Marathon training begins…

[picapp align=”left” wrap=”true” link=”term=marathon&iid=5111893″ src=”3/0/1/c/Marathon_runners_on_66a2.jpg?adImageId=9600427&imageId=5111893″ width=”380″ height=”251″ /]I feel like I’ve been talking about this ad nauseam in real life, but realized I haven’t really written anything about it on here. The marathon clinic I signed up for started last week (woohoo, yippee… errr, yay!).

The clinic is being run/lead/coached by Duff McLaren, a local Toronto running veteran with more than 20 years of running experience and more than 35 marathons under his belt, including the Boston, New York, and Chicago marathons. There are also two “group leaders” who are helping with the clinic —Dave Emilio (of Running with Scissors) and Nir Meltzer. Both Dave and Nir are currently training for the 2010 Boston Marathon, and so I hope some of their BQ “juju” rubs off over the next 18 weeks.

So far the clinic has 30-some-odd people in it, and we’re in that awkward getting-to-know-each-other phase, but it looks like a good group of runners and that we’ll have a blast together as we each move closer to our goal race.

The format of the clinic is fairly straight forward — a long slow distance (or “LSD”… no I’ve not acquired a drug habit) on Sunday morning, hills/speed work Wednesday evening (this doesn’t start till week seven, so for now, it’s steady runs), and a talk and run on Thursday evening. It’s also expected that each of us will get out for up to three additional runs over the course of the week.

I know there are several schools of thought on marathon training and this one caps our LSD runs around the 32k mark, and our weekly mileage maxes out at 82k-per-week. Being my first marathon, I’ll see how this works out and judge its efficacy afterwards. I’ve taken a few other clinics before and had great success with them, so I don’t see why this one would be different, but also understand that there are merits to other approaches.

So the short of the long is that all of this is leading up to running my first marathon this May in Ottawa. I don’t have any special sentimental reason for choosing Ottawa other than it’s a nice city and I have family that live an hour or so away from it. Other then the Around the Bay 30k road race in Hamilton in March, Ottawa will be one of my first out-of-town events.

Catching some zzz's after a long run

I’m still a bit torn on what goal I’m actually aiming to achieve in Ottawa. One voice (possible my conscience) says, let’s just try to finish this race standing up independently, while another voice (possibly the speed devil on the other shoulder) says, “wouldn’t it be great if we BQ’d?!?”. Standing somewhere in the realistic centre of these two characters, is the reality of me hoping to finish in under 3:20 (I’d need 3:10 to BQ). Even if I get under 3:30 and train through the summer, I could try for a BQ at the Scotiabank Waterfront Toronto Marathon in September.

But beyond the numbers, nerves, hopes, goals, and tight IT bands, I keep thinking back to what Kathrine Switzer (the first woman to run the Boston Marathon) wrote in my copy of 262. Marathon Stories: “The marathon is a nice prize, but the real victory is embracing the process. Love it and go for it.”

The past week of coming back into a structured training program has reminded me of just how much I do love this process.


One response to “Marathon training begins…

  1. I’m very happy that you’re doing the marathon training and that you have such great coaches. You will benefit from it in many ways. Even though the logical way to approach it is not to worry about the time, this is not how you do things so do it the way it feels right and you’ll be ok, no matter what.

    I totally love what was written for you in that book. It’s so true. Enjoy!

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