ramping back up to marathoning

I’ve been at loose ends recently.  Together, it adds up to a bunch of nervous energy.  Usually, this is the sort of thing that will motivate me to get out and run a bit.  Spending some miles outside with friends, or getting some quiet think time to myself, often does the trick.  As I’m coming off of an injury, I’ve had to be more conservative with running – no fast work, not many hills, and not too many miles.

Last year felt very different.  Once I was permitted to start running again around Christmas of 2008, I set my sights on a couple of things.  First I tried to do a marathon per month starting in April (a couple of times I did two of them).  Second, I didn’t think much about speed – just miles.  This worked really well.  After ramping up and building strength, I actually ran faster than I had before.  My average miles per week were higher, and the routine of doing at least one 20+ mile run per month built strength.  The mental effect that had was interesting too.  By doing more ‘races’, I didn’t put pressure on myself.  If I had a bad day, I’d just go out and do another one several weeks later – no big deal.

After running my eleventh in nine months on New Year’s Day, I suffered an effect of the increased volume – several foot injuries.  They effectively stopped me from running for about two months.  So – now I’m ramping up again.  Conservatively, I’d be ready to run a marathon in early June – figuring a steady 3 month ramp, with a 3 week taper.  Steeper ramps might get me out there in early May.  We’ll see.

A minor disappointment is that I’d wanted to complete 12 marathons by the beginning of April – just to say “twelve in twelve”.  I may still try to run/walk one this weekend, but kind of doubt I’ll do this.  We’ll see.

I drew inspiration from some friends and colleagues running races this past weekend.  There were several PRs set, and some age-division awards won.  Most inspiring was seeing some of them going out and running first-time events.  I still remember feeling very nervous, and then going out and surprising myself a bit.  There’s nothing like that.  The best measure of progress isn’t how you do by the clock.  It’s how you do relative to your goals.

In any case, the sun is out, spring is here, and it feels great to be out there again. 

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