Marathon Training Plan

I’ve had some people ask me what my specific Marathon Training plan is. I modified a 16 week beginner plan that I found on Runner’s World to fit into my basic Body For Life training schedule as well as my real life needs.

Here is how I will spend the next 19 weeks. Some of the shorter runs on weight lifting days may be modified to time spent on either a bike or elliptical to give my knees a break. I just joined our local fitness center to facilitate adding some cross training. But the basic schedule, especially the long runs, is fixed. I need to adjust this to add more uphill training since the marathon course has a number of long hills.

The abbreviations: UBWO (upper body work out), LBWO (lower body work out), TUT (total uphill time), HIIT (high intensity interval training also known as the 20 minute aerobic solution in the body for life book), AI (aerobic intervals; 2-3 minutes at faster pace but not hitting anaerobic).

Plan Edited: 5/23/05 based on expert feedback; one week of taper removed as this was thought to be too much. A second recommendation was to add Yasso 800’s. I’ll probably fit them in as recommended in the article for some of the HIIT plus days.

Maintenance running
Date Sat Sun Mon Tues Wed Thurs Fri total
5/21/2005 6 miles UBWO & 2 miles HIIT + 2 miles LBWO HIIT + 3 miles Full body 2 miles off 19
5/28/2005 8 miles UBWO & 2 miles HIIT + 2 miles LBWO HIIT + 3 miles Full body 2 miles off 21
6/4/2005 6 miles UBWO & 2 miles HIIT + 2 miles LBWO HIIT + 3 miles Full body 2 miles off 21
Modified Marathon Plan
Date Sat Sun Mon Tues Wed Thurs Fri total
6/11/2005 6 miles UBWO & 2 miles 4 miles, including 4:00 TUT LBWO 6 miles Full body 2 miles off 19
6/18/2005 7 miles UBWO & 2 miles 4 miles, including 4:00 TUT LBWO 6 miles Full body 2 miles off 20
6/25/2005 8 miles UBWO & 2 miles 4 miles, including 5:00 TUT LBWO 6 miles Full body 2 miles off 22
7/2/2005 9 miles UBWO & 2 miles 4 miles, including 5:00 TUT LBWO 6 miles Full body 2 miles off 23
7/9/2005 8 miles UBWO & 3 miles 4 miles, including 3×2:00 AI LBWO 4 miles Full body 3 miles off 22
7/16/2005 10 miles UBWO & 2 miles 5 miles, including 6:00 TUT LBWO 7 miles Full body 2 miles off 26
7/23/2005 12 miles UBWO & 2 miles 5 miles, including 6:00 TUT LBWO 7 miles Full body 2 miles off 28
7/30/2005 12 miles UBWO & 2 miles 5 miles, including 7:00 TUT LBWO 8 miles Full body 2 miles off 29
8/6/2005 14miles UBWO & 2 miles 5 miles, including 7:00UTUT LBWO 8 miles Full body 2 miles off 31
8/13/2005 10 miles UBWO & 2 miles 5 miles, including 3×3:00 AI LBWO 4 miles Full body 2 miles off 23
8/20/2005 16 miles UBWO & 2 miles 5 miles, including 8:00 TUT LBWO 9 miles Full body 2 miles off 34
8/27/2005 18 miles UBWO & 1 mile 5 miles, including 8:00 TUT LBWO 9 miles Full body 1 mile off 34
9/3/2005 20 miles UBWO & 2 miles 5 miles, including 9:00 TUT LBWO 10 miles Full body 2 miles off 39
9/10/2005 10 miles UBWO & 2 miles 5 miles, including 9:00 TUT LBWO 10 miles Full body 2 miles off 29
9/17/2005 5 miles UBWO & 2 miles 3 miles, including 3X3:00 AI LBWO 5 miles Full body 2 miles off 17
9/24/2005 2 mile jog Marathon UBWO 3 mile jog LBWO Full body 2 miles off 33

Week 37

It’s been 37 weeks since I adopted a new healthy lifestyle. I’m not actually doing any sort of challenge at this point (and it’s unlikely that I will officially enter any more BFL challenges). My legs have finally mostly recovered from the May 1st half-marathon. I had a great 4 mile HIIT run on the hotel treadmill on Thursday. Since I live at high altitude running at sea level is just great. My knees are still a bit sensitive, but focusing on my posture and hip placement seems to be what is needed to keep them happy. I only ran 19.3 miles this week (includes the half- marathon) but added in an extra lifting session for the week.

Nutrition was just OK this week. I averaged 2199 calories per day with 36% Protein, 20% Fat and 44% Carbohydrate. I missed my normal weigh in day due to traveling. As of this morning, after yesterday’s free day extravaganza of pizza and a tomato and mozzarella panini at the airport, I weigh 129.8. Body fat measured 18.8% with my Omron.

Goals for the next week

Running: Continue to rehab my knees and bring mileage back to about 20 to 22 miles per week. I must get the knees happy and my form good to feel confident about beginning marathon training.

