I need a break from talking about the camper. I have to live in it and sometimes it gets old. My recommendation for anyone who wants to live in a camper is to keep yourself really busy. Hanging out in a camper all of the time, especially in the middle of winter, can be depressing. If you keep yourself busy then you only have to spend a minimal amount of time in the camper and the time you spend there does not seem that bad.
I have been coping with camper living by working (of course), writing this blog, and training. I am an athlete so this is really nothing new. I have been training for years, but now there is a new motivation behind my training. More training means I spend less time in the camper. So last spring I set out to qualify for Boston by running the Steamboat marathon in my home town of Steamboat, Colorado on June 6th, 2016. I decided to do this before we moved into the camper, but most of my training was done while living in the camper.
I trained for the Steamboat marathon with the goal of qualifying for Boston and was not only able to qualify, I was the first female to cross the finish line. I was accepted into the Boston marathon and started training for the race in November. Now it is January. I have been battling a respiratory illness for over three weeks, which has consequently put a wrench in my training. Being ill means more time in the camper. More time in the camper means feeling depressed. Feeling depressed means losing motivation. You get the picture. Ugh, enough about the camper!
Now that I have regained my motivation and I feel better, I plan to step up my training. This will be my first time running the race and I am excited. I also have several people that will be there to cheer me on. Boston will be my 6th marathon and I likely will not run another marathon for a while after completing the race. At that time I will be focusing my energies on other fitness aspirations, but more on that later.
To prepare for the race I am approaching it very similar to my Steamboat race. In the past I did the high mileage (80-100 miles/week) and it was catastrophic on my health (here is a blog post with more information). I do not want to make that same mistake again. My highest mileage week will be somewhere around 60-70 miles and that is only 1-2 weeks during the entire training cycle. Most of my training will hover around 40-50. I don’t like running junk mileage. I feel this type of mileage is a waste of time and increases the risk of injury. I am all about efficiency and getting the most bang for my buck. What do I plan to do? Well, of course I will do the long runs between 18-23 miles. Good luck trying to run a marathon without doing the long runs. I also plan to do the key workouts including mile repeats, medium distance runs, tempo runs, fartleks, 800 meter repeats, hill repeats, and speedy workouts (400 and 200 meter repeats) as the race gets closer. I have also been focusing on strength training. I have been able to improve my 1 rep max on the deadlift by 30 pounds, back squat by 25 pounds, bench press by 15 pounds, and the press by 10 pounds. I have done this and my body weight has only increased about 5 pounds (which was a good weight gain). I have been doing something else that many in the endurance community would frown upon. I have been doing CrossFit.
After racing in Steamboat I believe that CrossFit was a huge benefit. By combining the strength training, endurance specific running workouts, mobility, and metabolic conditioning I believe I am a more well rounded athlete. With CrossFit I have been able to see an improvement in performance and fitness while running fewer mileage overall. My running efficiency has improved because I have greater strength and improved form. I have been able to improve my range of motion. Before starting CrossFit I could not even do a squat because my hip flexors, ankles, IT band, and hamstrings were so tight. Not being able to have the range of motion and mobility to do a squat is a huge problem (if you are skeptical go on pubmed and look at the research on how doing squats can improve running economy and efficiency). I have also noticed that I have increased explosive power and speed. During the Steamboat marathon, even after running 26 miles, I was able to sprint to the finish. This comes in handy when you have to out sprint a competitor.
So now with less than three months until Boston I am back to training and I am eager to see if the hard work and my somewhat rogue training routine will help me at Boston. My goal is to finish the race faster than I ran Steamboat (which I am hoping will be easy because Steamboat was at altitude) and to enjoy the experience. Anything beyond that is a bonus.