Thursday, April 2, 2009

Marathon Training Program: Part II: A

CM SEAL Team blogger: Tim Grizzell

“I've not found any experience which bestows the high level of satisfaction, accomplishment and self-respect as one receives from finishing a marathon--at any speed.” – Jeff Galloway

I mentioned in Part I of my four part Completing a Marathon series that you need to determine which category that you fit in prior to choosing a marathon training program. The other factor to consider when selecting a program is your end goal. Some individuals just want to complete a marathon. Other people might have a time goal in mind. Your marathon goal, running experience and fitness level all play an integral role in how you train for this race.

Just as important as selecting the correct training program is ensuring that your mind and body are ready to begin your training. I would submit to you that you ideally should have a year of consistent running under your belt prior to entering into a marathon training program. At a minimum, I would recommend at least three months of pre-marathon training running. You need to be comfortable running 4 to 5 days a week with distances ranging from 3 to 6 miles. In spite of what I just told you, there are a number of individuals who throw this advice out the window. They begin their training on Day 1 of marathon training. I do not suggest you do this, but just telling you what reality is for some and it is completely doable – not recommended.

Secondly, you must be mentality prepared for the “commitment.” Look – all of us need to make time for fitness, right? You need to take care of your body and your body will take care of you. Staying committed to fitness is one thing. Staying committed to a marathon training program as it starts to ramp up in mileage is something different. Your body will undoubtedly want more rest than usual. Your body will demand that you fuel it correctly. Garbage in – Garbage out! It always amazes me when I hear people who are training for marathons say, “I can eat whatever I want.” Yes and no. Sure, you burn a lot of calories when you are training, which allows you to indulge. Yet – you do not want to make it a zero-sum game. You need to burn more calories than you take in so you will be as light as possible the day of the event. You want that powerful motor inside of you pushing the weight of a Ferrari chassis, not the weight of Sherman Tank – especially over 26.2 miles.

Another thing to take into account is the ability to garner support from your inner circle, especially those of you with families. One of the key components to marathon training is the weekly long run. It can take up to 3+ hours in the late stages of marathon training, and that is just the running part of it. Post-run stretching and recovery activities (i.e., re-hydrating, sleeping, etc.) can all take more time. In addition, as your weekly runs get longer you will have to carve out more time for these as well. In the end, you must wake up earlier. I recommend that you do all of your running in the mornings anyway. All marathons (at least the vast majority) start at “O-Dark-30” (i.e., Navy SEAL speak for “before the sun comes up”) so your body needs to be accustomed to early morning physical activity. The bottom line is that you want buy-in from your close supporters. You can get this support by minimizing the impact on your family’s daily routine. Early mornings (before anyone else in the house is awake) is a great time to train.

I would be happy to answer any questions about marathon training you might have as you get further into race preparation.

Monday: Training Programs Part II: B

Fired UP!


Guest Blogger Tim Grizzell is a former U.S. Navy SEAL officer who led SEAL units in the Middle East, Europe and Asia. He is currently starting a running apparel company that will be officially launched in second quarter of this year. He has run numerous marathons. Tim resides in San Marino, California with his wife and their three young children.

Tim met Alden when Alden had just graduated from Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) training and he had just arrived to begin BUD/S training.

No comments: