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Week 6: Marathon Training Using Jeff Galloway's Plan

Sunday, June 21, 2009

June 21, 2009 (end of week 6)

I'm not quite sure when it happened, but some time after committing to running The Flying Pig Marathon in May 2010, I became mildly obsessed with the thought of running a marathon in 2009. I'd tell friends and co-workers that I was considering it, thinking about it, that I'd make the decision after my half marathon in September. I'd fall to sleep thinking about it, I'd check marathon calendars during the day to see if one would fit into my schedule. So why didn't I just commit and get it over with? I was intimidated with the challenge of running 26.2 miles.

And then Nancy Howard's daily blog about Galloway's walk/run marathon program was front and center on SparkPeople. It was an "ah-ha" moment. 26.2 miles no longer seemed so intimidating when I could give myself permission to walk. (Until now, I thought I was a wimp if I had to resort to walking.) So, I went back to the half marathon/marathon calendars, worked out a schedule, and determined that the Harrisburg Half Marathon in September and Marathon in November fit perfectly around my other training programs--a cycling metric century (62 miles) in August and a Century (100 miles) in October. Then I bought Galloway's, "Marathon You Can Do it!" And I do believe I can.

The training program is 26-weeks; I'm using the "to finish" program. He has a beginner's program and various "for time" programs. I'm not setting a time goal for this marathon. My goal is to finish it and to not feel like I want to drop dead afterward. I feel confident I can accomplish this with his training program.

I'm starting at week 6 with a long run of 8 miles. The program alternates walking or cross training days with running days throughout the week so you don't overuse the running muscles and you have time to recover before the next run. Sundays are the gradually increasing long runs. Long runs are always preceded by a day off. For the short runs during the week, I'll run the entire distance and work in some hills & speed training. But the long run on Sunday will be the alternating runs/walks.

So, today was the first official long run. I chose to run 8:1 run/walk ration. I finished the first mile in 9:36--a bit faster than I had anticipated. The second mile was finished in 9:46--doing great. At the four-mile mark, I had run 00:40:16--just over 10-min. miles. I was really surprised that, indeed, I was running faster than usual during the running sections--something Galloway preaches can happen. About mile 6, I was becoming tired and my legs were on the verge of some cramping. The humidity is high today and it's hotter than I thought, and I didn't bring any water to drink along the way. But the walking breaks worked--just when I thought my legs would seize, it was time to take a walk break and that 1 minute was enough to let my muscles relax. I felt good enough that I ran the entire last mile and finished the run in 1:21:52 (10:19 pace).

Key points of the Galloway program:

1. Alternate running with walking on long runs (short runs, if needed). He makes some suggestions, but you need to find a ratio that works best for you. It can be as often as 1:1 if you're a true beginner runner.

2. Training runs should be about 2 minutes slower per mile than what you think you can run the marathon. He provides some charts so you can project your marathon time based on several 5K race times. If it's hot & humid, the pace should be even slower. The emphasis is on building endurance for the marathon.

3. Drink lots of water prior to a run--to the point you can hear it sloshing in your stomach.

4. Train with a group, if possible.

5. Have positive mantras or other distractions (jokes, funny stories) at hand so that when you become very tired and negative thoughts creep in (I'm tired; I can't make it), you'll have something positive to distract yourself with.

6. Focus on your running form. Body straight & in-line, strides not too long (can put extra stress on hamstrings). Better to "turn over" your feet more often than to lengthen stride to increase speed.

It's early in the program, but I think I'm going to like it. The schedule allows me to train, but still have a life outside of running. Having "balance" in my life is one of my core values.

emoticon emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CTINAARTISTA 6/22/2009 7:31PM

    This is a great idea! I've also been suckered into doing a marathon this November (the ING NYC Marathon)- though my plan had been to do it Next year. While I don't feel I'll be ready to run the whole thing, the run-walk is totally do-able. Tried my own version on a 5 mile race last weekend and PR. Now, you've inspired me to read Jeff's book! Thanks!

