Advice Not Taken

This is Day 3 of my Marathon Training program and I’ve encountered a conundrum.

I recently checked out a bunch of books from the library pertaining to running. My First 100 Marathons by Jeff Horowitz offers sage advice from someone who’s been there, done that in regards to the trials and joys of running. The Runner’s World Guide to Road Racing by Katie McDonald Neitz helps anyone from beginning to advance prepare for their first or fifty-first road race. Neitz’s experience as a runner and as an editor for Runner’s World establishes her credibility in competing in races from a 5k to a marathon. She also offers pointers on how to train, training terminology, diet, stretching, injuries, and strength training. In Run Your First Marathon, Grete Waitz, nine-time winner of the New York City Marathon (the marathon that I hope to run this November if I get selected from the lottery), also lends her wisdom on proper training, diet, and what to expect before, during and after the marathon experience.

Early in his book, written in small type above his personal training program, Horowitz makes this caveat to his readers – “It’s been said that there as many running programs as there are coaches.” Having had previously researched a variety of training programs for a variety of races including a half-marathon, I completed my first last May in the Delaware Half Marathon on the Riverfront, and a marathon, I completely agreed with his statement.

The problem that I faced before I began my training, and even now when I read someone else’s “perfect marathon training program,” is which training program should I choose? What one was the right one for me? And with that question I began to understand why there were so many programs out there being touted as the “best” or “ideal” training regime – it’s ultimately not about the training program, it’s about me.

In your quest to find the best of something, you’re most likely not going to find it. There’s just no such thing. The best for YOU, however, is a completely different story. My running shoes are amazing. Their comfortable, they protect my feet, and they get the job done. To me they are the best running shoes. But if you were to put my shoes on your feet there’s a good chance you would get blisters or a foot injury or black toenails or worse. There are a million different kinds of running shoes for a reason – there are millions of types of feet that will be wearing them. It’s the same for training programs. You need to find one that fits you. The questions remains – how do I choose the best one for me? How do I know?

Answering these questions should help you narrow your search:

1. What’s your running level?

2. Does the program include a gradual increase in mileage (10-15%/week), so I don’t get burned out?

3. Who created the program and is it someone who has my running level in mind?

4. Does the program include Rest days/cross training (XT) days to help me become a stronger runner?

After doing some research in books, on the web, and talking to others who have run marathons, I decided to stick to the Runner’s World marathon training program for beginners. It had everything I was looking for: a running regime for a beginning marathoner, Rest days, a challenging but feasible weekly schedule, and it was recommended by someone, Neitz, who had experience and knowledge about running.

Hope this help those floundering for direction! Here are two more websites for you to check out to help you in your decision: Runner’s World and The Marathon website.

    • Luke
    • January 14th, 2010

    regimen…not regime.

    • And that’s why I had you proofread the first draft of my novel – thanks. I always use regime inappropriately.

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