Thursday, December 12, 2013

Running Confession

Posted by CheapRunnerMike

There is a little widget on our site (just over there -->) that counts down to our next big race.  For a while now it has been showing the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend, where Michelle and Rhoda are running the Half Marathon on the Saturday while I attempt the Goofy Challenge (Half on Saturday and Full Marathon on Sunday).  Well as of today, the countdown sits at 30 days…under a month…and guess what?  This guy isn't ready.  At.  All.


For the month of November I ran 107 miles, which was my lowest total mileage since January (when I was coming back from injury).  December isn't shaping up to be much better either, as I'm only at 36 miles and we are almost halfway through the month, with Christmas just around the corner.

While the weather hasn't been the greatest with snow and freezing temperatures, I really don't have any excuse for not getting the miles in.  The biggest factor for me has been the lack of long runs.  I would get in great long runs all summer when we were spending time up at the cottage…Michelle has weekends off during the summer and we head up Friday night, giving me a couple of days to get in a good long run.  It's great up there because there are lots of great routes to choose from and I have lots of people around to watch the kids while I'm out for a couple of hours.  Since Michelle went back to working Saturdays however, it has been increasingly difficult getting out for the weekend long run.  I can't exactly leave the kids to fend for themselves for a couple of hours while I went for a run…just try explaining that one to child services (although if the child services officer was a runner, they would probably understand).  The long run…which is the staple of any marathon training plan…has been virtually non-existent for me lately.  Here's a snapshot of my running activity since the Chicago Marathon in October.


There are a total of 5 double-digit runs.  Two 10-milers, two 13.1's and one 15-miler.  Hardly the stuff PR dreams are made of.  It's my own fault really…I haven't given the Goofy the respect it clearly deserves.  I never had it in my head that I was going to go out and get a BQ, that was never the goal.  I just wanted to go out and have fun.  While that is great and all (that's what a Disney race should be all about), I don't think it will be very much fun if I am in pain and hating every minute of it.


So where does that leave me?  One month.  Realistically, I should begin my taper in two weeks…but taper from what??  Is a month (or two weeks) enough time to make up for missed training?  No.  But I can do my best over these next few weeks to at least prove to myself that I can come through the 39.3 miles feeling good (well, good enough).

It starts right now…when long runs can't happen because things like life get in the way, take it indoors.  I despise the treadmill.  Lots of people say that but I truly mean it.  Loathe isn't a strong enough word.  I love running outdoors, no matter how hot or cold it gets…I wear my 'extreme' weather outdoor runs like a badge of honour.  But when life hits and keeps me indoors, well…get on the treadmill dummy.


I'm going to complete a long run of 20 miles.  I need to do this just to get that feeling again of what a long run is really like…the time on the legs, the fuelling, the time inside your own head.  That all requires practice and I have missed out on it.  I will also focus on getting 4-5 runs in per week.  I have been closer to 3-4 the last few months and you really notice the effect one less run per week has on your base.

One thing in my defense is that the runs I have been getting in have been really good runs.  My pace is higher than it was all summer during marathon training and I have PR'd in both the 5K and 10K.  The races I have run have been really strong too…that all builds confidence.  I am pleased with the effort I put into my runs; I'm just disappointed with the number of runs I have gotten in. 

photo 1

What's better for marathon training?  Quality or Quantity?

Have you gone into a marathon (or half marathon) undertrained?  How did it go?


  1. man, this is a tough one. I'm a bigger new than you, but it seems you've maintained and maybe even elevated your fitness since Chicago. Maybe getting one 20 miler in for confidence. There is that rising in popularity training method that has you running 3x a week, but I like running too much to do that little.

    Just don't get hurt and maybe adjust the pace a little bit to reflect how you feel on your long run?

    I hate treadmills too! Unfortunately, my asthma has not been liking the sub 0 weather so far to get a good pace going, so treadmill for 4 out of my 6 runs a week.

  2. I would say a little bit of both quality and quantity. But always better to go in rested with some good long runs under your belt than overtrained from having 'raced' every training run and end up tired while you're actually racing. Just being real speaking from experience.

    You are a wicked FAST runner though and i have no doubt you're going to rock the Goofy challenge! The whole weekend sounds like you all will have a lot of fun!

  3. That's sort of my thinking too...I don't have any lofty goals, just running for fun which will be nice. I'm running the half with Michelle and I'm sure we will stop for plenty of pictures along the way.
    I'll try to use the treadmill and realize that it could be worse...

  4. Thanks Chelsea...the rest is nice, but I need to get a couple actual long runs in. I like the idea of rested legs though, it's a good point!
    You're bang on by the way...the whole weekend is all about having fun :)

  5. I think you will do great - get in a good 20 mile run for confidence and don't go too crazy trying to bump the miles in the next 30 days! You are stronger than you think!!!

  6. Well, I think you have maintained steady base pretty well so I don't think you are going in extremely undertrained. Yes, long runs are key but I also think there is something to be said about consistently running. You have had some quality miles this past month, and that counts. I guess my suggestion would be to 1. try and get 2 long runs in during the next month and 2. Try and increase the distance of your midweek runs. I found that increasing my base run distance really helped me. So if you up some of the 5's to 6 or 7s and up some of the 8's to 10's I think it helps. Either way you are going to do awesome at Disney, all 3 of you are.

  7. Good luck with your training! Although I am not a runner and haven't ran a marathon, I would think quality would be better than quantity.

  8. I'll definitely try to get two quality long runs in, and I like the idea of the slight bump in the midweek too. If it worked for you this last training round it must be good, cause you smoked your marathon!

  9. Thanks Melissa...that's what I have to hope for! Balance would be ideal, but you can't change the past.

  10. Sugar Coated SheridanDecember 12, 2013 at 10:45 PM

    You guys are such an inspiration to me! I've never run a full marathon (did complete one half!) but as soon as I have this baby, I plan to train for one and I'm going to be relying HEAVILY on blogs like yours to get where I need to be before that big race. I'm sure that you'll do wonderful!!

  11. Sounds like your training is going well! Good luck at WDW. I did the WDW marathon last year as my first marathon!

  12. Aw thanks Beth! We'll be here with bad, uninformed advice for you whenever you need it haha. Baby Sheridan will be here before you know it and then life will get REALLY why not throw in a dash of super-crazy and train for a marathon? Good for you!

  13. Oh nice! It looks like such a fun race, I can't wait!

  14. katie @ fromicecreamtomarathonDecember 13, 2013 at 12:41 PM

    I think you'll do just fine, Mike!
    I ran a marathon on Saturday, and since Chicago, my longest run had only been 16 miles!! I was a little nervous since I hadn't done any long runs in 2 months. But I did fine, no more pain than usual, and even got a PR. So I have no doubt that you'll do awesome!

  15. Well thanks for the motivation longest run has been 15 miles, so not far off. You did a great job at your race too! Way to go

  16. katie @ fromicecreamtomarathonDecember 16, 2013 at 3:13 PM

    Thanks Mike!