Perhaps this is a familar scene to you: The starting line looms a mere 12-14 hours away. You're sitting around the dining room table. The pasta and red sauce are steaming. The water glasses are full. The conversation is flowing. But what do well-tapered runners with too much energy and anxiety discuss the night before a race (or really over any social gathering involving the fleet of feet)? We talk about our training.
I found myself in this position before the Army 10-miler with some friends. To non-runners, this might seem dreadful, so much so that bamboo shoots under the fingernails may appear more pleasant. I remember Joel McHale making some comment on the Soup about his friends boring others with their marathon training tales *sigh*. But I love these conversations. Picture the scene from Once a Runner prior to the Wannamaker Mile when Bruce Denton and Frank Shorter are trading training stories...only less cool and much slower.
I always want to hear about how my friends and fellow runners are training, what they're eating (or not eating), and outlook for the next race, especially if we're toeing the line together. As I've mentioned in a previous post, we all arrive at that starting line from different places and for different reasons, and I love hearing about how people got there. It was over this meal when my friend brought out her new garmin watch, and her fiancee stopped the conversation whilst chuckling to himself. "What's so funny?" she asked.
"Runners," he said. "I can't believe how much we're geekin' out tonight on this stuff. It's great."
Where am I leading you with this, you may be asking? Well, my fantastic parents indulged me this year and purchased a 16-week training plan put together by Greg McMillan to get me to the starting line in Hopkinton in April. I've been on the hunt for what training program I'd use. To get to the Vermont starting line, I used the Runner's World SmartCoach, and that worked very well - I qualified afterall. But since adding the variety of workouts to my plate over the last 10-weeks, I wanted something a bit more sophisticated and customized.
Once my dad gave me the green light, I had hit purchase mere seconds after hanging up the phone with him. Waiting in my inbox the next day was a seven page questionnaire asking about me, my running background, current training (over the past 16 weeks), upcoming goals, race I was prepping for, and on and on. It was intense and took me all weekend to fill out.
When I sent it back in on Monday morning, I eagerly checked my mail each time I saw I had a new message. Of course, this morning became the one morning I hadn't thought about it (a little banged up after a holiday party last night), and it had arrived.
I haven't gone through each workout yet. We'll file that under "Awesome Friday night plans while waiting for your wife to get home with her mother." But, that is actually my plan tonight, particularly because it came with a seven page document explaining the workouts, a nutrition guide, marathon specific runs...and more.
To say I'm excited (and geekin' out) would be the understatement of the week (considering how some of this week went). The bonus is that my dad and uncle will geek out with me as well on this. After opening the program, the next move was to hit the forward button. There's already a Sunday night phone call planned to discuss.
Readers and followers of this blog will recall how I like a good plan, and training plans have become a staple. There was a Mark Remy blog post earlier this year following a marathon he ran over one weekend. A coworker asked if he wanted to go for a run and it paralyzed him. Without a plan, who will tell him how far to run, how fast, and what type of run it should be? All valid questions.
With one week to go on my pre-buildup program, I started getting antsy. But now, I can sleep easy knowing that the next 16-weeks of my life will be planned out (running-wise that is), and it will be there for me, tacked to the fridge, each time I go into the kitchen.
Speaking of, it's time to eat! That's what happens when your boss let's you work a half day and you squeeze in an impromptu 12-miler since it's supposed to snow 10-20 inches this weekend. I say let it snow...and I'll see you on the golf course. If anyone needs me, I'll be geekin' out tonight with my shiny new training program!