Sunday, February 21, 2010

Marathon Training and Maintenance

The headwind came down from the north as we started out on Route 88. After the turn-around and running back to the south, there was a headwind. We turned right, heading west for a couple miles and up a "Heartbreak Hill'-type of hill, head-on into the wind. Later, moving northwesterly and up a significant hilly stretch, we again felt a bit beaten up by this unpredictable February wind.

This was the nature of my 17 mile run today.

But how does it happen that the whole darn run is into the wind? The wind insisted on staying in front of us and coming back at us, seemingly to flick our noses. There were points in this long run where this was not appreciated. In fact, I think (I know) I used some colorful language. Errr, character-building runs - I appreciate them only after the fact.

This run today represented my second longest run since my Boston-qualifying Mount Desert Island Marathon in October 2008. I ran the Martha's Vineyard 20-Miler in February 2009, and other than that, I have not gone over 14. To marathoners, I'm sure it sounds like ridiculously low mileage, my 20-30 mile weeks. But to this fifty-something runner, it seems to work out okay.

This Boston training, however, is beginning to pull me out of my comfort zone, as a marathon will, I suppose. This week was 41 miles and I am doing race pace runs on the day before my long run. The runs actually go pretty well; it's the morning stiffness and the aching hip that are bothersome. It takes what I call "body maintenance" to keep things moving fluid and strong, and to get back to a pain-free zone. Gladly, I have not been using any anti-inflammatory medications.

A few interventions I use are:
  1. The Foam Roller. This self-massage tool is very effective at loosening knots and moving things back to where they belong. It can usually be found right in my living room where there is enough floor space to roll around. It truly is a full-body massage tool.
  2. A Yoga Class. Years ago, I was a much more frequent yoga student than I am presently. I even have my favorite teacher Rebecca Stephans on tape and could do a class any time. But you know how that goes. For Christmas this year, and in the spirit of my marathon training, my husband gave me a class session. I go every Monday morning on my day off from running, and the day after my long run. What a difference I feel when I'm done.
  3. A Movement/Strength Training Class. This same husband also gave me a session in the community services program aptly titled "No Glitz, Just Sweat." I warily went to the first class, completely ready to NOT do it on account of any risky lateral movements (aerobic dance type moves,) and experienced such a fun factor that I decided to continue. The class takes place in an elementary school gym and approximately 30 people show up on any given night. The age range is mid-twenties to mid-seventies, and the fitness levels are equally disparate. The instructor has a microphone attached to her head like you see in many aerobics and spinning classes, and plays funky eighties and nineties music. She leads the group through a warm-up, aerobic portion, then strength training with weight bands or weights, and core exercises on the floor. It lasts exactly one hour - no more, no less. I go twice a week and find it is worth my time, and, injury prevention.
  4. Ice. It's a runner's friend. Running inflames everything (this is my unscientific opinion) and cold settles everything back down. If I ever have something that is nagging me more than once, I'll ice it. For lower legs and feet, I'll run them under icy cold water at the end of my shower. I am trying to warm-up to the idea of an ice bath, but I am just not there yet. Last year after the Beach to Beacon 10K, I did get into the ocean, which was pure heaven.
  5. Body Work. I have used massage, chiropractic, and Rolfing. All are good. All are necessary in my book. If you're looking for a referral, let me know.
Eight more weeks and counting. I'll run an 18-miler next Sunday and a couple 20's in March.

And maybe I will get in an ice bath before it's all said and done.

1 comment:

Mary IronMatron said...

Oh, you gotta try the ice bath. It's special! I actually just run the water really really cold.. no ice is even needed to make it a shivery experience. :)
You know, the last few times I have run in Cape it HAS felt like the wind was coming at me no matter how I turned....