I've never been one to really follow a schedule. I mean, I go to school when they tell me to, show up to work when I'm supposed to, but other than that, my adult life has always tended to be a free for all. Our first born easily followed suit. From the day he was born, he never followed a schedule. Slept when he felt like it, ate when he was hungry, filled his diaper when he got around to it. The result was a carefree, go-with-the-flow baby. It's very nice knowing we could go out for the day and not worry about having to find a place to stop and eat lunch at exactly 12:15, or worry that the trip to the aquarium might interrupt nap time and result in a miserable, screaming baby. On the flip side, the variability from day to day would often end up in a going-to- bed time range of anywhere between 7 pm and 3 am.
Baby #2 on the other hand, has put HIMSELF on a strict schedule, and if you don't feed this kid or put him down for nap according to HIS schedule, you better watch yourself. I'm not kidding, this adorable little toddler can morph into a vicious gremlin if you feed him 30 seconds past his deemed appropriate mealtime, according to HIS schedule. But on the flip side, knowing that he will go to bed at 8:15 every night without any fuss is fantastic (whether or not he stays asleep is another story, for another post). And nothing beats not having to worry about a diaper explosion mid shopping trip, because little man takes care of his business at 8:00 am every morning, without fail.
Following a schedule results in predictability. Sometimes this is good, sometimes this is bad. Following a training schedule in running results in predictability. You know you can run a set distance at a set pace, because you've followed your training schedule (things such as weather and race day stomach issues do not count in this theory! )
So really, it should be no surprise that my four incredibly unpredictable, not close to what I'd hoped they'd be marathons are the result of not following a training plan.
Sure, I always started out with the best of intentions. And sort of based my long runs (the ones I got around to) around a set plan. But the speed work, tempo runs, and cross training? Free for all. I did what I did when I could, and called it a day. My mileage always ended up being a fraction of what it should have been.
The truth is, I aspire to follow a training plan from start to finish. I want to be able to look proudly at the calendar on the wall full of big black X's through every day. I wonder what a difference it will make to my running, to have followed a plan and put in the mileage I was supposed to? I imagine it will make a significant difference. After all, that's why people follow these things, right?
So this morning, after making my week late 2010 New Year's resolution to follow a freaking schedule for once in my life (while taking everything in stride of course), I sat down with Rowen's Crayola notepad, a pen, and made this bad boy. 16 weeks of F.I.R.S.T marathon training, ending in the Vermont City Marathon on Memorial Day weekend. It is hung on the door of the office/game room/playroom for the world to see. Well, at least for me and the plethora of Fisher Price toys.
I'm using the "4:00:00 Boston plan" from the book "Run Less, Run Faster". Yes, I realize my BQ time is a 3:40, but 4:00 is what my sights are currently set on. Actually a 3:59:00 but they don't have that in the plan, haha. I can run a 22:xx 5k, a sub 2 hour half marathon, so darn it I need to prove to myself that I am NOT a 5 hour marathoner (not that there is anything wrong with 5 hours!). My very first marathon was a 4:37, and the last three in a row were well into the 5 hour range. I know I can do better, I know I have it in me.
I want this.
It's a 3 days a week running program, with 3 days of cross training (or in my case, triathlon training!) and one day off. And with my brand new black magic marker in hand, I am committed to getting it done and crossing off those boxes. Starting February 8th of course :)
Happy running my friends, hoping you all have a big fat "check" on your training calendar today!