So my training this period has been interesting. I’ve done 98% of my weekly runs inside on a treadmill (I get really cranky about which treadmill I run on at Crunch now. Who knew!) , so that means anywhere from 3-6 miles. Once, out of desperation, I ran 12 miles on a Treadmill, and when I was training for my first half marathon, I ran 10 miles on a treadmill, so I know in a pinch I can run long, boring runs, but I’m happy that my coach has kept my weekday runs to no more than 6 miles. SO VERY LUCKY.
During the training runs, usually early morning–I worked out a deal that on Tues/Thurs I can come in at 9:30 am instead of 9, but that still has me getting up before 6am on days that I run–and have *gasp* forsaken my coffee-immediately-upon-waking for the extra minutes I gain pressing the snooze button. Thank goodness my hubby sleeps like a log, LOL, or else I’m sure I’d be dead by now. Add “morning coffee for transit to work” to my list of things I gave up for marathon training (remember, make-up is on the list, also).
My workouts during the week varies a bit, thanks to my coach. Sometimes I have a structured workout–for example, today, I had 4 x 5 minutes at 12:00 pace with a 3:00 recovery and 5 miles total to run. I have come to love the structured workouts more, because I can just focus on little stretches of time–the 5 minutes, and holding on–instead of just basically steady-state running for miles and miles (tomorrow’s 6 miles “easy” would be an example of this). Given the tedium of running on a treadmill, I HAVE to have music. I’ve been slacking and haven’t really updated my music all training cycle save some songs here and there, but I’m certainly searching for some music if you have any suggestions. My “marathon training playlist” goes from Nirvana to The Roots, to Janelle Monae, to Adele, to Katy Perry, to Pharrell to Beyoncé. LOL. But, it makes those workouts bearable.
Recently–I would say on my last 5 weeks of long runs–I didn’t listen to music on long runs. The 18 Mile Marathon Tune Up, I didn’t run with music for 80% of the run. I thought that putting on music at mile 15 would be a treat, but I couldn’t find the right music for what I needed at the time, and it bothered me more than helped. So I took it off. I remember loving hearing other people sing to themselves, or really, just listening to the sounds of all the feet around me hitting the road. It was a nice distraction. I guess I can thank my years of marching band practice on a parking lot for that.
The next week, at the Bronx 10 Miler (I ended up doing 14 miles that day), I didn’t have music, and honestly I don’t remember what I thought about, I just zoned out, ran on the lines of the road and imagined that I was running on a treadmill like my body knows so well. It worked!
For the 18 miler I did in Central Park the second time–I ran 2 miles before a Half Marathon, and then the rest after–I didn’t touch my music at all. It was the ultimate test for me. My hip was hurting a little bit, I was running Central Park backwards, so it was sort of like unchartered territory, and I had 18 miles!
Once the half marathon started, I switched between a few techniques:
- Body check: This is the most funny to describe, but I remember in college learning a relaxation technique of focusing your attention on one part of your body at a time until you covered every part of your body. It takes attention away from thinking about other things. This was most helpful when my hip was talking a little too loudly to me, so I decided to do a body check. Literally I would say (in my head): “Head, are you there?” and then, answer, “Here!”. Then, “Left ear, are you OK?” “Here!”. “Right ear, are you there?” “Here!” and so on down to my feet. I would break down my arms and legs to “bicep, tricep, hands, fingers” etc. to prolong the process. It worked and I forgot about my hip pain!
- Counting my steps. I would count my left foot hitting the ground up to 100 and then start over. I would count my right foot hitting the ground up to 100 and start over.
- Army Count: Simply repeating: “Left, Left, Left RIGHT Left” ad nauseam
- Coaching: On the hills, once I learned to “switch gears” and use different muscles to run up hill, I would just remind myself to lift my knees, that on the uphill that’s all I had to do, lean in, and lift my knees!
I’m sure there are other things, but I can’t remember them. I know I told myself repeatedly during the 20 miler that “this [was] the hardest thing I’ll have to do until the marathon” and that kept me moving.
Except during the 20 miler I was getting tired and hungry and I didn’t want to think anymore. So my music saved me. I think if I had been listening for the 4+ hours I was on the road, I would have been bored to death, but finally, near the end of my run, I put on music, and my body went into autodrive: my feet moved to the paces that they were so used to running on the treadmills. I could just run on muscle memory alone. And sure enough, my pace picked up magically! And it was then that I learned there was rhyme or reason to this training thing!!! I am thankful that I can run without, and that I can now use the music as a tool, to get me to the end.