Well, the decision's made. I booked my ticket yesterday, then spent an hour or so writing up a training plan for the next 11 weeks. Here's what it looks like:
To be clear, I'm not going from 0 to 60 here. I started training months ago, and have been slowly rebuilding endurance and consistency since. I wasn't sure I'd attempt marathon this spring but I wanted to be in good enough shape to go for it if the weather cooperated and life didn't otherwise conspire to prevent it. Now that tulips are poking out of the ground and I'm recovered from the flu, I'm optimistic I can get where I want to be by race day.
You'll notice I've broken up a string of 30+ km runs with a 16k in week 7. Depending on how my body responds, I might replace another of the 30+ km runs with a shorter one. What I've learned training for other marathons is that running really long distances every week gets exhausting - especially if I'm doing hill training and tempo runs as well. To avoid injury or illness brought on by over-training, it's often better to do them every second week and give my body time to recover more fully in between. (Jeff Galloway and other running coaches recommend that approach so I know I'm on solid ground.)
I haven't found a great deal of information on the marathon course in Calgary. I have the impression it's hillier than one might expect. The official site mentions there's a steady climb between the 10k and 20k marks and rolling hills for the second half so it's certainly not flat. In general, I prefer a route with some hills since changes in elevation mean using my legs in different ways. On the other hand, long slow climbs are tough. I'm convinced that's partly what caused issues for me in Fredericton three years ago. I'll need to watch my pace carefully to avoid a repeat in Calgary.
Whatever happens on race day, it's sure to be a fun weekend. I'm planning to stay with my sister and her family for much the time I'm there, and joining forces with my blogging/running buddy, Keith, to take in some sights. If time permits, I'll also visit family friends who operate Chinook Honey in Okotoks, just south of the city. When I fly out on Tuesday, I'll head west to Vancouver to spend a couple of days visiting a beloved cousin and a few friends before jumping on a flight home. All in all, it promises to be a great trip.
But, first, I need to complete another 10.5 weeks of training. Wish me luck!
What about you? Do you do LSRs every week or break them up to give you body a break? What's the longest distance you run when training for a marathon? Have you ever run Calgary? What did you think of the course?