Cleaning Up a Few Odds and Ends

Even with my latest set-back on the hamstring front, time marches on and I still need to get ready to start my marathon training on Monday. It seems as though the elliptical and I will remain training buddies for a little longer and while it is definitely frustrating to start this marathon training cycle injured, that does not mean that I won’t be successful – it just means that I have to do train things a bit more creatively and smahtah.

So I want to get some thoughts out of the old noggin, reflect on a few changes I have made and just make a general nuisance of myself as I talk some more about getting ready to start my marathon training.


Part of getting getting the marbles and rocks in my head wrapped around what I need to do to finish a marathon this fall and make it something other than a fantasy.

I have been re-reading “How Bad Do You Want It” by Matt Fitzgerald and it is forcing me to to think about my past failures and what I really want when it comes to running another marathon. The following quote from the book, pretty much sums how I see many of my struggles:

…a large body of psychological research has demonstrated that the more time people spend fantasizing about desired outcomes — everything from passing school exams to losing weight — the less effort they put into pursuing them and the less likely they are to achieve them. Distinct from mental rehearsal, or practicing a sport in the mind at rest, which is proven to enhance performance, fantasizing about desired outcomes is a maladaptive coping skill that may be associated with a lack of confidence in one’s ability to make these outcomes happen through one’s own efforts.

Yep, sounds pretty familiar to me. Fantasizing about how great I will do and by how much I will be under the Boston Qualifying time is something I have done too much of over the years. After all I “know” I can finish a marathon, it was always a question of how fast.

Even before I started re-reading “How Bad Do You Want It”, I knew that I had change how I viewed my training for the marathon and that I had to make it reality based. Which meant that I had to stop thinking that I could finish a marathon just because I thought I could. The book reinforced that the direction I had already started going intuitively…was the direction I needed to keep going.

Being willing or “knowing I can” are separate concepts that need to be made into me actually doing the work, all while listening closely to what my body is telling me during this marathon training cycle.

The other thing that I need to focus on is that training for a marathon is a process. It is not about being willing to work hard, because I already know that training for a marathon is hard work, otherwise it would not be an accomplishment.

However, my training this cycle has to avoid my propensity to do too much, too soon, which results in being overtrained, fatigued and usually injured. I have to keep focused on doing the proper work in training for me – not anyone else. So that I am prepared, healthy and confident – in other words ready to run when I toe the marathon starting line.

Re-reading “How Bad Do You Want It” by Matt Fitzgerald meant much more to me this time and made me look at the journey I am on quite differently. Now to stop fantasizing about how I should be able to finish a marathon just because I think that I can and get my arse in gear to do the work necessary.

This has to be my focus this training cycle.

Running Log Spreadsheet

I have made some changes to the spreadsheet that I use to officially track my running – Stava and Garmin Connect are just repositories for my GPS data and places where I can see how some people I know are presently running. I did a bit of reorganizing to make things easier to read, deleted columns that I didn’t really need and focus more on what is important during this training cycle for me.

My old Spreadsheet fields:

Updated Spreadsheet

I added fields for planned mileage/workouts, elliptical run equivalent and steps. The Planned column is important for me to keep track of what comes next, which is something that I tend to wing too much. I need a set of safety rails to keep me mostly on track and having the daily training plan in this spreadsheet does that.

Something I took out a couple months ago, but I added back is the daily step amount. The guesstimate on the number of daily steps that my Garmin gives me, gives me something tangible that I can track regarding how active I have been.

When I look at those two columns to see what’s going on versus what I am going to be doing, hopefully it will give me a heads-up if I am headed down the slippery slope of doing too much. They might even help me avoid some of the overtraining or overuse injuries that seem to happen when I train for marathon and get caught up in feeling too good, then do too much.

Errr in other words help me to avoid a case of the stoopids.

I would like to stay between 15,000 and 25,000 steps per day, that seems to be my sweet spot, with my day before a long run or race on the low end for obvious reasons.


Even if I could run without any issues (damn hamstring), I knew that I was going to use the elliptical as a part of this marathon training cycle. A small concession to being 60 is that I can’t always train harder and have to train smarter. However, I wasn’t sure about how I was going to incorporate the elliptical into my training plan.

When I re-read “Overthinking the Marathon” by Ray Charbonneau, the idea of using a portion of the bike mileage as part of the planned marathon regimen and have them count towards my total marathon training miles seemed like a reasonable idea for me. It will sooth my ego, let me still have the higher mileages I would expect to run during marathon training and hopefully allow me train more effectively than I would be able to otherwise.

Unfortunately, I hate riding a bike, I will use one to get from point A to point B, but as far as using one for regular training – it just does not interest me. However, we got a nice elliptical last year and plus I have access to them at the gym if I want to do some weights too.

