Wednesday, September 3, 2008

How not to train for a marathon

1. Don't select a plan. Why use something created by people who know what they're doing? Just wing it. Surely you, a novice who just started running, can make up a plan to get you through this process successfully without injury to yourself or others.

2. Don't pick a marathon too far away. Just started running? Give yourself less than a year - maybe 8 months or so. Why wait, right?!

3. Run by yourself. On a treadmill. Nuff said.

4. Don't worry about following the plan you made up for yourself. That's too much hassle. Just run when you feel like it.

5. Don't bother changing your eating habits. Runners thrive on pizza and beer at least once a week, in addition to lots of Mexican food, margaritas and more beer.

6. Don't cross-train or do any strength exercises. Why bother? That's just adding more crap to your list of things you already don't feel like doing...i.e. running.

That's all I can think of for now. I feel like a colossal jackass. My marathon is a mere 53 days away and my daily mantra has become "Maybe this wasn't such a good idea." I'm freaking out about this. My training is inconsistent and at times, nonexistent. I think I should have given myself more time, especially considering what went on this summer with us moving to another state and trying to get our lives in order. I really could sit here and "coulda, shoulda, woulda" all friggin night. The bottom line is that I need to crack the whip and get my run on. I just don't know how (obviously since I've been saying this for months now...) Ok, I'm done with the whiny self-loathing. At least for the moment.

Last Sunday I had 12 miles on the schedule. Since I haven't found a great place to run that far I figured it would be fun to break it up and do 6 or 7 outside and then the remainder on the treadmill. That didn't quite work out as planned. I did the 6 outside but was mentally worn out. I realized I had a problem when I told Dave (who was biking with me), "I think I'm going to stop and walk at the corner". Now, "the corner" was about .4 from where I was supposed to stop. I had no reason to make that my endpoint other than that I was being lazy. I realized that if I'm choosing a point to stop - instead of just stopping - I don't really need to stop. It's not as if I'm injured in any way and simply cannot go on. I'm being lazy. So I didn't stop there. I finished it out. Then when we got home I did 2 on the treadmill and stopped. Mentally I couldn't go any farther. I think part of it is that we recently got my treadmill from Kim's house and whereas it was in the garage in front of a tv when it was at her place, now it's facing a wall and it's driving me insane. I haven't been able to run more than 3 miles on it since we got it back. I need to rearrange or something b/c this isn't going to fly.

In other news, work is going well. I forgot how entertaining it can be to work with the public. Last week I was chatting with one of the patients and she was asking me how I was liking the job and if I was adjusting ok and whatnot. I told her it was going really well and I was catching on but it's definitely a lot to learn, blah blah blah. To which she replied, "I always used to get diarrhea when I started new jobs." Wow. Ok. I didn't see that coming at all. Thank you maam for telling me more than I ever wanted to know about you and your waste system. She's this sweet 65 year old lady and no, she didn't even lower her voice when she said the "d" word. It was nuts. Somehow I managed to stammer (with a straight face nonetheless) "Well, I haven't had anything like that's good". I might have even held up my crossed fingers as if to say "here's to hoping...". Since bowel movements turned out to be a prevailing theme last week it's only fitting that another patient was talking about a "miracle bowel movement" she had. She literally used "miracle" and "bowel movement" in the same sentence. She was praising God for it and everything. I'm so upset that I didn't hear that firsthand. A few different people recounted the conversation for me. Ahh, good times.

I'm going to eat dinner now. My goal is to get up at 5 tomorrow morning and run. We'll see what happens with that. Maybe I should hire some kind of personal trainer or running coach or something. Hmm.


chris said...

Want me to e-mail you every day you have to run calling you names and such? Might motivate you...


*jen* said...

Chris, maybe you can call and yell at me every morning - like a drill sergeant via telephone. Hmm? Haha.

chris said...


Plus, you will have to wear a bluetooth head phone so I can continue to yell during the run. "Pick up your pace, slacker!!"

Anonymous said...

LOL at your conversation!!

Rachel said...

Jen I think you should set your cell phone to an alarm and just think of us all calling you at once to get up and run. That way you might go for the alternative--the alarm--and go run :-) Or you can just imagine the rest of us in our running bliss and know that you want to join us!

Emily said...

Funny stuff :)

Don't be too hard on yourself. The motivation you describe as lacking doesn't happen over night or just because you decide you are going to start running. You are working on it and haven't quit yet!! I like to promise myself that I will feel like a success whatever my tiny goal may be and my running has been feeling a lot better since.

Emily said...

Oh and that was SO funny about the "miracle BM"! I could picture what my facial expressions would have been had I heard that!

SueBob said...

So, how was that run this morning? Did you make it out at 5AM?

Julie said...

I have #6 mastered. Oh, and #2. Screw all that. All you have to do is get the miles in. Get your feet in your shoes and it will happen. So, put your running shoes next to your bed and when your alarm goes off, put your bleary-eyed feet in the shoes BEFORE you realize what you're doing. KEY: start running before you're awake enough to realize what's going on.

Make sure you get those long runs in though! If you need help with plan modification, or finding a plan to get you to race day, check out hal higdon's forum (Ask Hal!) at

*aron* said...

YOU CAN DO IT GIRLIE!!!! just get up and run! get those miles in, get the long runs in, start practicing hydration and fuel, etc and get going - you can totally do it! like julie said above - get running before you know what you are doing! just dont give yourself a choice and you will get the runs in.

and on those days when you want to stop and quit just keep pushing, those are the runs that will get you through on marathon day!

*jen* said...

Chris - that would work really well b/c I actually just got a bluetooth. :)

Suebob: I'm sure you know what I'm about to, type but the 5am run was a no go. I DID get out of bed, but my stomach was killing me so I figured it was my body's way of saying, "Go back to bed, Sugar. Get some rest. You can run after work." So I did. And I did run after work. So it's all good.

Thanks for your support guys, I appreciate it. And I would totally be up for people randomly calling me in the morning to tell me to get my ass out of bed and run, stomach ache or not. Maybe I can set up a tape recorder or something instead...Hmmm.

"If you think you can, or think you can't, you're right."

~Henry Ford