper body mainly, and again, I am going to increase this as the year progresses.
Finally diet. I have to say this is pretty much the toughest one of all for me. I think my weight to exercise to diet ratio is pretty well equalized right now, meaning I am only going to shed some more pounds if I exercise more and eat smarter (and for smarter, I guess that should be ‘eat less’ – who am I kidding right?). Lets just say I’ll grade myself 6/10 for the year to date, ‘could do better’ and move on. More on the topic of food in another post.
It’s now a little less than two weeks from my first marathon of 2013, in Phoenix, AZ. It’s going to be interesting, and come what may, it’s going to be fun. Actually, I can’t wait, and at the end of the day, that is the main reason to run more – I just really like doing it.