By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail…Benjamin Franklin
I’ve got the marathon on my mind. I guess I would much rather think about it than start training for it! I signed up for the Marine Corps Marathon after enjoying it so much last year. It isn’t until the end of October, and so it is too early to start any serious training yet. However, since I am not a big planner, marathon training always presents a challenge for me. I have friends who love training for marathons. They say having a goal helps them become structured about their running and keeps them focused on the prize. Maybe it’s because I’ve started and then had to stop training for marathons a number of times that I tend to be a little hesitant about planning too far out. Whether it was a pregnancy, an injury, or just life that got in the way, for many years the marathon seemed elusive. In fact, last year’s Marine Corps Marathon was my first marathon in ten years!
I think that marathon training is a little like parenting. We can be reactionary or we can be proactive. So often as a parent I react to something and realize later that I probably should have been a little more prepared. Having gone through the teen years a number of times now I am surprised at how often I have serious amnesia. I tend to forget, for example, that no matter how “good” my consequences are, they are never as good as the ones that occur naturally. After all these years I still find myself having a knee-jerk reaction to some of the immature things that teenagers do.
Training for the marathon can result in the same reactionary method (or lack of method, really). No matter how much I talk to others about listening to their bodies, when I am in the middle of marathon training, I seem to inevitably experience amnesia. I totally forget what happened the last time I didn’t listen to that screaming hamstring or that tight IT band. Then I am left dealing with the natural consequences of not listening….making PT appointments, popping ibuprofen, and trying to use the foam roll for hours at a time in desperation. So this time I will try to be a bit more prepared. I would like to gain a little flexibility and strength before I increase my mileage. For flexibility I’m going to put my money where my mouth is and start doing P90X Yoga regularly (about once a week). I will also start stretching with a yoga band. For strength, I will continue using the one minute core exercises and include some cycling and other cross-training. A triathlon this summer will force me to do that…so I will sign up for one soon.
My hope is that when I do start the actual training on the roads, the preliminary flexibility, strength work, and cross-training will help to keep me injury-free. We shall see…
What do you do to “prepare to prepare” for the marathon? Any good tips?