Details, Schmetails

3.23.10: How My Inability to Do Math Bought Me a Harder Training Program and an Extra Week

sasha blog mom and daughter.jpg

I am a big picture kind of lady. But those pesky, little details? Not so much.

Give me a political debate, a great idea for an essay or a philosophy class any day, but when it comes to the little things—shutting kitchen cabinets, cleaning up the bathroom or hanging a picture straight on the wall—forget it.

Sometimes this disdain for the little things works in my favor, others times it does not. For instance, my inability to do simple math meant that last fall I misread my training schedule and never did mid-week long runs, which is, um, apparently a major component of marathon training. Who knew?

Despite the sheer idiocy inherent in my inability to read a training plan, I have decided to take this as a positive. Why? Because I came so close. I came so close training with about half the mileage my training plan recommended. The weeks I was supposed to be running 50 miles? I was running 35 at best. Half of those with a stroller (i.e., not fast).

Last week I ran 45. This week? I am going to run 50.

Most coaches say there is only one way to improve a marathon time and that is distance, distance, distance. My last week on this plan is going to be a 60-mile week. If you are counting, that is about 25 more miles than my best week last fall.

But that is not the only thing I missed. This time around, my training schedule is wrong.

By a whole week.

That means that I was supposed to start one week later than I did, which also means that I have a whole extra week to break out the big guns.

I have decided that instead of making my longest run 20 miles, I am going to go all out in training this time and run a 22-miler just before my taper. It is going to be long and it is going to be hard, but it is going to be worth it (I hope).

Right now I am on the upswing. Yesterday I ran 18 miles. Next week is 19. Then 20 and then 22. Tomorrow morning I have to wake up at 6 am, run eight miles and then take the kids to the gym and run another five. Thursday I need to repeat that.

Today I went to the gym even though I was pooped from yesterday’s 18-miler (it was supposed to be a rest day). Friday I vow to really rest. After all, this is the scariest part of training, the part when injuries that have been developing really start to become problems. But you know, those are the details I can’t allow to fill my head.

The details I am focused on now are the ones that will get me through the next three weeks of intense running. 50+ miles a week for the next three weeks means I will be running close to eight hours a week, if not a bit more.

It is going to be intense. So please forgive me if I am rendered unable to complete a full sentence. Between the kids and the intensity of this training, it will probably be weeks before my brain is back to normal—whatever normal means anyway.

Time to step it up.

Sasha Brown-Worsham is a writer, a mother and an unabashed, unashamed runaholic. Check her progress each week as she trains to qualify for the Boston Marathon.