First...My condolences to my fellow Jayhawks out there. Sad day, huh? But be encouraged! We'll reload and be back on top in two years. :)
Today is a marvelous day of REST. Praise God! I enjoyed sleeping in until 8:00 and waking up naturally. The weeks get so long and tiring, that I really do come to rely on these days to recharge. They're so much more than a luxury. They're an absolute necessity.
Now, before I jump into this discourse, I want to make one thing VERY clear. I LOVE TRAINING! :) I'm having an absolute blast and totally living my dream. God is SO good, and I wouldn't trade a minute of this. It's a blessing in EVERY way, shape and form.
But, because I want to take you into the marathon training experience as much as I can through this, I want to share today what the typical training week looks like and just exactly what all is involved. It will sound regimented, and it is. But it is NOT said in a spirit of complaining. It's one of the most marvelous lifestyles a person can live! (Just not for long periods of time. haha!)
We'll start with the runs themselves. At this point, I have three "easy" run days, two longer tempo/speed runs and one long run. Six days per week of running and one day of letting the body relax. For the easy runs, I'll do what I would normally do without being in training. I don't know how or why I got into the habit of doing 6.3 miles, but that's just what I do. haha! It's weird, but it's what I do. Those days are just gravy. Takes me anywhere from 51-55 minutes, depending on how beat up I am from the day before.
The tempo/speed workouts are typically 10-12 miles, and they are the hard workouts for the week. They're awesome! Tempo runs just mean that you run as hard as you can at a consistent pace for the entire distance. It reeeeeeeally prepares you for the marathon better than any other workout. Those happen two days a week: Tuesday and Thursday.
Saturday or Sunday is a long run. At this point, that's anywhere from 18-22 miles. In these, I'll start out slow and gradually drop the pace to somewhere around what I want to run the actual marathon in. Most runners don't run their marathon pace during their long runs, but I try to get some miles in at that tempo. It seems absurd to me not to. Especially the last few miles. I want to go into the race having confidence that I've kept a low pace at the end of a long run before, and that I can do it again.
That's the running schedule. Here's the rest. :)
During the week, I'm up between 4:45 and 5:00 a.m. I have a cup of coffee to wake my body up and spend time in prayer before I go out. I like 30 minutes with the Lord before I hit the road. It really prepares me and helps me focus and, more than anything, remember that I'm doing this to bring Him glory.
After 30 minutes, I start my running prep. I change into my running garb, hop on my foam roller to massage out the muscles focusing on my adductors, IT band, calves and glutes. Then I stretch for a few minutes. I always use this time to put some sports drink in my body, too. I load up my Garmin watch, put on my iPod, strap on the shoes, pop in a piece of light blue Stride gum and hit the road.
When I get back, the recovery begins. This part is pretty important. Your muscles are more open to receiving fuel within a 30-minute window after your workout, so it's important to get some nutrition in them soon.
What I do is start by showering, jumping back on the foam roller and stretching. That takes about 15 minutes. Then I get started feeding myself. My favorite post-run meal is coffee with skim milk and oatmeal with peanut butter. Protein, carbs and fat. Gotta love it! :)
Icing is also reeeeeeally important after a run. Especially with my crazy body that likes to embrace any and every injury possible. :) After I've fixed my oatmeal and coffee, I grab a couple of ice bags and head out to my computer desk. Usually during this time I will spend some time doing a devotion with the Lord so that I can feast on His Word, and then I will blog.
By this time, I'm usually running about 5 minutes late for work. hahaha! But I hustle to get ready and head out the door usually by 7:45.
Here's one of the perks to working at FCA. They let you have a little time during the day if you want to work out on business time. That is SOOO helpful for me! I usually take 15 minutes during the day to devote to strengthening exercises. I will focus on my core muscles because those are absolutely critical when it comes to maintaining alignment and running healthy. (Imagine how many injuries I'd have if I didn't do these. haha!) I try to get those done early in the day before I plug in so that I can focus on work for the rest of the day.
After work, I head home and run errands or whatever, but I try to be back by 5:45 to start dinner. I try to eat by 6:30. My evening then gives me about an hour or so to do whatever evenings call for. Paying bills, cleaning, working on Military Ministry fundraising, etc. Then, by 8:15-8:30, I have to start shutting it down. I get ready for bed, spend about 15 more minutes debriefing the day with the Lord, hop back on the foam roller, stretch, read my Bible, prepare some toast for a last-minute snack and then hit the hay. Usually lights are out by 9:30.
Then we do it all over again! :)
The beauty of marathon training is that you can take it as seriously or as easy as you want. It's totally up to you and what your plate can handle at the moment. For me, I have chosen to jump in wholeheartedly and really try to do this with excellence. It's part of who I am that I get so intense and focused. And I just love it! There's nothing like putting in a ton of work and reaping the blessings of it. Scripture is FILLED with verses about how hard work leads to blessing. Plus, I just LOVE Colossians 3:23-24: "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving." If there's any verse that keeps me going, it's that one.
Yes, this training is tough. Yes, it's time-consuming. Yes, it is HARD WORK. But, it is SO worth it. Every run, every pain, every mile. Every sound of the alarm clock, every early bedtime, every bite of oatmeal and whole wheat pasta. It is ALL worth it because none of it is wasted in the Kingdom of God. What we're doing has purpose. What we're doing has meaning. We're doing this to bring hope and healing to our soldiers. We're doing this because we love those who selflessly love us. And, I wouldn't want it any other way. :)
-For rest and recovery today.
-For healing on my right foot.
-For our troops to be blessed with spiritual healing, and for our military chaplains to be equipped to minister to those looking to them for help.
-For Military Ministry.
-For the continued funding of the race team! Visit us online at http://www.militaryministry.org/home/running-for-the-troops
Love you all! Thanks so much for the prayers and support! :)