The lazy person’s guide to marathon training

I feel like a superhero when I wear my running shoes, flitting about the city with springy steps. I can traverse the distance between cities without a bike or a car. I might as well be flying.

Today I run 18 miles. My 17 miles last week was challenging, but doable. Next week it will be 20 miles, and then I will taper for two weeks, and then I’ll run 26.2 miles. (!)

I’m too cheap/poor to afford a gym, massage, or new workout gear. This cheapness has extended to finding where else I could skimp. In trying to do as little as possible, I’ve learned what must be done.

I haven’t done any strength training (except some yoga to during the first month). Cross training was biking to and from work most days, about 20-25 minutes each way.

However, when running 5 miles feels longer and more grueling compared to the 11 mile run a few days before, I realized the value of sleep. The suffering induced by ignoring stretching properly and getting my seven hours of sleep makes the little effort it takes a welcome trade off. Not sleeping is like trying to run with a full bladder and carrying a backpack.

When running long distances, I find interesting, weird aches.  Like a muscle that runs from ankle to knee on the outside that consistently seems to cramp up around the 12 mile mark and dissipates if I push through.  The weird feeling that the muscles that attach to my coccyx want to give up being attached around mile 15. The inability to really feel pain in my legs around mile 10. I expect and embrace the logical result of such a punishing activity.

But I will be splurging on a new pair of shoes that will save my one pair of knees for use during future races and the rest of my life. Shoes are temporary,  knees are forever.


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