It is weird to be writing a post now about NYC Marathon training since almost everyone has already been training for well over a month now. Technically I have too, I just wasn't calling it marathon training. I guess it was pre-training. Anyway, I'm not here to give you a detailed day-to-day training plan because if you've been reading my blog for even a few days you have probably figured out I suck at sticking to what the plan says. I generally decide what workouts I want to do each week and then schedule accordingly. I do have my long runs pre-scheduled but they are subject to change should there be any setbacks with my training.
Running four days a week
I have run more and I have run less and neither seem to work for me. Four days is my happy medium that will allow me to improve my running without risking injury (too much). I will run five times a week if I am crunched for time and need to shorten a run, as long as my weekly mileage does not increase. Of my scheduled four runs I will do a long run, a track run, and two easy or recovery runs. I want to be as flexible as possible and will either do my recovery run after my track run or after my long run, just depends of how I am feeling that week.
Over the summer when I was training for a triathlon is when I saw the most improvement with my running. I think swimming and biking over extra days of running will keep my body happy and injury free, and will help with the monotony of running all the time. As of now I am planning on swimming once a week and riding my bike on the trainer 1-2 times a week. I don't know the source but I have always heard that cycling has a direct correlation to improvement in running, which is another reason why I want to continue cycling. Other reasons for incorporating cross training include low impact exercise and maintaining a base for triathlon season next year.
Yoga and strength training
I started strength training a little over a month ago and can already see some major improvement in my leg muscles. Of course I want to tone up and look good but I also want to give my legs and body the strength it needs to run 26.2 miles. In addition to lifting twice a week I am going to go to yoga once a week. My legs actually crave a yoga class after a hard run now. Luckily my school has a few free yoga classes available throughout the week.
Rest, recovery & everything else
I am well aware of the stress that marathon training puts on the body and know how important proper recovery is. If I don't get an average of 8 hours of sleep a night I can hardly function. But sleep isn't the only part of recovery. I am going to take one full rest day a week to do absolutely nothing. I think I need this more mentally than physically but either way it is important. I have also noticed lately that eating enough protein, potassium, and salt are critical for me. If I am not on track nutritionally I feel sluggish and weak, which is not how I want to feel during marathon training. I will also be spending a decent amount of time doing injury prevention, including foam rolling, compression socks and sleeves, stretching after runs, and ice baths after hard runs.