Friday, September 07, 2007

Front End Loading: My New Mentality

1 crank gel
1 Cliff shot gel
30 ounces of water
16 ounces of Gatorade
3 hours and 7 minutes of listening to my favorite songs
1 10 minute ice bath

The feeling of finishing my first 21 miler of marathon training this year?

Uh, duh! Relief!

Yeah! I did it! I got my first week of marathon training exactly where I wanted it. Maybe not so much with the pace but that will improve. I still have what? 10 weeks to improve until the Chickamauga marathon. Definitely better off than I have been before other marathons.

My new approach to training is "front end loading." I did not make up this term. I am stealing it from my good friend Deanna who often says at parties, when she is the driver, that she has to "front end load." What she means is that she is going to get her drink on--cut herself off and ride the buzz-- and still give herself several hours to get good and sober before she has to drive. This works well but you do have to know when to say when and stick with it. Point is you have a good time and still keep yourself feeling good without consequence.

So it occurred to me that I might should try this with my nutrition on my long runs. I tried it today and admittedly, it is hard to want to do it but man what a difference it made at the end of a long run.

I started out around 9:30 this morning. It was about 75 degrees and little breezy and a lot less humid. Nevertheless, I was totally dreading the run. Did not want to do it. I was tired just thinking about all those miles.

I brought with me one of those water bottles that wrap on your hand, a crank gel, a clif shot gel and 2 bucks. After the first mile I took a sip of water every 5 minutes.

Even still the first 3 miles completely sucked. They are all uphill and my calves were so heavy and tight; felt exactly like the muscle needed to free itself from my skin. I stopped in the middle of a hill and hung my heels over the curb to stretch. The muscle relaxed and felt better so I ran on. In the 4th mile I started to feel good and had picked the pace up by the 5th mile.Right before the 6th mile was my first planned stop. On long runs I usually hold out til the 7th mile to stop. I was really feeling my grove but I had to stop. I made myself drink half of the water I was carrying and had a crank gel. Totally did not want it or felt like I needed it. Refilled my bottle and ran on taking small sips every 5 or so minutes.

I continued to feel good but around 10 miles I had to stop was I had reached the last place for me to refill my water until 18 miles. So I drank half and refilled my bottle again.

Around 13 miles I had my Clif shot gel. Walked for a minute and drank some water. I think I may have waited a little too long here as I started to feel a little yucky but it could have been an emotional thing and I also really hate this particular leg of my run. It is 2 roads that are very boring and totally 4 miles. I always feel very lonely and sad but these roads are a lesser evil to my other hillier options so I suck it up. The gel must have kicked in around 16-17 miles because I started to feel all happy again.

I made myself stop before the last 5k. I dumped out the water and filled my bottle with ice and Gatorade. It was cold and delicious. I took a sip of it every 5 or so minutes of the last 3 miles. I was even able to push up the final hill before my house. Best of all, I finished this 21 miler feeling like I could have gone a few more; and that is how it is suppose to be done.

Around all the other running blogs everyone is talking about what marathon plan they are following so I figure I'll throw my unplan out there into the bunch too. I say unplan because every time I have ever tried to follow a plan I end up deciding I don't like it and do my own thing.

Goals: Running 4-5 days a week. MPW; 50-70 except taper and possible cut back weeks. Increase in mileage is roughly 10-15% of mpw; e.g. if I run 45 one week the next I shoot for 50. Base line is 40 mpw--I will try not to go below this. 1-2 cross training days.

The Plan Breakdown
The Recovery Run: 1-2 a week of 4-10 miles at whatever pace feels comfy. I just don't want to think about pace. I just want to enjoy the run.

The Speed workout: 1 a week: 3-8 miles on the treadmill--ladder or negative split runs. Any race I do will replace speed workouts. Also, speed workouts will be the first to get cut after cross training.

The 2 hour Run: Run at or close to marathon pace. (12-16 miles) For me this means 7:50-8:35 pace. I am not quite there yet but I think once it gets cooler it will not be a problem.

The 3 hour Run: 17-25 miles run 30 seconds to one minute slower than marathon pace--so 8:30-9:30 pace. Ideally, this training cycle I want something like this: 2 17-19 milers, 3 20/21, 2 22/23milers, 1 24/25 miler.

Cross training: 1 swim (1 mile) and 1 bike (20-30 miles)a week. I may need to add some weights but I am going to try without. I hate lifting. Bores me to tears and I just feel silly doing it. Cross training will be the first thing cut if I can't get all my runs in.

Race Goals:

Half Marathon: sub 1:40--ideally closer to 1:30.
Marathon: PR but really sub 3:40 and ideally 3:30.

So I still have one day left and I've pretty much met my goals:
Sunday: rest
Monday: 6 miles recovery
Tuesday: 16 miles 9 minute pace
Wednesday: 23 mile bike ride @16+ mph
Thursday: 8 miles in 57 minutes. 600 meter swim.
Friday: 21 miles @ 8:55 pace.
Saturday: Probably an easy run and a swim--maybe bike since Meme has offered to take the kids to a local b-ball game.

But then again, maybe nothing. As tonight is my sister's bachlorette party. I've got a night of drinking and dancing and clubbing with the kittens laid out for me. I may be an old cat but I can still kitten it out when need be. Tomorrow, though, for sure there will be fall out. However, perhaps a little front end loading will be in order to avoid riding the hangover train.


  1. As I read all these plans and routines you've so meticulously laid out, I can't help but wonder - Why didn't you do this stuff when you were doing things like going to school, or just having a regular day. It's occured to me what a good planner you've become and its' something that was so foreign to you growing up-no matter how much it was recommended. Is this what having kids has done for you? Thank them every day for banishing the chaotic Nat you used to be. love, Lala ps. you'll get it back after they grow up and leave home!

  2. A very nice 21 miler...I try to preload during my long runs and it seems to work quite well for me too.

    I like your plan Ms Natalie!...You need to move up here so we can train together...your goals are so much like mine. ;o)

    Enjoy your party...No..I'm sure you all will!

  3. A 21 miler your first week of training? LOL. You rock!!!!

    Hope you had fun at your party! I ain't no old cat. LOL... and I'm older than you...

  4. My goal is a 3:30 marathon too, and will strive to run many MP miles at 8:00 minute per mile pace throughout the week. You're going to be as tough as nails with those planned long runs! I hope to learn much from your blog these next 10 weeks!!

  5. Yay! Your plan looks great!

    If you want to do the big ride in the morning, let me know.