Wednesday, May 16, 2012

2012 Pittsburgh Marathon Recap: The Prequel

Let me preface this by saying again that this was not only my first marathon, but also my first race.  Unfortunately, thanks to a nagging IT Band problem, I also only trained for 14 weeks.  So I was literally "a runner" for only 14 weeks before running in my first marathon.

I know that this is generally a big "no-no", and a lot of running-smart people recommended I drop out or at least cut back to the half.  I figured I know my body best though, and decided that I would train as best as I could.  If I needed to cutback later, I knew I could and would.  Since I was building miles from scratch and recovering from an injury, I didn't run more than 3 miles at a time until mid-February.
I wouldn't recommend this approach to anyone, but not because it didn't work.  I actually thought it worked great for me.  It's obviously not ideal, but I made it work in the time frame that I had.  I felt I was trained well enough to safely complete the marathon, and I did.  I think there were a few key factors in my favor though.
The first is that I wasn't starting from scratch, completely.  I've been an athlete all my life, and until the IT Band issue popping up in October, was still playing soccer every week.  From October to January, I was still weight training, core strengthening, and swimming.  I had a fitness base, even if not a running base.
The second is that I was able to address concerns as they popped up.  I'm pretty in tune with my body, and my physical therapy background certainly doesn't hurt.  Jumping into running certainly brought on little aches and pains, but I was able to thwart them off fast and effectively.
The last, and perhaps the most important, is that I was prepared to aim low.  Though I did set some modest goals as race day came closer, I was mentally prepared to be content with a finish.  I knew pushing it and being unrealistic was just asking for trouble.  Running a marathon has long been a goal of mine, and I've always found a reason not to.  I was signed up early specifically so that I couldn't bail out with a lame excuse, and I wasn't going to let the opportunity slip by.

So I wouldn't recommend my shotgun marathon approach to anyone else, but only because everybody and every body is different.  It worked for me, well enough.

No comments:

Post a Comment