THE TIME vs. THE TOLL
But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.– Isaiah 40:31
I have been in training for months now as I prepare to EVENTUALLY run my first marathon. I was originally planning to run in the Philadelphia Marathon, but it was cancelled this year. I am now HOPING instead that I can run in the Gettysburg Marathon, assuming it too, does not get cancelled. Unfortunately In my case two things have been affecting my training.
First, my day job has been hammering me with forced overtime for weeks now. In this past two week pay period i worked 129.25 hours. My ONLY day off is Sunday, and that day is designated by my training plan as my long run day. Sunday is also the day I TRY to write a weekly article. Sometimes I do not have time to finish and post these articles because I MUST go running.
Second, we’ve been having a heat wave here in South Central Pennsylvania and working 10 to 12 hour shifts 6 days a week in 95°F heat with high humidity has left me drained and exhausted. Last Sunday I barely was able to run 9.5 miles, and I had zero energy after work to go running all week. I work outside all day, and usually walk a distance of about 7 miles. Today I was planning on running 15 miles, and again on next Sunday, but it is raining! My training is suffering as a result, but as I stated in my opening paragraph I am currently unsure when or if I will be running a marathon this year. I do have three very important upcoming races this month, so the lack of ability to train has me greatly concerned. I’m running the Thirsty Thursday Races on August 6th and 20th, as well as the Double Trouble 15K/30K Trail run on August 16th. Training for these races is crucial!
WHAT IS TRAINING?
Athletes are often ‘in training’ for upcoming competitions of one form or another. Training is NOT the same as ‘working out’. Simply going to the gym a couple of times a week is just a normal part of being physically fit. Some type of regular exercise is needed to be healthy, there are just no ‘if, ands, or buts’ about it. Exercise can be anything from walking to riding a bike riding, lifting weights, or just going push-ups and sit-ups.
Training is a programmed series of exercise routines of increasing duration and frequencies, conducted over a period of several weeks or months, the purpose of which is to take the athlete to a higher level of personal physical performance. It is a battle against entropy. It is how a 40-something can beat a 20-something in a race. It is a way of maintaining that peak level of health and strength that the young take for granted. The harder you train, the better you are.
Most runners use the Hal Higdon marathon training program, or some variation of it. Hal Higdon is a writer, coach, and former marathon runner. He has run over 111 marathons and written 34 books on running. His proven training methods have stood the test of time. The basic training plan is a 20 week regiment of speed training, cross training, and a weekly long run of increasing distance, followed by a rest day. It can be found online for free. Although the information is readily available, training does have a cost. Time and commitment!
If you do not stick to the program, you will not achieve the desired effects. You MUST do the exercises, and you MUST put in the time. An ‘accountability buddy’ can help you stick to the plan, so find a friend and go run!
Skipping one week of training can undo two or more weeks of progress. Your muscles start to stiffen up and your body enters a reverse mode where it heads back to its normal resting point. Likewise it is just as possible to maintain the physical level achieved at the end of the training program by continuing to do those activities. This is why some highly competitive athletes are ALWAYS ‘in training’ and tend to be in the top spot for a very long time.
UNFORTUNATELY, the difference between the professional athlete and the amateur is that for the professional their sport IS their JOB, whereas the amateur must still try to fit in a full-time day job to pay the rent. A profession athlete can achieve amazing, even super-human achievements if they have someone else providing them with a constant source of revenue.
THE MARATHON OF HOPE!
In 1977, Canadian distance runner Terry Fox lost his leg due to bone cancer. He was walking again in just three weeks and soon began an aggressive 14 month marathon training program. In 1980, he sought sponsorship and donations to fund a bold attempt to run the entire length of Canada in the hope of increasing cancer awareness. Starting on April 12, 1980 Terry Fox began running the equivalent of a marathon EVERY DAY for 143 consecutive days, with an artificial leg! He had to abandon his 5000 mile quest on September 1st 1980 because his cancer had spread to his lungs. He ran a total of 3,339 miles. Nine months later he succumbed to the disease and passed away on June 28th, 1981 at age 22. He is considered a Canadian national hero and there are statues, parks, roads, and buildings named in his honor. His effort raised $1.7 million for cancer research.
500 Marathons in 500 Days! (And then some…)
Ricardo Abad Martínez is a Spanish ultrarunner and holds the Guinness World Record for most consecutive marathons, 607! Originally the plan was 500 Marathons in 500 Days, but upon completion of the goal on February 12, 2012, he upped the ante and proclaimed he would attempt another 500 bringing to proposed target to 1000 marathons in 1000 days. Unfortunately he failed to secure funding to finance his endeavor and he abandoned his plan after he ran his 607th marathon. He was 42 at the time. More impressive was the fact that he did while working a full-time job at a factory. In some cases, he even ran two marathons in less than 12 hours depending on if he ran after work, or before his shift began.
In my case, my day job has been hammering me with forced overtime for weeks now. In this past two week pay period i worked 129.25 hours. My ONLY day off is Sunday, and that day is designated by my training plan as my long run day. Sunday is also the day I TRY to write a weekly article. I apologize to my regular readers if it’s been hit or miss lately, but I’ve been a tad overwhelmed by everything. I’m hoping the rain stops at some point today so that I can at least do a short run. As always I wish you success and happiness!