After last year’s Marathon, I was pretty sure I didn’t need to run it again.
But then registration opened last fall and I had run a qualifying time in the 2014 race. So I signed up. Just in case I changed my mind.
After a summer of bike racing, I switched to dryland ski training, and running was a big part of it. I was running well, without injury. I ran PRs in the BAA Half-Marathon and a 5k in early December. I was running to run. Maybe for fitness. Maybe for cross-training. Maybe to outrun my problems. The idea of the Marathon was there, but there was never a training plan and I wasn’t making any decisions until spring.
Then there was the winter. And my separated ribs in Monte-Saint-Anne. And the record-breaking snow fall. And the cold. I still ran. Maybe once or twice a week. I did a lot of skiing. The season was better for being on the snow than on the road. Seriously, it was hard to find the road most of the time. Heartbreak Hill was covered in snow in most of the winter. I invested in studded running shoes. And I didn’t worry about the Marathon. Because I hadn’t yet decided.
I squeezed as much as I could out of the ski season. Last year, I gave up a lot of time on the snow to train for Boston. This year, I didn’t worry too much about it. I raced the Tuesday Night ski races until the slushy end.
In early March, I drew up a plan. If I was going to run the Marathon, I would need to ramp up my mileage. I only had about 6 weeks to work with. I had plenty of aerobic fitness to work with, but the legs were questionable and potentially unreliable after 20 miles. There were risks. If I ran too much, I might end up injured. Too little and the Marathon would be a miserable experience.
So I built a plan around two concepts: No really long runs. And no taper.
Instead, I stacked my runs, doing two longish runs back-to-back, rather than one really long one. This loaded my body and legs more quickly but left room for a little recovery, and — in theory — would encourage my body to adapt more quickly. I didn’t have time to accommodate a taper, either, which was less a concern because the taper was always an awful experience with the fatigue, allergies and restless legs making me worry.
After 4 weeks of Marathon-focused training, I decided on April 1st that I would go for it.
It’s been full-on since then. No holding back. I’ve run speed workouts. I stacked 10-20-30km runs day-for-day. I got my massages. I’ve recovered. I tried not to think about a target time. I’ve run the finale several times because my office is now just a few blocks past the finish line on Boylston.
The last few days approaching the Marathon have been a struggle. I feel tired but fit. I can sense my body wanting to go into full recovery mode, and I’ve been fighting it by maintaining the distance and intensity.
I’m sick of running at this point. I’m ready for the bike. But the city is buzzing with runners and all the signs of the Marathon coming. And the energy is infectious. Last year’s race and motivation was very different for me and my family. This year has been under the radar, less stress, and may end up being a more comfortable race.
I’ll know in a few days just how well this plan worked out.