Thursday, April 26, 2012

Primal Marathon - The Experiment

I'm currently coaching the summer Team in Training marathon and half marathon team. The group is training for the San Diego Rock and Roll Half and Full Marathons as well as the Mayor's Marathon in Anchorage, Alaska. We began in February, and the season wraps up in June. I am lucky enough to be assigned the Event Coach for Alaska, so a long weekend trip to the wild is on my calendar this summer.

Team in Training is a huge part of my life. I've been involved for 11 seasons now, and have been a coach for the past three years. My best friends are from the program. Running marathons (and ultimately ultramarathons and an ironman) transformed my life. I am certainly not the same person I was back in 2007 when I started. Yet, after this season, I am planning on hanging up my running shoes (except for Goofy!) and trying out new sports within the TNT Program (did you know they offer cycle and hike events?!)

In my mind, I am closing a door on running marathons. Not locking it, but closing it for at least a couple of years. My mind and body need something different. I made this decision about a month ago. However, an email I got this morning has caused me to make one final exception...

The Nike Women's Marathon is supposed to be one of those events that falls into the "once in a lifetime" category. The race is not exclusively women, but they make up a significant portion of the field. Additionally, this is one of the TNT major events, meaning that LLS is the designated charity, and all TNT chapters from around the country attend it. In fact, my friend Javier will be coaching the SFV TNT group that will be there. And his wife Rachael is a participant on that team. And if that is not enough, my Mom will be making the trip to San Francisco for the weekend to see me complete it. And we are hopping a plane to Hawaii the day after for a much-needed vacation!

I have many reasons to do this race. So I will. However, I'm going to keep my training as primal as possible.

How? I'm going to experiment.
- My goal is to avoid Chronic Cardio like the plague that it can be. I will be "training" specifically for this event twice a week only.

- I will complete two "long runs" during the week. I am going to train by heart rate and keep my HR below 144 (my 75% max) to efficiently burn fat instead of carbohydrates. Essentially, my "play" days become slow run days.

- I will monitor how happy I am doing these long runs, and adjust them based on my mood, not on my schedule.

- I will do one of my two long runs/week on trails.

- I will get my carbs from veggies (and fruit on occasion) and stay away from grains.

- I will continue to Lift Heavy Things twice a week.

- I will continue to sprint once ever 7-10 days.

Will it work? I have no clue. It's a rather odd marathon plan. I'm certainly not setting myself up to break any speed records. But that's not my goal. My goal is to run/walk the race at a low HR, enjoy the scenery, and take in the experience of being amongst some great folks and a great cause. And through my training, refrain completely from burning out, running too fast or suffering under the dictatorship of a "training schedule".

This will be a very fun undertaking!

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