Nutrition: I ate too much whey, myoplex lite and detour bars last week due to traveling. The goal for this week is to go back to whole foods & to create a very slight calorie deficit. Target for week is approximately 1900 calories a day. Of course since I gobbled 2401 calories yesterday on my free day, this could take some work on my part.

Training Schedule: No change in schedule this week. Three to five days of running, three days of lifting, one day free.

Make A Wish

I think they make you pay to run in races so that you actually show up. Today I woke up with a sore throat and a headache. I would have liked nothing better but to crawl back in bed. Instead I downed an Emer’gen C (great stuff) and some Alleve and started layering on my running clothes to prepare for the Domino’s Pizza Make-A-Wish half marathon. The directions to the parking site were great and there were lots of volunteers directing traffic. I was relieved to find that there were also many Port-O-Lets to help with my nervous bladder. Since this was my first race/run ever in a group, I was pretty nervous about the entire thing. It was 30 degrees and snowing when we started. I realize that I am a wimp, I prefer to run in a climate controlled environment with as few clothes as possible. This was the first time that I had ever run in a jacket let alone gloves.

I met up with a friend from work in the check in area. He had signed up for the event when he had learned that I’d registered for it. Given the weather and how I was feeling this morning, if I did not know that he would be there I honestly might have just followed my urge and gone back to bed. His goal for the half-marathon was to just keep me company. If I sped up he sped up; if my pace slowed to a crawl, so did his. This was the first time that he and I had ever run together. Since I normally run alone it was a bit strange to have a running partner, but good, as I might have caved into the urge to walk had someone not been with me.

Running in the snow layered up with clothes was not as bad as I feared. In fact I did not even notice the blisters on my feet until they warmed up a bit on the drive home. My knees held up pretty well. My IT bands are screaming but I don’t feel the agony that was the patella rubbing that happened a few weeks ago. I also learned that I do not do enough hill training. I love HIIT but rarely include incline work into my intervals. There were a few areas where there was a slight grade up (maybe 4 or 5%) but for like a mile (or at least it seemed like a mile). Actually my knees preferred the incline, but my muscles did not. At about mile 10, I started to seriously reconsider my marathon training plans (as in I was considering a marathon why exactly?). I think it stopped snowing at about mile 12. Final time: 2 hours 8 minutes (average pace of 9:48 or so). Overall I am pleased with the results. Heck I’m glad to have just finished the thing. I would not go so far as to say it was fun but I’m glad that I didn’t just go back to bed this morning.

Addendum: Official Results are available. I was 113th out of 210 women and 19th out of 31 women in my age group. Since I could not run even a mile back in August 2004 I really cannot complain about the results of my very first race.

How long does it take?

As you can probably tell, I enjoy reading the blogs of other people who are focused on their fitness goals. Typically I have found these blogs on Body for Life related websites. I stumbled across Tai-Kee’s (Aileen’s) Blog today. She has made great progress doing Body for Life.  However, she is sounding pretty glum today about her progress and how far she has yet to go to reach her goals especially when transformations seem to come so much more quickly to other people.

For the most part, I have come to accept that, given that I’m an endomorphic-mesomorph (you can take the body type quiz here), my progress will be slow compared to pure mesomorphs or ecto-mesomorph types. Am I jealous that other ladies out there can build muscle & lose fat so much more easily that I can, you bet. But I am building muscle slowly & steadily, I just know that it will take me a much longer time to reach my goals.

One reason that I  am doing this third 12 week challenge cycle as maintenance is to focus on those things that are good about my body. What can my body do? I am stronger than I have ever been in my life. It’s a great feeling. I can run far further and faster than I ever imagined. Right now I am exploring just how far and how fast I can go. So much of this is mental. Until a few months ago, I did not think that I could run 6 miles and therefore I could not. I do not think that I want to see whether I can run as far as Julie who is training for a 100 mile run but I am working to remove the mental barriers.

I think that after this cycle I will be ready to do another leaning out cycle to lose the last of the cellulite & reveal my abs. But I really needed a break from the continuous focus on what was wrong with my body & what needed improvement. Frankly I also needed a break from needing to buy new jeans every 4-6 weeks as well. Do you ever hit a point where you are completely satisfied or will you always look in the mirror and see improvements you want to make? How long does it take before you look in the mirror and are simply pleased?

Life is choice

Kyra has a post today that I could have written. She’s writing about food & exercise choices, but really, I think there is choice in how you act or react in just about any situation. Do you seize life or does it happen to you?

On a related note, Kyra’s post made me realize how lucky I am to have generally supportive people in my life. It seems like so very many people who want to make healthy life changes meet resistance and outright sabotage from their friends and family. I have been tremendously fortunate. For example, I had a dinner meeting a few nights ago where I knew pizza was going to be served. I love pizza but it was not my free day. Therefore, I was planning to bring my own Body for Life authorized meal or to eat before the meeting. One of my colleagues was confused as to why I’d want to bring a meal when there was going to be ‘free pizza’. I was going to try to explain, when one of my other colleagues (the one who turned me onto longer distance running) jumped in to say “She’s following a special nutrition plan to meet her fitness goals”. Response, “Oh, alright then”. Until I read about the experiences other people have, I did not appreciate how lucky I was to have this sort of unconditional acceptance.

