I'm just under 100 days until the Boston Marathon, and training has been slowly and surely been picking up in terms of my preparation. My longest run to date has been 13 miles and I've already completed a number of marathon-paced runs, starting early to ensure the pace is well engrained mentally and physically for race day (thanks coach!) This is the first of what I'm sure will be many posts about the 2015 Boston Marathon!!!
While training for any marathon is challenging, Boston is certainly unique given the course profile:
Image from the Runner's World article: "Just How Bad is Heartbreak Hill?"
It's pretty clear that the Boston course is a net downhill (450ft in elevation loss), yet still there are some pretty gnarly looking hills over a 5 mile section from approximately miles 16 to 21, the most famous of course is "Heartbreak Hill."
Hills of this sort are NOT a marathoner's friend, especially this late in the race when you already have 16 miles of fatigue on your legs. Hills like this can all too easily turn a dream race into a nightmare, depending on how well prepared you are, the race-day weather conditions, and your pacing in the early miles of the race.
Now let's just be honest: I HATE hills. YES with a capital H.A.T.E. Though I run them most days, yet that does not mean I like them!! I grew up along the coast and the only hill I typically ran up was named "Mt. Trashmore." And let's just not talk about that season of ultras that involved running up mountains :-P
That being said, I know it's all a matter of perspective. Though I'd rather avoid hills in training, I know if I want to run strong at Boston that's one habit has GOT to change. One major takeaway for me from last season's ironman training was that it's best to embrace challenge, rather than fight it. So when it comes to hills, I can choose to continue to avoid them and allow them to be my nemesis, or I can make friends with the "enemy," lean into the challenge and find a new strength in the process. As I told coach this past weekend: "me and hills are going to be #besties by the time Boston rolls around." Meaning, I aim to make peace with the challenge and learn to work with the hills, rather than against them, with the overall goal of becoming a stronger and faster runner in the process. At least, that's the goal :)
So to Heartbreak Hill I say: Let's be friends... and don't go breaking my heart!!
I've adopted this as my training theme song and I'm very much partial to the GLEE cast version :)
I'll leave you with a few recent training pics:
"Do I not destroy my enemies by making them my friends?"
Kristen Chang is Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN), Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics (CSSD) and endurance athlete residing in southwest Virginia alongside her husband and dog. Through this blog she aims to share favorite fueling recipes, general wellness and sport nutrition tips and stories from her athletic endeavors.
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