Well… did it almost feels like training never ended… because really, it hasn’t.
I always am grateful for the fact that I’m a triathlete and a runner. Being a triathlete allows me to cross-train and strengthen different muscles, that might otherwise be weak from running. Since I am not just a runner, the swimming and biking creates a great balance and (knock on wood) delays the onset of overuse injury. Cycling strengthens my quads, hamstrings and is non impact, swimming strengthens my core and is also non impact. I am the type of athlete that if I were just to run, I would be having all sorts of aches and pains. I need BALANCE.
Last year when I trained for the Boston Marathon (my very first Marathon) , I trained using the Runner’s World, Run Less, Run Faster/ FIRST Training Program. This program was recommended to me by a CrossFit friend, who had used it many times and had success. Like me, she was confident with running 3 x week and cross-training on the other days. I knew that with my overall fitness, I would be OK with running only 3 days a week. Overall, I really liked the plan. My weekly runs were all ‘quality runs’, consisting of a tempo run, track workout and a weekend long run. I actually ran three 20 mile runs before Boston. The plan had me well prepared and I hit my BQ (Boston Qualifying) time with 3:28:07. It took a while for me to be proud of my accomplishments because of the horrific events that ensued that day (I finished about 30 minutes before tragedy stuck and was a few blocks away taking photos with my husband and my mom).
For my 2014 plan, things are different. I will be racing in my first Ironman in August, so I cannot afford to stop biking through the winter. I also need to keep up with my swimming endurance, because that is something that you can lose quickly and takes work to get it back. My training plan consists of biking at least 3 days/week, swimming 2-3 days/week and running 3-4 days/week. Most days, I am doing workouts in the morning and in the evening after work. I consider this to be my second job, since I work in an office full time. I like the idea that my weekend long endurance workouts, aren’t just solely running. For example, next weekend I am scheduled to do a long 3+ hour bike ride on Saturday, then a 30 minute run. On Sunday I am doing a short bike ride, and an 1 hour and 10 minute run. It’s all about variety here! The good thing is, I know this type of plan works (I did initially have my doubts due to running less). The reason I know it works is because I ran the Chicago Marathon in October, using a very similar plan, and I beat my Boston time by 8 minutes, running it in 3:20. I know Chicago is flatter than Boston, but I thought 8 minutes was significant!
After qualifying at this year’s Boston Marathon for 2014’s race, and especially after all of the horrible things that happened on that day, I cannot wait for this year! To prove to the world that Boston and the runners, spectators, volunteers, etc that were a part of 2013 are coming back bigger and stronger than ever. Oh and I hope to set a new PR, breaking 3:20!