With only 7 weeks to go until the Niagara Falls International Marathon, my marathon running progress feels right on track. My fear has turned to excitement, as the big day comes progressively closer. As I stated before in my previous blogs laying out my marathon training progress ( see blog#1, blog#2, blog#3), I don’t follow a set marathon training schedule like many people do to prepare for such a strenuous achievement. My training regime for marathon running stems from listening to my own body, and pushing myself slightly more on different terrian, using hills one day and flat surface the next, and varying up my distances to what my work schedule, my husband’s work schedule and my child commitments allow. I have essentially become my own personal trainer leading up to the Niagara Falls International Marathon. While I still maintain running five days a week and strength training one day a week (I need to do more!), I have gradually increased my mileage from 10km to 12 km thorugh the week, I take one full day off (from both running and strength) and I make Sunday’s my LSD (long slow distance) day. Anyone that knows me, knows that I am an evening runner. It’s my way to unwind after work and free myself of any stresses that day brought. However, since my previous post a couple of weeks ago, I am trying to incorporate more of my marathon running training runs in the morning for three reasons — 1) I like the idea of getting my workout out of the way for the day. 2) Most races (including the Niagara Falls International Marathon) start in the morning, so I want to get my body used to the idea of racing schedule. 3) I have a very sensitive stomach and to run first thing in the morning before there is any food in my system, I feel like I can fully concentrate on my running and not whether my last meal will agree with me or not. Also, when you run first thing in the morning your carbohydrate stores are depleted, meaning you’re more prone to burn body fat over stored carbs (which your body needs for energy). I enjoy reading “Runner’s World” and “Running Times” Magazine for tips and inspiration, and this article from “Running Times” Magazine I found to be very interesting on the pros and cons of running in the daytime versuses the evening. I will say this — my morning runs are a work in progress. I feel stiff in the morning — it takes awhile for blood to get pumping. You can compare it to gravy. You let gravy sit (in our case, sleep) overnight, it develops a thick film on the top. Once you stir the gravy, it disappears. The same goes for your blood. That’s why that first 1-2 km always feel like you’re running like the Tin Man. In any case, it’s a challenge to get somebody like myself, a self-proclaimed night owl, to suddenly jump out of bed at 5:45 am for a run…but I’m getting there.
I also purchased myself some new Asics, my “go to” brand. I typically replace my running shoes a couple of times a year; statistically the average lifespan of a shoe should range between 300-500 miles depending on the weight of the individual and the surface that you run on. I always get my feet assessed by the specialists at the Running Room. This time I purchased Asics Gel Cumulus 14, slightly different from my previous pair of Asics Gel Nimbus 11 shoes. For my marathon running I feel the Nimbus edges out the Cumulus in comfort. When I run, I tend to land mid-sole and there is more gel cushioning in the midsole of the Nimbus. That being said, the difference is only slight between the two pairs, and I have yet to find a brand that competes.
My last half marathon distance was in March, so I decided on Thursday to run 21 km to see if I improved. My best half marathon time was 1:44:25. I ran a 1:31:44! I was super stoked! That was a huge improvement and accomplishment for me. On September 22nd I will be running the “Run for the Grapes” half marathon in St.Catharines, so I will use that distance as another predictor and motivator in preperation for the Niagara Falls International Marathon. I find that by entering races, whether they be 5K to half marathons, they push me to stay on track on my marathon running goals. There is something about entering a race that pushes you a little harder and (at least for me) when I place in the top 3 in my age category it makes me feel empowered and confident in my ability to set running goals. My FREE Nike GPS app for iphone is what I use to track my runs — and here is my proud moment:
This past Saturday I also ran the Waterfront Trail Double Crown race in Burlington, ON. I came in 2nd overall female and 1st in my age category (35-39). The header image in this post is me with my two medals (the finishing medal and my age group medal). I feel more and more confident in my ability that I can and I will get through my very first marathon on October 27, 2013 at the Niagara Falls International Marathon. I’m sure that I will be sore afterwards and I still have much more work to do (primarily getting in some more LSD runs and practising with fuel in gels, tablets and finding the right carb source for energy the previous evening of a long run). However, I know that I will push myself through this run with my family waiting for me at the finish line.
The marathon is now 80% full, so if you wish to register, register quick by clicking here!
I would like to finalize this post with something I found at the Fun Factory on Clifton Hill here in Niagara Falls, just a 2 minute walk from the Falls itself. I thought these were cute. They are called “Shwings” and they come in various different colours for $8.99 +tax. They come with eyelets and you tie you laces through them to “make your shoes fly”. I love them — and bought myself a pair!