It was about one year ago that I began contemplating running the 2012 Route 66 Marathon. During the previous Summer, I had averaged 2-3 5k training runs per month with some cycling thrown in here and there.  Needless to say, starting late in September left me very much behind the 8 ball trying to prepare for a mid-November marathon.

I felt like I approached the starting line in 2012 prepared to run a solid half marathon. If I had run the half, I would be staring at a finisher’s medal with a 20-30 minute PR over OKC 2011.  Unfortunately, I was there to run the full marathon, and it would have taken a perfect day for that to happen. It didn’t, and I eventually DNF’d due to my foot injury and other health concerns.

My foot is still a challenge, and those “other health concerns” are still there, but I’m heading back to the Route 66 Marathon anyway. Though I’m not as deep into a training program as I should be, I feel like I have a much more solid base than last year.

As for the plan to get to marathon shape:

  • Fuel: Due to food intolerances, I came up with the unusual combination of Zico Coconut Water, a homemade electrolyte mix, Water, Kelp (seriously), and Pirate’s Booty (because why not) for the 2012 race. For the past month, I have experimented with different combinations of fuel to try to find a way to make it past the 2 hour mark in better shape. It’s still a work in progress, but I’m feeling more confident with each run and will detail some of my experiments here on the STS blog.
  • Fuel Transport:  For my last two marathons, I’ve carried all of my fuel in an Ultimate Direction Diablo hydration pack.  This worked well, but had two drawbacks.  1. I’m limited to 2 types of fluid.  2. The majority of the weight of the 12 pound pack is on my back.  Fortunately, Ultimate Direction has released an incredible new pack that solves both problems.  I’ll post a review to the blog sometime soon.
  • Hills: Largely due to construction, I spent most of 2012 training near the Arkansas River where it’s very flat, but Route 66 had a lot of elevation changes. I believe my foot was initially injured on one of the early, long downhill stretches near Brookside.  As a result, I’m taking all of my 5k and 10k training runs to an area of the trails with more hills. I’m also planning to spend some time at Turkey Mountain to give my feet a break from the pavement but still get in some additional hill work.
  • 18-20 Mile Long Runs Aren’t Enough:  I know the experts say a couple of 20 mile runs are sufficient, but due to some of my unique health obstacles, I disagree. I’m planning to go beyond marathon distance at least once during training.
  • Cross Training: Instead of foregoing all other activities during marathon training like last year, my strength training and cycling will continue, and if a workout must be sacrificed, it will be a mid-week run.
  • Shoes:  It’s hard not to look at your shoes if you have a serious foot injury. I’m going to lay most of the blame on insufficient training, but I’m going to look into a shoe with slightly more structure than the Newton Gravity I’ve run with for the last year.
  • More Races:  I’ve only run 3 races in the 3 years I’ve been running. 2 were marathons, and 1 was a 5K just a few weeks ago. A few dress rehearsals with positive outcomes will go a long way toward boosting my confidence at the next marathon.

Last, but certainly not least, the most important part of my training program this year is to begin using the Subdue the Sloth GPS training app.  No, it doesn’t quite exist yet, but it’s getting very close.  With a couple more weekends of work, I should be able to start alpha testing on my runs.  With any luck, I’ll be ready for a marathon by mid-November, and STS GPS will be ready for your training runs around the same time.