Run of the Mill

I started training earlier than most.  While most marathoners train through a 16-18 week program, I planned on 20-22 weeks.  Training thus far has been tedious. Since running the Boston Marathon in 2014 I’ve ran, but haven’t trained.  Most of us certainly know the difference.  I began my training plan 22 weeks from the Buffalo Marathon, mainly to give me a few weeks to find my legs and build a little base, while banking a week or two of flex for both injury and finding my groove as a new dad.

Being on baby watch is wrestling with my impulsivity.  Our due date of January 19th ironically feels an eternity away while still approaching at the speed of light.  I’m keeping most of my runs indoors.  The mix of the cold and waiting for “the call” have driven me inside.  Luckily, I love the treadmill. Yes, love it.  The daily grind leaves very little time for watching TV.  For me, the treadmill means I can skip the 10 pounds of clothing required (five of which you will shuffle while deciding if you’re too warm or cold) to run in teens.  It also means I can catch up on my favorite shows, like Shark Tank, The Profit, and my current winter training preference: Sons of Anarchy.  Continuing my campaign for winter treadmill advocacy, I’ll always have a water bottle and a bathroom within reach.  According to my recent Facebook post, most runners are treadmill “tolerators” and see it as a “necessary evil.”  Not me.

For now, my training plan is simple: slow and monotonous, mixing in 1-2 strength workouts a week from  My slower miles (roughly 1 minute slower than planned marathon pace) allows my body to keep up with the early demand, while the strength supplements a lower volume of mileage and preps me for what’s to come.  The one advantage I have over most?  As a physical therapist at Buffalo Rehab Group who treats many, many runners, I get to strength train 5 days a week as I show exercises during treatment.  (I also get to self treat the instant I think an injury is sneaking up on me).

In the clinic I often see to main mistakes:  neglecting strength and running too fast.  So much so that I actually wrote a post on it in June 2014.  Too often I see runners hitting their training hard out of the gate, usually resulting in injury, burn out, or feeling “flat” on race day.  Speed work is believed to have a shelf life.  It also invites injury as your muscles work harder.  I’ll sprinkle somewhat-hard workouts in strategically, but otherwise I’m on LSD (long slow distance) until race day is on the horizon (usually eight weeks).  I have a few races I’m targeting on my way to the starting line:  The Lockport Y-10, a 5K (unchosen) in April, and a final tune up in early May at the Grand Island Half Marathon.

For now, I’ll keep trudging along—avoiding the snow, wind, and cold from the comfort of my cozy basement.  As of now I’m banking on Baby William loving the sound of a humming treadmill (crossing my fingers). 

The next time I post I may have a whole new outlook.  Come on Baby William!

Steve Gonser PT DPT
Physical Therapist

First time Dad, Husband, Physical Therapist at Buffalo Rehab Group, Boston Qualifier, Ironman, and founder of Join me as I balance training, work, and family on my journey to the start line (and hopefully a PR).