The hip issue caused me to miss two weeks. My plan was then to run the Country Music Half-Marathon in late April and use the next couple of months to build a big base for the Chicago Marathon, where I planned to go after a 2:13. But I was an idiot and decided to run the full marathon at Nashville, which put me out the very next day with Patellofemoral Syndrome, which was another two weeks lost. While I was still surprisingly fit after my first two week hiatus, I was dragging butt after my second one. And shortly after starting, I was dragging butt even more before seeing that my thyroid was running slower than I was and my iron was the lowest I've ever seen it before. So yeah, no Chicago Marathon for me.
So what's the plan now? I'm penciling in the California International Marathon on December 7th. If somehow I get in Superman shape really fast, I may swap that for the Indy Monumental Marathon on November 1st. It's the fastest course I've run on, traditionally has really good weather and the directors do a great job putting it on. If things go slower than planned, I may wait until the Houston Marathon again. Most likely, I'll see where my fitness is in September and use the San Jose Half-Marathon in early October as a litmus test to see if I'm ready for a marathon cycle.
But back to training...When designing a training plan, everyone has their goal race as their final destination. You know where you need to be (time goal) and when you want to be there (the day of the race). But before you can get directions to somewhere, you have to know where you currently are. If my spring season went as planned, I could jump into my normal routine....a couple weeks of base training, which mainly serve as recovery/downtime, a couple months getting 95% fit from the 5k-HM and then spending the last two months trying to prepare my body for the specific demands of the distance and course conditions of my goal marathon.
But since I missed so much time this spring, I have to take a different approach. The middle of May through the end of June will be nothing but easy runs. Just running around between 6:30-7:00+ pace. I've even refrained from strides and short hill sprints. I need to get my body used to the demands of running again and develop a little bit of aerobic fitness before I can start piling on harder running. And by keeping it easier, I can build my red blood cells back more quickly. Well, I think it works that way.
Once I hit July, I'll go back to my usual "base training". I'll throw in some easier progression runs, some steady runs, jump in some races and become more consistent with strides and short hills. I may even head to the gym that I've been to twice, even though I joined almost four months ago. I got a bunch of imbalances and stuff that I've been too lazy to work on but the idea of going to the gym to fix them sounds pretty good to me.
And once school starts in August, I will hopefully be back to consistent speed workouts. I'll be a little behind where I want to be, but I feel my fitness will improve quicker than it normally does. I'll also find some "race" races where I expect to throw down and also get whooped. During that time, I'll train with the intentions of someone preparing for CIM so instead of a lot of track workouts and flat running, I'll do a lot of hilly fartleks and get used to changing gears and rhythm, which is almost my kryptonite. So if any of you have run CIM and have any good tips, course thoughts, etc. feel free to let me know!
This long training cycle is going to take more patience and planning than usual. When things are going smoothly, I feel like the different training periods are little pit stops along the race track. I make small adjustments here and there and I'm back on my merry way. With the way things went this spring, it's like my car crashed and I have to rebuild a lot of things. Some things I know are missing, others will appear later.
It's a frustrating time right now but I have a long time to get back where I want to be. I don't have very many really fast seasons left, so I hated losing this past spring. But I have big plans for the next year or so, so I'll be back. And I will probably even go to the gym.