Saturday, March 12, 2011

A (Wo)Man with a Plan

I remember that in grade school, one of my teachers had a quote on the wall: "Failing to prepare is preparing to fail." A touch cheesy, perhaps, but a point well taken. That quote has always stuck with me.

So... let's prepare. Successful marathoners have to train to build up their endurance and prepare themselves both physically and mentally for the big event. And by the way, that big event is officially 210 days away... not that I'm counting.

I have hemmed and hawed over whether or not I could potentially run the entire race. Truth be told, if I trained correctly, I probably could. But I've done some research and a little soul searching, and I've decided to stick to the structured "run-walk" plan for multiple reasons.

(1) Reduced risk of injury. Now this doesn't take my risk to zero, but I've got a LOT of emotional, mental, and eventually physical preparation going into this. This past year, I saw multiple people who came in with stress fractures or other various injuries that prevented their participation in the marathon and instantly made their months of training absolutely fruitless. I do NOT want this to be me. I want to complete my first marathon in a healthy, safe fashion, and I want to be sure I see that finish line.

(2) Walking is a must. Even if I planned to try to run the whole event, there has to be some walking in there. Breaks are essential to success. And I know I can be stubborn and driven, and I think the worst thing I can do is get excited on the day of, push myself too hard on the first half of the race and not take necessary breaks, and then peter out on the final leg. I want to be as steady and consistent as possible.

(3) A better time? If I can stay consistent, and allow my body the rest periods I need, I think it will overall improve my time. At first, I laughed at this idea - walking is slower than running, right? But little walk breaks allow me to keep an even better running pace. And, with Angie and Kev by my side, we can all push each other to keep a strong pace while walking or running. Strength in numbers!

Those are the big thoughts I've had. So I hit the internet and started to do some research. There are a few highly regarded walk/run programs out there, but I've ultimately settled on a plan written by Jenny Hadfield. For some reason, I liked this set-up the best and thought it fit me the best out of all the programs I read. I also really liked the fact that this was the only program I saw that was designed by a woman. Plus, she's from Chicago... that has to be a sign, right? Should you care to, you can find the program we're using here.

I've already laid out my schedule (no surprise there), and my official training begins on Monday, May 23rd. Of course, I need to get myself as prepared for that as possible, so I'm continuing to run outside when the weather is nice, and continuing with my other cross-training and strength-training efforts.

As for ye olde weight loss update... I find myself at a bit of a standstill. Not cool. I've returned to the WW Good Health Guidelines and find that I'm doing pretty much everything recommended, so no help there. I'm continuing my workouts, but I think perhaps I need to start stepping these up? My other plan is to return to WW meetings. When I originally started on this plan, I went to the meetings for a while, but eventually ended up just using the online resources. Actually, I beat the odds with that, as I continued to lose a good amount of weight on my own without the accountability of the meetings to keep me in line. I'm not really that concerned with my accountability - this is not the reason for my return. I'm going to go back because I'm approaching, albeit slowly, the endpoint of my weight loss, and this last stretch is going to be HARD. I'm hoping to pick up whatever tips, tricks, and support I can from people who have reached their goal, and use this to fuel me through to finish what I've started. First meeting is tomorrow AM. Here we go.

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