Day Zero Monday, October 30, 2006

I'm totally out of shape, and now I have given myself exactly two years to pull it all together so I can run the 2008 New York City Marathon. Yes, it's only 734 days until the marathon, and I'm going to record how I'm doing right here, for the next two years.

You'll see at least a couple of running themes in this diary:

1) Handling the time commitment

Training for a marathon isn't something to be taken lightly. It will be an enormous time commitment, which means I'll have less time to spend with my wife. For some people that may be a side bonus -- but I really enjoy being with my sweetie, so I consider this a sacrifice.

On the other hand, if I stay healthy, I'll live longer, which will mean more time with my wife in the long run. I don't want to be penny-wise and pound-foolish. So I'm going to be keeping track of how much time I spend exercising. I'm really hoping to be surprised when I look at time investment vs. immediate health benefits. Which brings me to ...

2) Physical health

Physical health encompasses a lot of factors. Weight loss and body fat are the most obvious -- I'll be tracking these daily, as measured by my cheap-o bathroom scale. I'll also be tracking my resting pulse rate and blood pressure (when it gets checked, which will be very sporadically).

I fully expect to get injured at some point. The constant pounding of a daily run is bound to cause problems. The trick will be to manage my training schedule to minimize the risk of injury, and to allow myself to heal when I get injured. In the beginning, this is going to mean slowly ramping up my mileage and intensity to allow my body to adjust to the beating. I'll be reading up on injury prevention, and hopefully will have something more intelligent to say on this soon.

3) Races

In order to qualify for the NYC Marathon, you have to run in a certain number of races organized by the NYC Road Runners' Club. I'll be writing about my training leading up to each race, race-day routine, race strategy, how I finished and how I felt doing it.

4) Personal Notes (Yawn)

I'll also be trying to keep a log of miscellaneous facts. "How I'm Feeling" is one thing I'll be logging. For example, I've had mild back pain for the last few months. Will running affect this? I'll let you know.

I'll also be paying attention to such earth-shaking information as: when do I get hungry? How much am I eating? How much sleep am I getting? Do the workouts "feel" difficult or easy?

Prepare to be bored. Unless you're a grad student in physiology. Or a nutritionist.