Friday, September 7, 2012

Marathon Training - Walt Disney World Marathon

Since running the Princess Half Marathon in WDW I've really been bit by the running bug. The Princess run was one of the most amazing runs I've ever finished (as well as it being my first Half marathon). As soon as I crossed the finish line I was thinking about the next time I could run in Walt Disney World (it doesn't help that I'm a bit of a Disney fanatic :)

As of 2 weeks ago Josh and I decided we were going to bite the bullet and sign up for the 20th Anniversary Walt Disney World Marathon. I'm really excited but was like.. where do I start??

I used a training program for the Princess half ( I think I randomly found it online) but I really wanted to make sure I (and my knees) were ready for the full marathon. Constantly running/jogging for 26.1 miles seems rather intense!

So I signed up for the marathon... now what do I do??

When I started training for the Princess half I did too much too soon and had a LOT of problems with my knees (mostly due to previous injuries.) For this race I really wanted to start off on the right track. I did a lot of research online and wasn't finding much. Even though this is my first marathon it's not my first race. I know about proper attire, shoes, hydration.. etc. etc, general knowledge stuff. So I went to the very small library in town and found some books on marathon running. I think I have checked out every book they had that dealt with running! Some were ok, some were really generic (again, ...drink a lot of water... buy proper shoes..... DUH). However, I did hit the jackpot with one AMAZING book. I ended up buying myself my own copy and plan on referring it to future runs. It's Hal Higdon's Marathon, the Ultimate training guide: Advice, plans, and programs For your 1st marathon or 50. It's really an AMAZING book and I believe it's in its 4th edition? So very current :). Hal includes mistakes that he's made and ways he's learned from them. When he's explaining ways to help your running or suggestions, he also includes input from other reads on forums or survey's he's conducted with other runners (beginnings and veterans.) It's really hit my "nerd button" and even though I've already read it, I'm re-reading it again, now that I'm in training (as in before when I hadn't started training yet.) I really like that book doesn't focus JUST on beginners or veterans. It seems like something you can pick up before every marathon to see what you can do to make your run better!

APPLES TO ORANGES-Your training vs others
 From all my fitness research (and personal experiences) I am fully aware that what works for some people doesn't always work for everyone. One thing that I knew I would have to include this time was some type of strength training. Before I signed up for the WDW Marathon I was (and still am ) completing the Chalean Extreme/Turbo Fire hybrid program. I realized when we first moved here that I had let myself go a bit and wanted to tone back up, SO... with my running program (see schedule later on) I have made it a priority that I run every other day and on my days off from running I do cross training which is my strength training. Cross training is very important when training for a run. For my princess run, I didn't realize just how important it was until I got to race day. I had only ran 8 miles during training, on mile 9 my knee was almost gone ( so was my endurance ) I REALLY had to push to make the next couple of miles ( I also had some help from 3 AMAZING ladies I met on race day and tried to keep up with their pace). So because of that experience I really suggest cross training. Just with the running I've done in the past 3 months (training for a half and a few 5K's) I've notice how much stronger I've become as well as my ability to run farther. So, my suggestion, find what works for you and stick to it. Even if you just do cross training twice a week it helps you're running SO MUCH.  Cross training can include biking, swimming ( I would suggest this for those that have knee problems), a dance class (MY FAVE), or a workout class that revolves around cardio.

  This is the area I've been struggling with the most. I would consider myself a good eater (my friends would probably call me picky). I rarely eat fast food, stay away from fried foods, anything lathered (dressing, gravy, basically if something is dripping off of my food it grosses me out). My weak areas tend to be my sweets, I have a VERY big sweet tooth. I've been toying with this area a lot in the past couple of weeks (watch out for a post soon on nutrition). I could go on and ON about this for hours.. BUT I'm going to keep this short and sweet. During my research for "proper training nutrition" I was met with "eat healthy.. and eat carbs." That's it. ... websites and books would allure to what was proper to eat but wouldn't come out and say OR most advice was given for the day before, during, and after the race. SO, this area is still being experimented with. The biggest problem I've read in a lot of blogs are people complaining about weight GAIN during training. When you think about running you are your worst enemy. Do you really want to carry a 20-25lb weight around your stomach with every step you're running? NOW.. when I say this.. I'm not saying you need to diet to run a marathon PLEASE don't take it that way. I hate that 4 letter word. All that I'm saying is when we run, most people tend to lose about 100 calories a mile (just think if you ran 35 miles in a week THAT'S 1LB!!). The mind likes to play a horrible trick after a run and tells you "you just ran 1000 miles! You can eat whatever you want!!" and then we proceed to go on a snacking binge ALL day to refuel ourselves. My advice, watch what you eat. Personally I count calories, it sounds like a lot of waste of time but let me explain. I believe I could possibly border line hypoglycemic (lots of research, always hungry problems occur with low blood sugar, long story) SO.. I constantly wear a body bugg (a calorie counter familiar to the Biggest Loser) and track my calories with my fitness pal (Plug!) lol. There are some days where I CAN NOT get full. Most of the time these are on Mondays and Thursday (the days after the day I do my long run. Strangely on the days I do the actual runs or workouts I'm not very hungry). BUT because of the lows my body can go in due to the lack of food or after heavy workouts, I track everything I eat as well as my calories I burn during workouts. It helps me with binge eating as well I feel fuller and It has helped me see what I'm really eat nutritionally. Even though the food may look good on the calories,you could be in-taking really high amounts of other nutrients (such as sodium, sugar, or fat). I had to make myself track it every time I ate BUT after about 2 weeks of doing it, it's now a habit. If you choose to do this, I would HIGHLY suggest my fitness pal. It has a huge database of food. I buy tons of generic brand food from Target and it has all of the items on there. ALSO if you have an iphone, it has a feature on the app where all you have to do is scan the baracode on the actual package and it puts it all in for you. I hardly ever have to do it by hand.

