I arrived at this brilliant conclusion after an 11-mile run OUTSIDE yesterday. That's right, folks, the great heat wave of 2011 broke late last week, making it a comparatively cool 88 degrees with 85 percent humidity during my run. As is regular for me lately, I spent about the first five miles mentally defeating myself by thinking about how I can't run a marathon because I have slacked off the past month and how even this training run was going to suck. (I am a really awesome running partner, it turns out.) Then I got to mile six, found a water fountain, ate two Gu Chomps and found a running trail and just like that, I was back into it. I don't know what happened or why, it was just like everything flipped, instantly, and I was happy to be out on a long run and happy to be training for a marathon and looking forward to all of the rest of it. Endorphins, maybe? The intense magic of the Gu Chomps (I LOVE THEM AND THINK THEY WORK SO WELL THAT USING THEM IS BASICALLY CHEATING)? I do not know. All I know is that even when my legs started to tire out around mile 10, I just kept on trucking until I got home. I was a rockstar yesterday. And I want to be able to keep that feeling going, and I think the easiest way to do it is to have a specific plan for each week and each day so that instead of waking up and thinking, "Well I think running around eight miles today makes sense," and then at night thinking, "OH DARN I GOT STUCK AT WORK UNTIL 9 AGAIN OH WELL I CAN DO THIS RUN ANOTHER DAY," I can wake up and think, "I am going to do a one-mile warm-up and a five-mile tempo run and a one-mile cool-down and it is On The Schedule so I better Get Up Now At 5 AM to get it done." With the random capitals, and everything.
I also think sticking to a schedule will effectively eradicate all of the naysaying demons in my head. Yes, I am behind on training. But yes, I have built enough of a base and I have enough time left (10 weeks) to be fully prepared for the marathon if I get myself in line right now.
So! That is my plan! And here is my plan for the week:
Today: rest or cross-train
Tuesday: 10-minute warm-up, 5 x 3 minutes fast, 3 minutes easy, 20-minute cooldown
Wednesday: six-mile run
Thursday: high/low (7.85-mile run with lots of hills)
Friday: rest or cross-train
Saturday: four-mile run
Sunday: 12 miles
Obviously that's a LOT more running than I have been doing, so Saturday may turn into a cross-train or rest day as well, just because the last thing I need to be doing is aggravating my random injuries. (Note: I did twist my ankle again on my run yesterday, but it was very minor. Also, wtf with that? Am I really that clumsy of a human? [Answer: yes, it is ridiculous that I even feel the need to ask this question.]) I am, for the first time in a long time, optimistic about my training. Which is happy. And fueled by Gu Chomps. (Seriously, they're AMAZING. I love them more than I love cotton.)