I’ve just completed two months of what my trainer Martin calls “base building.” This was a period of time in which I worked out every day, getting stronger, without worrying about endurance. I scheduled four days each week of running with almost all distances shorter than 8 miles. One day each week I did the cursed “hill” workouts in which I got to run along on a treadmill at a nice slow pace, then turn the speed and incline WAY up, over and over again, for a short period of time, to simulate sprinting up a steep hill. Another of the weekly running days had me going around the track at a decent pace, with 2.5 of every 8 laps “sprinkled in” at a WAY quicker speed. While I loathed the “hill” workouts, I actually came to look forward to the “sprinkles!”
On the other three days a week, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday, I rode a stationary bike for 30-60 minutes to get in a little cardio workout without impacting my almost 50 year old joints. On Wednesday and Sunday, I included some strength training which consisted of pushups, incline sit ups, core twists while holding a weight, lunges, and two different leg lifts which strengthen the hips and butt.
The final component of my base building plan was careful attention to my diet, with emphasis on weight loss. The healthy body weight for a six foot man with a large frame is 168-192, and one with a medium frame, such as I have is 160-174. While I consider myself healthy, and have completed 5 marathons over the last 3 three years, my weight has hovered in the 190-195 range. If I want to complete a marathon in less than 3 ½ hours, and qualify for the Boston Marathon, one of my goals has to be weight loss! I will likely appear too thin by society’s current overweight standards, but I will be lean, muscular and most importantly, I will be light and fast!
Looking back, over the last two months, I have to consider my base building phase a success. I’ve lost about 10 pounds, and am now hovering in the 180-185 range, the weight I was in high school. By increasing both the variety and number of repetitions of my strength training, I now feel stronger than I’ve been at any time since my college years. And best of all; the “hill” and “sprinkle” workouts have me running faster than I have at any point in my life (for non sprint distances).
Starting tomorrow, I officially begin training for “Grandma’s Marathon” on June 22. I get to trade “hills” and “sprinkles” for “mile repeats” and “progression runs:” Sounds fun doesn’t it! I don’t know what the training cycle will hold in store for me, but right now I’m feeling strong and healthy; maybe as good as at any point in my life! Although I believe qualifying for the Boston Marathon may take another year of training, I sense many good things are on the horizon for 2013 as I attempt to inch ever closer to that elusive “Super Bowl” of running. Come along for the ride, won’t you?