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BRIAN36 6/22/2009 11:47AM

    OK, so I'm jealous. I really, REALLY wanted to do a full marathon in November. Specifically the Outerbanks Marathon in North Carolina. Like you, I need balance in life and working 40+ hours a week and having two teenagers in oodles of activities and not quite at driving age, I just can't squeeze in the time for training at the higher mileage. Not to mention the actual date of the race doesn't work because it conflicts with two of my kids events. They are only young once and being there for them is more important to me. I've resigned to waiting for the PIG in May, but the real brass ring for me will be doing the Outbanks Marathon in 2011. The bright side will be that I won't have that "what now" let down after I do the Pig because I'll know what's next.

I've actually been doing the run/walk on my longer runs. It's morphed into a 4:30/:30 which gives me a solid 10 mpm pace and even after my last 9 mile run, I sprinted strongly at the end and could have went for more.

I'm glad I'll be running with a marathon veteran in May!

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DRAGONFLY1974 6/22/2009 7:33AM

    I tried a 10:1 combination this weekend with my running buddy, I'm coming back from injury and she's increasing her pace, I agree with the thought process now. I'm going to use it and see how I do to rebuild myself, and then try some runs with the method and some without and see how my times are! Sounds like you did awesome!!!!!!!

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TRILLIUM22 6/21/2009 6:43PM

    Good Luck, sounds like you have many great goals.

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ERMAC22 6/21/2009 5:40PM

    This is awesome!! I've been hearing really good things about the program and this is confirmation that I should definitely check it out! Balance is so key, amen sister!!

Keep up the great work/runs and keep us posted!! You can SO kick 26.2's butt!

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SORGIN 6/21/2009 5:11PM

    Wow! This is awesome! This is so inspiring AND informative. THANKS! I am doing my first marathon in Feb. with a group of fellow sparkers. I did the walk/run interval thing with my first half in March and it was fabulous. While some of the long runs were torture, race day was a breeze (relatively speaking). I know that 26.2 is a different story so I think the walk/run plan with cross training will be key for me too. I am nursing a hip injury at the moment so am learning first hand how important rest/recovery is. After my half, I started running (zero walking) all my runs and did very little in the way of cross training. I think that led to an overuse injury. Bummer.

So thanks for this great blog and for keeping me posted on your progress! I look forward to reading more!

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    Ok....I'm pumped!! sign me up! Thanks for the inspiring blog. I'll go check out more info on Galloway. See what you started.!!
emoticon not quite emoticon

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ALEXSGIRL1 6/21/2009 4:20PM

    good for you you can do this you will do this. emoticon emoticon

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I Feel Like I Swallowed a Beachball

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Last night the "Fit Chicks" & friends and spouses got together for our 2nd annual Poker Paddle. Our leader went out earlier in the day and hid challenges around a lake. Our mission was to paddle via kayak out to the markers, grab a challenge, and return to the shore to do it. Challenges ran anywhere from holding a yoga pose for one minute, doing exercises--lunges, sit ups, etc., to doing word puzzles to eating challenges. If we completed a challenge successfully, we could pick a card from the deck. At the end of the evening, the best poker hand one.

My DH & I started out with a physical challenge - 50 sit ups & 50 push ups. Between us, we nailed them in no time at all. The 2nd challenge was to chug chocolate milk. I was expecting those little 2-cup bottles, but these were half gallon jugs. I love chocolate milk, so I drank most of the half gallon. It was only after I drank it that I looked at the label--it wasn't low-fat! Our leader is a bit of a health food fanatic, so I was shocked that it wasn't skim choc. milk. When I called her on it, she laughed and said she thought all chocolate milk was lowfat--she didn't know any other kind.

Well, I woke up this morning so full and uncomfortable I could barely roll out of bed. I finished my nutrition tracker this morning and yesterday I ate a whopping 2,300 calories (all those calories for a lousy pair of deuces). My usual day is around 1,500. I may have to skip getting on the scales this week; it's just going to be way too painful.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NIKNAKPATTYMAC 6/16/2009 12:05PM

    I'm with Jim. This sounds like something fun for our bike club. (No, not the lake part...but the game part. LOL) We do a similar thing at our family reunion (in a National Forest) but it's done with a GPS locator and four wheelers. Get's pretty wild. You do such fun things.....I feel like a slacker! LOL

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JHOLLNAGEL 6/16/2009 9:23AM

  Next time let hubby do the chugging first while you look at the label;-) LOL This sounded like it was fun .... I'll have to see if I can incorporate something like this for our bike club?