Converting elliptical miles to approximate running miles, made it so that the idea of using the elliptical as an important part of my marathon training became much more palatable. After fiddling around a little with the mileage equivalence numbers, it seems that if I use a .5 multiplier on the elliptical mileage it comes out close enough for my purposes as a running equivalent.

Another important factor that I for using the elliptical is that while I was using it this winter, I noticed that I had a lot fewer issues with the niggles. So somehow it strengthens muscles that I also use for running. Plus even though my hamstring bothers me when I am running right now, I can go for miles on the elliptical without any issues – except: I am not outside, it can get boring as hell (the iPad is a lifesaver) and I am not running.

Therefore, I plan to use the elliptical:

  • as my primary aerobic exercise until the hamstring quits complaining
  • on my recovery days versus another run,
  • if I am feeling more fatigued than I should be, but want an active rest day
  • if I feel like a niggle is turning into something more than a minor irritation use the elliptical until it clears up. That and changing around some planned workouts to ensure that I do not miss the long runs.

While primarily using the elliptical is not an optimal way to get started on this marathon training cycle, it is a helluva lot better than not being able to do anything. Especially when otherwise I would simply be blowing a lot of hot air about how I am going to run a marathon, while I am sitting on the couch talking nonsense.

That all talk, no action kinda stuff.

Time will tell if the elliptical is part of the answer for me.

The reality is that

I do want to finish a marathon this fall and know that I cannot keep doing the same things, the same way that I have done in the past – that will only lead to another failure and more disappointment. I have a pretty decent idea of the theory of how to get to the finish line, but now I have do actually do the work.

I have get out there and do more than fantasize about how great I am and how I will easily achieve the coveted BQ the first time I run a marathon in more than 30 years. However, when I am honest with myself I cannot do both this fall, so I must focus on the most important thing – the process I will be using to finish this marathon.

There I got a bunch of odds and ends out of my head and put them someplace where I can go back and re-read or reflect on what I have writing as I go through this marathon training cycle.

I know that I will keep “How Bad Do You Want It?” On my dresser until I finish my marathon this fall.

After all training for a marathon is a process and I am pretty good at setting up and following processes.

Slow But Steady Progress – PMT 6/2/18

Well I didn’t expect to run outside this morning, but I did!

Let’s back up, the leg is doing remarkably well considering how it felt on Thursday night and after walking a couple of miles down-back with Mary and Bennie the hamstring didn’t feel too bad. Definitely not 100%, but back to where I thought I could run slowly on it.

So after we got back to the house, I changed up and got ready to go for a long workout on the elliptical. I planned on doing an hour on the beast, because Saturday’s will be my long run day going forward. However, I just had to get outside and run this morning, I promised myself that I would go slow. Actually I was going to run with Mary, but she got distracted by other things and I wanted to get going, so I headed out by myself.

I did a mile at around 10:30 pace and while the hamstring complained a little, it was not anything serious, so I kept going to the finish. I really, really wanted to do another one, but figured that it was better to be conservative than re-injured and headed in to the house to get on the elliptical for the next hour.

Loads of fun

However, at 3.2 miles into the workout I could hear a commotion out in the yard, SD2 had arrived a little earlier than we had expected, with her cats. We are cat sitting for the next week which is no big deal, but the room where we keep the elliptical is where we have to assimilate them into the household. Which meant that I had to get off the machine earlier than I wanted.

Which made me a little crabby and I didn’t want to be around anyone for a few minutes. So I went back out and did another slow mile. By the time I got back, I was back to being myself and fit to be around other human beings. 🙂

Although I didn’t get my long run in, I did get two 1.0 mile runs in and didn’t make the hamstring complain anymore than it was before the runs. A very positive sign.

Then I got to thinking about other things that I could do to help out the old hamstring. Sometimes I am such a dumbshit – I remembered that the last time I had a hamstring strain that I had taped the leg, which helped support the injury better than nothing at all.

So I taped up the leg and it does seem to help, I just hope that it helps enough to get through the preliminary marathon training, without any more issues.

May 2018 – A Not So Great Month

I guess it is time to talk about May 2018. A lot happened and yes, I got injured again and haven’t been able to run well for the last two weeks of the month. Which sucked.

Photo by Sam Winebaum – Road, Trail, Run

However, I got to run with and talk running Sam over at Road, Trail, Run who is my favorite blogger during the first part of month. While down there I got to see a bunch of shoes (I tried out the Vapor Fly 4% – great shoe) and came home with a few more from his used shoe pile.

Towards the end of the month I made the startling decision to run in a marathon in the Fall. I did that inspite or is it despite I am currently not running and have to rehab a balky hamstring – which is always an adventure and one that usually has more setbacks than progress at first.

That damn rollercoaster effect. Continue reading “May 2018 – A Not So Great Month”