The holidays are over and training for your spring marathon starts in a couple of weeks.
While December was a month spent (I hope) laying a foundation, January will be a month spent getting all your tools and materials ready and starting to build on it. We’re adding the main joists and subfloor on top of that foundation this month and from there we’ll build up over the next few months.
But we’re getting ahead of ourselves a bit…
The Running Room training program
I follow the 18-week Running Room marathon training schedule. You can either join a clinic at your local store that has a late May race as its goal ($69.99), or join an online, virtual clinic for the Ottawa Marathon ($59.99).
You’ll get a full training schedule and a bunch of good information about training for your marathon along with a dashboard and weekly emails. Most of the clinics for Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend start in the third week of January.
I’ve been a part of multiple Running Room clinics over the last seven years and highly recommend them if you are looking for a solid program that will get you to the start line ready to race, and to the finish line as well. Click here for a list of clinics.
Getting ready to go
My schedule says the first long, slow distance (LSD) run for the Ottawa program is on January 18th. It’s 10km which isn’t all that long since I’ve been running longer than that on Sundays recently. That means it’ll be a bit of a step back on Sundays for a couple of weeks but I’ll resist the urge to go further than that. That step back will help ensure that transitioning to running five days a week won’t push up my weekly mileage too much, too fast.
In the two weeks between now and the 18th, I’ll be slowly ramping up my weekly miles and frequency so I’m not going from two or three days a week to five days a week overnight. Last week I ran on Thursday, Saturday and Sunday for a total of about 28km. This week I’ll run four times – Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday for something around 30km.
The goal is to be around 35km the week after that on four runs and then I can start going five times a week for 40km during the first week of the schedule.
Have a plan, and a community
This week you should have your training plan together and in a calendar so you can track your progress and hold yourself accountable to get out there and run. Get a community of runners around you as well and start tracking your runs.
You can join Dailymile or Strava and friend up with some other runners heading to the same race you are running. If you are on Strava, join the #TORW2015 Strava Runners club. Dailymilers can friend me up and I’ll introduce you to a few other runners heading to Ottawa in May.
Establish routines and good habits now
The big danger early in January is that you’ll get (or stay) lazy and won’t establish a good routine before training really starts. Things ramp up fairly quickly around the fourth week of the training program and if you haven’t been getting all the runs in and continuing to build mileage and frequency, you’ll find yourself in big trouble in February.
Don’t sit around and wait for training to come to you. Establish good habits now and get out and put in the runs even when the weather is bad, or when you don’t feel like it. Figure out how to fit training into your life and make the changes to adapt to being in the training program. That might include changing your diet, or adapting your wake up or bedtime to get make time to run.
Make your training a priority over the next five months and you’ll be rewarded on race day.