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GOODMAR 6/13/2009 11:16PM

    that event sounds kinda fun. I would let the leader off the hook for the chocolate milk thing, because now she does know that they do make lowfat kind!

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LADY_DONKEY 6/13/2009 11:30AM

    I would have been furious with the leader. She didn't know any other kind? Oh please...

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CYCLINGSANDY 6/13/2009 9:13AM

    At least you were active and exercising during your challenges. The chocolate milk feeling will go away today!

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Running in the Rain

Friday, June 12, 2009

I headed out under gray skies last night to get in an hour run. About 20 minutes into it, the sky opened up and the rain began to fall. At times it was a hard rain, others a light drizzle. I felt at least 40 years younger--it's so much fun to run in the rain (at least when it's warm) and running in the rain felt much more refreshing than running in 98% humidity. It brought back memories of playing outside with my friends as a kid. Riding bikes & running through water puddles.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PAULAKEO 6/12/2009 9:50AM

    Sounds delightfull!

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ALEXSGIRL1 6/12/2009 9:11AM

    really love that you ran in the rain. its so great that you can tap into your inner child. every time i go by a playground now i run in and take a ride on the swings,and do chin ups on the monkey bars.it's great fun to be a kid. once in a while i add skipping to my run when no one is watching great fun.thanks for reminding me to nurture that hidden child in us all. emoticon emoticon

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BRIAN36 6/12/2009 8:43AM

    I ran in the rain last night, too! My husband said I was nuts, and my response was I may as well suck it up because you never know, my next race may be in the rain. I went out to the high school track to do my 4 mile tempo run. There was a youth soccer team practicing in the rain, and there were golfers on the golf course that I passed on my way to the school. It hit me that when you really enjoy doing something it doesn't matter what the weather is, you're just gonna do it.

I don't know about you, but the run got a lot harder when I was carrying around an extra 10 pounds of water weight from my rainsoaked sweatshirt.

You know you're a runner when you are running in the rain, not because you're trying to get out of it, but because you enjoy being in it. 2Wheeler, my friend, you are a runner.

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ITALIANLADY247 6/12/2009 8:23AM

    Good for you for getting out there regardless of if it was going to rain or not. I've now run in the rain twice and it was quite empowering to say the least. Besides the occassional raindrop in the eye, it was great.

Hooray for feeling like a kid again! emoticon

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    You are right it is much more fun running in the rain when it is warm. I did it in Central Park in April it was 36 degrees outside and the rain and the wind were coming down. Now, that was far from fun. I would die right now to have some of your fun - send the rain to Florida to cool us off some okay.

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DRAGONFLY1974 6/12/2009 8:10AM

    I've never gotten to experience more than a few sprinkles, I've heard there's nothing like it! Glad you got to be a kid again!!!

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Run, Rabbit, Run

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Last night our beginners' running group met to run 6 quarter miles with a limit of 4 minutes per quarter mile. The task at hand was to run up to the cones as fast as possible--if you finished in 1:58, then you got to enjoy a 2:02 rest until the next one. If it took 3:45, then you only had 00:15 to rest before the next one, which was back down the trail.

It was hot and very humid--they were calling for emoticon emoticon, but we didn't get one. The emoticonwould have been emoticon. By the end of our runs, we all looked like we had been in a shower. My face was red as emoticon and sweat was dripping from my nose and chin and running into places I'd rather it not.

Going up the trail, I averaged around 2:13; going down the trail around 1:58. Surprisingly, the last run, which was down, was my best. That's because I pictured the coach as a big emoticon with floppy ears, and I was the fox. I came within 2 strides of catching him at the finish line.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    Great job.

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LITTLE_M 6/11/2009 10:12AM

    That sounds amazing!! I wish I could run like that....still need to work on that one...LoL!!

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DRAGONFLY1974 6/11/2009 9:42AM

    Sounds like fun drills, really wish I had child care to do stuff like this with my running group!

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    Sounds like a blast! I am living vicariously through my SparkFriends right now. Thanks for the fun! See you on the road, soon!

