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Thursday, October 16, 2014

12 Building Blocks To Qualify for Boston

With NU Hartford Marathon in the rear view mirror and MCM on the horizon I promised to outline the 12 blocks that I used to help me prepare to BQ after the intoxicating affects of the race wore off.  I set a respectable PR in the rain on Saturday but, I didn't go ghost busters given the weather-instead I decided to hold back until MCM later this month.  Before we get to the 12 blocks indulge me while I lay the foundation.  

NU Hartford Marathon October 11, 2014
Castor oil and Construction are two things that made Saturday's memorable for me growing up in Brooklyn not that they were enjoyable because they weren't-but they served a purpose. Castor oil was gawd awful and made me gag, but it prevented me from getting sick.  Working construction with my pops on Saturday meant I wasn't out running around with my friends.

I Always Look Forward to Seeing the Mums!!!
Saturday mornings were set aside to work with my father and it was during these times he taught me valuable life lessons and a thing or two about being a handy man that would prove useful when I became a homeowner. 

One lesson stands out from the rest and that's the one about foundations; so here we are painting an apartment, I say we but really it's all my pops-(I was on clean up carry this get that detail).  In the room there's a crack in the wall and my Father makes the crack bigger, being a curious kid what do you think I said? Why are you making the crack bigger?  My Father was a man of few words so he just grunted sucked his teeth-(Its a West Indian custom permissible by adults but considered rude if practiced by kids... Lol) and told me to just watch; so I sat back and watched after making the crack bigger he filled it with joint compound.  

Working on this post waving in the matrix.
When we finally took a break for lunch he explained the whole process to me.  My pops said in order to repair the crack we would have to make it bigger so the joint compound would have something to adhere to, but you have to be careful because if the crack comes back that means you have a problem with the foundation.  Awwww the light bulb came on and it all made sense.  

We can get all decked out in the latest running gear gadgets compression socks tights Garmin etc and don't forget the hottest kicks but, if we don't have a strong foundation we'll open ourselves up to injury.

The Blerch is Ready!!!  
So when I started training this year for NU Hartford more specifically trying to BQ I wanted to cross the finish line fast and injury free.  In order to do that I had to build a strong foundation which included spending more time on the road, getting some tools of the running trade and a solid blueprint-so I invested in a few books.

A Runners Reference Material
Now do you have to go out and buy these books? No. I did because I have a habit of writing in the margins highlighting dog earring pages etc and I don't Barnes and Noble or the library would appreciate it. Lol-plus I like to have them as reference material. 

12 BQ Building Blocks
The highted text are hyperlinks:

Hill Repeats: I found the steepest hill in my neighborhood to use for my hill repeats.  Dreaded them at first like Castor oil but swallowed gritted my teeth and learned to embrace them.  

Intervals:  This year I upped the ante and followed the advance marathon plan in The Big Book of Marathon and Half Marathon Training.  A variety of work outs paid dividends.

Trackwork:  Yasso's 800 were added in the training mix in previous years they were non existent.

Recovery:  Rest is a critical and necessary part of training, I had to learn to resist the urge to run everyday.  Some days I just did a little stretching which isn't the runners buzz I wanted but it fit the build.  I haven't built up the nerve to take an ice bath yet, but I hear its really cool.

Strength Work:  Quick Strength For Runners was a helpful at home guide with pictures and explanations of the individual moves and then nicely packaged into bite size training programs.  

Diet: I'm far from the cleanest eater-if that even makes sense-lol.  But, I do try and make a conscious effort to stay away from processed food and prepare most of my meals at home.  Eat what works for you.  Sweets, ice cream and treats are my achilles heel.  For this training cycle I stayed away from the frozen food aisle or wore blinders when walking pass the ice cream coolers.

Mental Game:  The mental toughness discipline and consistency that it takes to it takes to train for and run a marathon spills over into other aspects of your life.  Battling the urge to stop when your body starts to ache during a race or put off a run because of the rain or blah blah's, once I discovered my WHY there was no stopping me.  Find you WHY and I guarantee you it will exponentially empower harness the mental power necessary to keep going when you want to quit.  

Fun:  I had a blast this summer training, the introduction of the weekly challenges kept things interesting for me not to mention the added competitive benefit of racing without the race fees. 

Weight Training:  I was never a gym rat but, realized that weights could serve to build strength and explosive power.  I partnered with a PT for a some tips.

Celebrate Milestones:  I make a practice of patting myself on the back, I'm not obnoxious about it. Lol.  After a good work out, run or race like a good coach I acknowledge the accomplishment and focus on the next challenge.  

Don't Take Yourself Too Serious:  Running mentally free works best for me, it's not necessary to carry additional weight on the trail, so I learned how to just laugh at myself and keep it moving unencumbered.

Start a Blog or Journal: Blogging about my training was a great way for me to monitor my progress, it also kept me accountable in a strange way and forced me to look critically at my workouts.


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