The first week of marathon training concluded on a positive note; I can resolutely say I achieved my training objectives including the running schedule, diet (thanks, Larry North), hydration, and recovery fronts. The last few marathons did not bring the finish times I had hoped for, so I went back to the book that could crack that code one more time. When I think about my best finish times, weather, temperature, sun/rain/wind had nothing to do with them. Remember NYC in the cold pouring rain?
Truthfully, the power is in my hands.
So, the challenge is to make sure I do what I know works. For me, keeping to the training schedule has never been the issue. However, in the hustle and bustle of everyday life, including the ups and downs of project work at the office, I do not always follow the other elements of marathon preparation as religiously as I know I should. For example, getting 8+ hours of sleep a night, stretching EVERY day, eating enough food as well as the right foods, and most importantly, allowing my body the recovery time it needs. That includes resting on rest days, keeping the legs propped up, and a new entrant into the mix...weekly massages after the long run to hasten muscle recovery.
I am happy to report that I stayed true to all these objectives during week 1; only 15 more weeks to go before D-Day.
On a related note, I also realized I needed a change of scenery...how many times can I complete the same 2-3 hour long runs in my west London neighborhood without getting bored out of my skull with the views. Seen it before..done it...been there.
Enter my 2010 long run training strategy. Why now combine two things that I love to do into one activity: running and sightseeing. Yet where can this American run in London each week with a minimal amount of hassle and car traffic but allow me lots of space to pack in a few hours of running? Let me think....let me think. Since running affords plenty of time to really get to know a place, I hit upon this brainstorm during Sunday's long run as I was reminiscing over my marathon training while tovisiting London in July 2000. The setting for those runs were Hyde and Kensington Parks.
Answer: London's great parks! Every weekend, I will pick a different park in which do my long runs. Even if I have to repeat a park here or there, it won't be that often!
And so, it began. In week 1, I checked out, for a little under 2 hours, Stamford Park Green (technically, not a park but it was on the way, so what the heck!) and Ravenscourt Park. It was a gloriously sunny day and one we had not had in London for weeks, and so I ran the mile or so to Ravenscourt Park to enjoy the park in all its sunny splendor for technically 1 hour and 30 minutes.
Next up in the park rotation? Not sure...guess you will have to check back next Saturday to find out..