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BRIAN36 6/10/2009 5:04PM

    You're a hoot! But I'm surprised you didn't imagine him as a groundhog in your garden.

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Cycling the Erie Canal: Lockport to Palmyra

Monday, June 08, 2009

Four friends started in Lockport, NY on Friday and ended in Palmyra, NY on Sunday, averaging about 28 miles per day. Even the most recreational cyclist could plan a trip along this section of the canal since there are so many communities to stop in for a rest.

This is the first trip in four years that we didn't have at least a few hours of rain. I'm so disappointed--I was looking forward to modeling the lovely and stylish hotel shower cap that I brought along to pull over my helmet.

The canal towpath is crushed limestone and well maintained; around Rochester it is paved. There are many small towns and villages along the way, so we cycled leisurely and explored a few. We saw some large boats and learned of a woman who was kayaking from Chicago to somewhere in New York all alone. Now, that is an adventure.

Friday (Lockport to Albion) was lovely, but with headwinds that made us hunker down low and pedal hard. We stopped to watch the draw bridges being raised and lowered to allow boats to pass through. In Medina, we stopped to take pictures in front of the large red apple--Medina is known for its apple orchards. In Albion, we stayed at the Fair Haven Inn and had a very nice dinner there. Everyone was very friendly.

Saturday morning (Albion to Rochester) started about 8:30 a.m. with breakfast at Tim Horton's. I must have my cup of joe. We stopped in Holley for their festival and walked down to see the falls at a small park. There a yoga instructor was giving a yoga class to young children. It was the perfect setting.

In Brockport, we stopped for "lunch" at an ice cream/chocolate shop and browsed the quaint shops. It was a lovely stop. In Spencerport, we rented tandem kayaks for an hour--what fun. That gave our upper body a work out and gave our legs a nice rest. As we were standing around deciding whether to have a bite to eat, a gentleman offered us his pizza that he had just bought. He said his eyes were larger than his stomach and he was going to throw it away if we didn't want it. So, we had pizza for a mid-afternoon snack.

That evening, Betsy & Cam, friends of one of our group, invited us to their house for dinner. What a treat!! Grilled sausages, rolls, fruit salad & mixed green salad. We have never eat so well on a bike trip. We were telling our hosts about the great ice cream we had in Brockport. That's when we learned that the man who had waited on us in the shop was their son. He works there part time while going to SUNY, Brockport. What a small world!!

Sunday (Rochester to Palmyra) we started at 9 a.m. so that Betsy could join us from Rochester to Fairport, where we would stop for a Canal Days Festival. She led the way and gave us a cycling tour of the University of Rochester, pointing out various landmarks and giving us a history lesson.

Fairport is a lovely town. There were dozens of arts and crafts vendors and food booths. After a walking tour of the festival area to scope out the great food, we went our separate ways to grab lunch. I had a wonderful freshly-made crepe filled with a southwestern-seasoned chicken and lots of greens. We all headed to the ice cream shop after lunch for dessert. We said our good-byes to Betsy & Cam, and then we were off to Palmyra. After Fairport, the trail is less populated and we pass through fewer towns.

When we arrived in Palmyra, our shuttle service was waiting for us and we headed back to Lockport. As soon as all of the photos are compiled, I'll post a few.

This trip was a welcome change from our usual 50-80 miles per day bike trips. On those trips, it's just pedal hard and fast and all we have ever seen is the trail. Plans are already underway for next year: Palmyra to Rome or Utica, or if time permits, to Albany.


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    I'm gonna have to plan on joining you next year.....how does that sound? Your trip sounds like so much fun. I noticed food and ice cream were mentioned a lot in your blog. My kind of trip! Where did you stay? Hotels? Camping?

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WILDCARD1 6/10/2009 2:11PM

    Sounds like you had a lot of fun. I would love to do something like that, but I guess I would have to get a bike first, LOL!

Have a great day!

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LISADIVI 6/8/2009 2:43PM

    Your Blog caught my eye with the mention of Erie and Palmyra. Then I saw Palmyra, NY. Oh well if you are ever in Palmyra, PA give me a shout and I'll set up a snack and beverage station for you! I am only up to 3 or 4 miles a day. At this point a trip like yours is a great daydream. Keep peddling!

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