Training is a game of chess

Training for anything is a game of chess. We are constantly deciding between when to do our workouts, what routes, distances, cadences, and intensities and how to interweave these into a plan that will carve our mind and bodies into the strongest it can be. It’s good to follow training plans for the first time, but with each race we learn more about ourselves and in doing so, we learn how to create our own training plans.

4 weeks from yesterday I take a plane into Portland, ME. This is the first leg of transportation en route to my marathon. Four weeks is not a lot of time.

Tomorrow marks my last long run. Some people will continue to run long 3 weeks before or even 2 weeks before. But this little girl can’t manage. What I can manage is this:

  • Going into a long run or race, I used to never take the day before off. I tried it a few times in this training round and it left me sluggish and slow. I have gone back to what works for me. I take the day before the day before the race/long run off. Confusing I know. But, if the race/long run is Saturday, then I take Thursday off, do a shake out run Friday, then race/long run. My body responds better to a short slow jog the day before. It warms up the muscles. It also gets me excited for the race/long run. Usually I want to go further, but I have to hold myself back.

Goodbye long run-see you in four weeks!

  • After tomorrow-I taper for 4 weeks. It’s a long time. But, I need the time to build up anticipation. I want to long forward to the race. I also need the physical recovery. My right foot needs some love. My first stress fracture in it was during my first marathon. Too much, too soon, for too long.

First marathon finish-in tears

  •       On the taper note-It’s mountain biking time. The Laramie Mountain Bike Short Track Series starts in two weeks. I will get 2, maybe 3 Tuesday night races in before the marathon. It’s great cross training and keeps my cardiovascular endurance up for the marathon.

Hello mountain bike with a race plate-how I have missed you so

After tomorrow I will deciding which pawns to move, kings…oh hell, I don’t really know how to play chess. Nor do I really know how to run fast marathons. I just know what works and feels right to get me to that finish line.

What have you learned from racing that has changed training for future races?


12 responses to “Training is a game of chess

  1. I’m definitely an over-trainer so there’s a lot I can learn from this. haha. I get nervous that I’ll forget how to run a long distance so I’ll do an extra practice. It’s all in your head, right? 🙂

    • Yup-it is in your head. Believe in yourself and your abilities. If you haven’t trained at all, you can be worried. But, if you have, then why worry?

  2. This post makes me feel a little better about my own training. I feel like if I try to stick to someone else’s plan, I pay for it but if I just do what I think feels and seems best, things go much better for me (at least this has worked in the past). I always feel like I am not logging enough miles for my upcoming marathon but as soon as I try to add more, I end up hurt. I’ll just have to hope that I at least make it to the finish line :)! Enjoy your taper!

    • I can’t log a lot of miles either because of injury. I had those same feelings my first marathon-that I had to follow the plan. I ended up over trained and injured. Keep doing what works best for you.

  3. Last long run! Good luck!!!! that is so exciting….although the taper is always the hardest part for me. I swear I always get these random twinges of pain while I am tapering. I bet it’s because my muscles and connective tissue are repairing. So 4 weeks will be so good for your body! 🙂

    • I will still run, just not anything over 12 or 15. It’s these long runs that kill me mentally. I like tapering because I feel like there is no pressure. Where as right now, I feel pressure to complete this long run.

  4. I am so looking forward to taper like you wouldn’t believe but I think it’s because we’ve been training for this marathon since the end of January (I think, if not sooner) and the marathon is on Memorial Day Weekend. I know. Why did we train so early? Well, the one girl I am running with was also pregnant so we both wanted a “base” training and therefore made it a bit longer. But yeah, I’m not sure how sensible that plan is/was because I also don’t want to drain myself. Though, feeling drained might also be from working full-time, taking care of a baby, etc.

    I think you’re being smart with your training. I know what you mean about some people still running long even 2-weeks before the marathon… I don’t even know how some people run race after race. Or what about the women that have kids and still run, run and run…

    Good luck on your last long run. I have 18 on Sunday with hard rain… So not looking forward to it. Then again, we’re eating at our favorite restaurant post-run, so that will certainly be a nice treat.

    • Food always motivates me. Beer too! I don’t know if I am an average or below average runner, but I am definitely not above average like those peeps that you talk about-running back to back races, strollers, ect. And I get training burn out too starting too early. Good luck with your long run!

  5. Great insightful post. I’m with you…I take the day before the day before the marathon off and so a 2-3 mile shakeout run the day before.

    I use training plans as a backbone, but improvise and make necessary changes for myself.

Thoughts? Ideas? Questions? I love hearing from you all!

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