Saturday, May 28, 2005


I used to tell myself that I ran to keep fit for sailing. But if I am honest with myself, I now run for its own sake. How did this happen?

At first when I started running over 20 years ago I just used to jog around the block. After a few years I entered a friendly 10k race one spring in my home town. My old competitive spirit reared its ugly head and from then I was hooked on road racing and cross country. Mainly 5 ks and 10 ks but the occasional longer race. It got so bad that I even chose to do a running race sometimes rather than a sailing regatta. Sick.

Last year things really got out of hand. After a very active summer of sailing activities, the pace of my life seemed to be winding down. So, looking for a new physical challenge I decided to train to run a marathon in January. My training wasn't all that scientific but somehow I managed to stumble around the marathon course in just over 5 hours.

This year I'm going to run the Disney World Marathon again. But I'm going to train for it more thoroughly and hope this will result in a faster marathon time. There's that old type A personality coming out again.

I've decide to use Jeff Galloway's training program. I've bought and studied his book. Galloway's theory of marathon running is that you can actually do better by taking a walk break every mile. It means that different muscles get used and the running muscles get some time to recover each mile. This should avoid the agonizing cramps that many experience in the last 6.2 miles of a marathon. Been there - done that - don't need to do that again.

My eldest son is mildy amused that anyone could write a whole book about running. "What is there to say?" he asks. "Put one foot in front of the other. Repeat for 26 miles. What else is there?"

Jeff's system involves 4 days of running a week and 2 days of cross-training. I like that. I will bike for one day of cross-training and count the hardest day of Laser sailing each week as the other day. And under the Galloway system there is only one really long, hard day of running each week during training - which for me will be psychologically easier than the 3 medium hard days per week that I had to do last year.

I need to start the program in July so now I am training to train. The first few weeks of the program involve running 40,20,40 minutes on 3 days and then a longer run of an hour or so on the weekend. I've already built up to that level but without the hill running that Galloway recommends in the program proper. And I will aim to do this amount of running per week from now until July to create a base level of fitness before starting into the full program.

I don't plan to turn this into a running blog; there are enough of those for goodness sake. One of my favorites is Running Chick with the Orange Hat. I love her description of the last 6.2 miles of the marathon. She really captures the agony and the ecstasy. At one point she loses faith in Galloway.

Dammit. Jeff Galloway’s book made it sounds like walking through the water stops would leave me with all sorts of energy for the end of the race. I’m still waiting. Where the hell is that energy I was promised!! He's a big, fat liar-head.

But I still have faith.

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