Yes, I realize I haven’t posted an update on my training since my first day. It’s not that I haven’t been blogging regularly per se. I actually have a number of posts in draft mode. I’ve been typing out something whenever a topic comes to my mind, but leave them incomplete, hoping to get back to it later and brush it up. That hasn’t quite happened. So this post will serve as multiple posts combined into one just to provide an update. I’ll add links and such at a later time.
I’ve been a bit preoccupied with other activities, mainly reading, watching some documentaries, and of course, running. The first Wednesday, there was the nationwide one day screening of the documentary, The Spirit of the Marathon II, about the Rome Marathon. I had just watched the first documentary the weekend before my training started and really enjoyed it. I think I liked the second one better, as the show began with the Rome marathon starting, and then going to profile each of the runners at different points over the course of the marathon, as opposed to the build up to the start of the marathon and then spending the last section only on the marathon like the last installment. In any case, it was another inspiring show to watch about what the marathon means to different people. I found the Marathon Goddess really annoying in the movie, but am impressed that she ran 52 marathons over 52 weeks to raise money for Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, and I contributed to her fundraising with a symbolic $26.2.
The first and second week have been relatively light with a total weekly mileage of 15 miles or so. The 3 miles are not a fixed target, and I often end up running about 3.15 miles so that I can cover 5K distance at the very minimum and also I need to log at least 30 mins of run. My Garmin Connect workout is fed to RunKeeper, which is then fed to GymPact, which is a site that tries to encourage people to commit to working out the number of days you’ve made a pact to yourself ( can be any from 1 to 7), if not, a self imposed fine is levied on you (ranges from $5 per missed day of workout to like $50! I figure if I’m going to be running for sure anyway (motivation to run isn’t an issue anymore, as opposed to when I started running initially), might as well run for 30 minutes to obtain workout rewards, however little it may be. So far over the first 2 weeks, I’ve earned about $10, which isn’t bad at all. The other reason is that I’ve joined a new running group on Wednesday runs with the West Midtown Running Club, which I got to know about from some of the people I’ve met through my Thursday group runs with the Midtown Big Peach Running Co. We usually cover just over 4 miles on those Thursday runs, so it’s not significantly different. In any case, the people I’ve met through the West Midtown and Big Peach groups are really nice and fun, I’ve obtained a lot of insights on running and such from other people who’ve run Chicago and other marathons and they have given me tons of encouragement on my training.
On the weekends, I’ve had to adjust my long runs a bit as I’ve been joining the Big Peach Running Co’s training runs for the upcoming Peachtree Road Race. We basically run along the actual Peachtree route on the sidewalks, so I ran a bit more than 6 miles the first week while on the second week, I ran past the finish at the store and covered some extra distance to cover the 7 miles. I’m wondering how I’m supposed to adjust my 4th week as the race is on a Thursday when I’m supposed to run 3 miles. Do I adjust the other 2 runs earlier in the week and maintain my total weekly mileage? I figure I have to run less the day before the race to rest? Would that mean I 4 miles on Tuesday, rest on Wednesday and then do the race on Thursday?
If there is anything I’ve learned from the first 2 weeks, it’s that I’ve been running too fast. I’ve either been trying to keep up with the other faster runners in the running group or the pseudo race day feeling running among hundreds of runners practicing along the Peachtree route and kicking it up a little. I noticed it because I have felt really winded at end of most of my runs and my shin splints have started acting up again, to the point it was aching even as I was walking. I’ll start to actually use my Heart Rate monitor on my Garmin Forerunner 210 and set an alert when my heart rate moves into Zone 5 (I’ve been constantly hitting Zone 5 according to my run data – sometimes inching towards 95% of my maximum heart rate). This will mean I’ll have to run a bit slower, maybe by a minute or two slower than my usual pace, but that will allow me to run further and not be winded running in the Atlanta heat (it has been around just over 90 degrees most days). There is no point pushing myself that hard in the first 2 weeks and feeling constantly winded and struggling to push myself when I’ve got 16 more weeks coming up.
I was a skeptic of the compression gear movement before. Just out of curiosity, I decided to give some a try after hearing from other runners through the running group that it doesn’t aid performance per se, but that it aids in recovery. I had some REI dividends from last year, so got myself a Zensah calf sleeves and I did notice that my shin splint pain would go away faster if I wore them during my run or even overnight when it was really bad. I’ve gotten a full sock through a promotion at GearBuzz.com and got a Mojo recovery pair. Since my latest spell was pretty bad, and it just so happened that a rep from CEP was at the post training run celebration of sorts going on at Big Peach Midtown, I got myself a CEP calf sleeve pair as well (though I bought mine from another local running store West Stride as I had a discount coupon from my Publix Half Marathon). I actually measured my calves and I was right in the upper end of Size III and low end of Size IV, depending on if you measured by centimeters or inches (you’d think they’d be the same). A store runner said he goes up for socks but he goes down for compression gear since you want the compression to really work in wrapping your calves. As a result, I got the Size III. It feels good and my bad bout of shin splints through Week 2 have almost disappeared. I was a skeptic. But I’ve felt the difference for myself. I’m a believer in compression gear now.