Furthermore, unlike some other women I have read about on various message boards, my hubby has been tremendously supportive. In fact, if we eat out when it is not my free day, and he sees me tempted to order unauthorized foods he will say “I didn’t know today was your free day.” It’s a nice gentle reminder and helps to keep me on track. Actually compared to some I read about, my free days are quite unimpressive. I often end up under maintenance calories for the day. The biggest difference is that my nutrients shift to be a little lower in protein and a little higher in fat and are thus a bit more satisfying. Also, some of my meals are a bit bigger on free day then they otherwise would be. I tried more exuberant free days when I first started Body for Life but I discovered that they made me feel terrible. Why would I want that?

24 weeks of Body For Life

Today is my last day of my second 12 week Body for Life (BFL) challenge.

I completed my first one in November and immediately started a second 12 week cycle. Overall, in 24 weeks, I am down about 20 lbs (all fat). My body fat % has dropped to somewhere between 19 and 24% depending upon the tool used to measure it. I’m guessing overall I’m at about 22%. My goals for this 12 week cycle were to get under 130 lbs of scale weight (achieved!) and under or to 20% body fat (oh so close…and perhaps there if the Omron body fat analyzer is accurate). For those who want to know the math, I’ve put together a before & after spreadsheet as well.

Ideally, over the next few months I will drop a few more pounds of fat and exchange it for a few pounds of muscle. I want abs & I’d love some muscle definition on my legs. The layer of fat is still quite thick on my legs. I am hoping with all the running that I am doing that they will ultimately trim up. But I’m amazingly pleased with having lost 3.2 inches off of each thigh already. I am pondering changing up the BFL routine a bit and adding an extra day of running and losing a day of weight lifting. I am really fearful though of losing lean mass. But I am eyeing a marathon in September and some shorter races before then. I really want to try to get my mileage up, slowly and steadily. I’m all about incremental progress & injury prevention. I still buy into that fable where the tortoise beat the hare. I hope it’s true in my case. I’m still pondering specific goals for the next 12 week cycle (I do love the 12 week cycle length) but for now, tomorrow is my free day and I’m already thinking about Pizza.

Keeping Promises to Yourself

Maggie has a great post today about achieving success on the Body For Life (BFL) plan.  Maggie is an un-ashamed perfectionist who has utterly transformed her body on the BFL plan.

When I started BFL in August 2004, I began to participate in or at least observe conversations on several message boards geared toward women doing the BFL plan. It seemed to me that those individuals who stuck to the plan seemed to have great & continued success. On the other hand, those individuals who from day one wanted to find reasons that the plan needed to be altered or modified tended to not get good results. Finally, those individuals who seemed to not be able to follow the plan (skipped workouts, too much junk food) for even 48 hours tended to get no results. In the words of every NIKE commercial…JUST DO IT.

Currently (it’s still January & the time of New Year’s resolutions), the boards are teeming with women who just haven’t quite committed to a new lifestyle & who seem to need an extraordinary amount of hand holding. This may have contributed to Maggie’s rant as you do need to do a lot of digging past the whining and pleas for help to find useful information at this time (new workouts, new exercises, new recipes, etc.).  So anyway, she has me thinking about why some people can just quietly stick to the plan & achieve success and others just cannot or do not.

I think it’s all about keeping promises to yourself. I know for me, that I knew that I was getting quite plump (such a kind word) & out of shape. I knew that I needed to eat better & exercise more. I just kept making excuses to myself that my other tasks were more important. Being a scientist, I extrapolated my life 10 years out on my current path and decided that I would turn into Jabba the Hutt and would be at risk for diseases that I just don’t want (diabetes, heart disease, etc.).  About the time I started BFL, I read something about trustworthiness. I wish I could find the exact quote but the gist of it was “how could you be a trustworthy person if you do not keep the promises you make to yourself? Why is it that promises we make to other people are easier to keep than those we make to ourselves?” Thus, since I consider myself to be a trustworthy person, I decided to make myself a promise of a new and healthier life. Since I’m all about lists & plans, BFL was the perfect solution. It’s clear, specific, easy to follow and takes less than 1 hour a day.

A corollary to this is that I think that BFL works best when you are doing it just for you. My hubby is as grateful as can be that I have embraced this new lifestyle but had he suggested that I do it I think it would have been a complete bust even if he suggested it with the best possible intentions in the kindest possible way. I think that health living is something that you really must choose for yourself. While I have trimmed down in the past for other people in my life (he will like me better if I’m thinner), it just was not sustainable (nope he didn’t). For me BFL is a gift I give myself each day (or at least 6 days out of 7 because on the 7th day I give myself pizza). Because it makes me feel strong & vibrant, I think it is a gift to those who have to interact with me as well. But first and foremost, it is a promise made to me by me and a gift I give to myself.