The way food needs to be looked upon is as fuel, not an activity (I know, very hard in this society). But even though I'm in training, I allow myself little treats (yesterday I enjoyed an amazing blizzard from Dairy Queen). Food cannot be an all or nothing deal. I would not suggest starting out with an "ok, no sweets again" deal or you're setting yourself up for failure. Even though you are in training, and healthy food is important, doing things in moderation is key :) (more on nutrition later)

 Similar to the apple-oranges category this is different for everyone one, some people have night jobs, kids, husbands, wives, day jobs, or school.  Find what works for you. If you tell yourself "I'm going to wake up every morning and run" when you're known to hit the snooze button 5 times a morning, I would suggest another time of the day. I know some people run on the lunch breaks, some in the evening. Personally, I run in the mornings. After 10am the temperature rises and I'd rather run during the twilight hours,(not the vampire kind LOL) the time of morning when the sun is just rising and the birds are waking up. When I finish running it's still around 7:30-8 and I have time to shower and start my day. On days I don't run, this is also when I do my video workouts. I know I work better with a schedule, one that repeats itself.

This is my training schedule. I posted it on the fridge because I see the fridge everyday, at least 5-6 times a day (and more when I choose to do the dishes LOL)

I used Hal Higdon's schedule ( in the Appendix section of his Marathon training book) as well as a training schedule I found online. His program is written for an 18 week schedule, where I had 23 weeks. I made spreadsheet and am only printing it out month by month. If I printed out the entire thing I would just give up.

Here is the break down of Hals beginners (1-3 marathons) program:

Tuesday- Small run day (the most you ever do on this day is 5)
Wed- long(ish) run day The most you go is 10 miles. This is your mid week "long" run
Thursday -Same as tuesday
Saturday-LONG RUN (most is 20 miles)
Sunday-Cross training

This is merely a suggestion. Like I said earlier you need to tailor your schedule to fit you
As stated earlier, I know I needed to add more cross training for my knees and continue my group class I was participating in..

I broke my calendar into 3 sections: Running, Turbo Fire, and my RIPPED class I take on Mondays and Thursdays

 Mondays- NO Run- I do a small Ab video, and then have my RIPPED Class in the evening
Tuesdays- Small run- Chalean Xtreme weight Vid/Ab vid
Wed- "Long ish" run
Thursday-Ab Video/ RIPPED Class
Friday- Same as Tuesdays
Saturdays- Turbo Fire Cardio
Sundays- LONG RUN with local running group

I don't follow this EVERYDAY, There are some days that Josh and I will go off on an adventure (on non Mon/Thurs) days and if so we'll either be hiking or snorkeling and I'll count that as my workout.

I know it seem a bit much, but since college I realized if I have a schedule (AND A GOAL-FINISH WDW MARATHON) then I'm more likely to follow through.

I am currently working, so, some days that I do my small workouts may just be skipped, which is OK, some days the best workout you can give yourself is rest as long as you keep your "Big" days consistent. I believe Hal says " it's ok to give yourself days off but if it's more than two you start loosing progress."

 Now that I've been training for almost a month, I saw the first 2 weeks as more as trial and error. I even switched a few days around. For example, I had myself doing a Turbo fire video the same days as my RIPPED classes (stupid I know). By the time I was halfway through my evening class I could barley make it, so, I adjusted my schedule and made it easier on myself. YOU CAN do this, try a schedule for a week, see if it's ok, if not switch it around and make it work for you.

 While running I like to keep track of my miles, pace, and time of my run. One thing I'm constantly looking at is my pace. A hard lesson I've learned on my long runs is if I let myself just go and run full out the first few miles, I can barely make it 3/4ths that in. After running with my tracker, I now know my "normal pace" and "race pace" and use both on short days, and use my "normal pace " on long endurance runs. Plug warning!, I LOVE using my Iphone to run. Nike plus ( +) is a free App that plays your itunes library, as well as mapping your route, tracks your pace, your distance, as well as your overall time. If you so chose too you can link it to facebook, when you're running people can click the "like" button and you will hear cheers through your headphones as you run. One of my FAVORITE features is that at the beginning of every run you can chose your goal, whether it be distance, time, or pace. I've been using the distance feature more often. It has voice feedback from Olympian runners that will tell you how far you've ran and how far you have left to go I love hearing "You're almost at your goal! Choose a power song (a list of songs that get you in gear, you have selected) to bust that goal".

I'm not too familiar with any other running trackers. I know a friend of mine LOVES her garmin watch. It tracks her splits as well as pace, overall, time, and keeps records of previous runs. This would be more ideal if running a race that does not allow audio devices (more and more runs are learning this way :( I say keep them in! LOL)

WELL I know this has been a bit lengthy and I applaud those that are still with me! I hope to be posting more frequently. I don't know if this helps anyone but I know it hits my nerd button and I LOVE talking about it. SO.. if you have any advice or have questions, please feel free to comment below!

ALSO, if you're running the WDW Marathon OR have ran it before PLEASE comment below, I'd love to hear how your training is going OR how the race went for you last year!