Ready, set, train: The ups and downs of a marathon runner

This is my first entry of the running season. I am excited and honored to share my running program for the 2017 Mill Race Marathon.

This will be my fourth Mill Race Marathon. This marathon is my favorite from all the ones that I have run.

It is a flat course, and weather has been good all these years. It has always been an enjoyable run, even with the train stopping as we left Mill Race Park a couple of years ago.

In this column, I will share with you my running days and their ups and downs. I am a normal, average runner that wants to stay in good health to see my daughters succeed in life and enjoy family time for years to come.

My marathon training has finally started. This time, I feel more committed because I get to share my days of training.

I have a running training plan based on collections from different runners. The program consists of low miles during the week (three days), with some speed work, tempos, race simulations and long miles on the weekend. This training plan has worked for me for several years so far. This year, my target for the Mill Race Marathon is 3 hours, 15 minutes.

Last month, I ran two half marathons — Indy Mini and Seymour, and my other long runs were 14 miles long. Two big lessons I have learned are to listen to my body. At my age (57) I need to keep a closer look on pain to avoid injuries and to keep my training program based on my body performance.

I started doing some hills repetitions on Wednesdays, which I have decided to move to Tuesdays before I start working on speed work. This past Saturday (June 17), I did my first race simulation, which was 10 miles in total — five miles at an 8-minute pace and five miles at a 7:30 pace. I felt the elevated temperature and humidity and was running pretty tired at the end.

Since I started this marathon’s training plan, I have been feeling good. However, there is some right Achilles pain that has been bothering me a little. To ease the pain, I have been icing it after running. Last week, I did not have this pain, but I need to keep an eye on it to ensure I do not get injured. On June 24, I ran a 5K and changed my long run to Sunday to keep up with my training.

As I prepare for this marathon, I am not only focusing on my running, but also on nutrition. I started eating healthier foods like salmon, vegetables, rice and beans. My wife Magda, a runner as well, cooks for us, and sometimes, she even tries recipes from sports magazines.

Attached is my training program for the next week. Probably there will be some changes based on my body’s feeling and family responsibilities.

Before every run, I do some stretching for 15 to 20 minutes. As you can see, my total miles a week are on the 30s and moving up closer to 50s with my long run.

This time, my program is taking me to 24 miles during my long run. However, I am not worried about piling too many miles a week since my mind is focused on making my training count, hard work when needed and recovering during my easy runs.

Cesar Gamez is The Republic’s male diary writer for this year’s Mill Race Marathon. His entries will appear every other week through Sept. 3. Send comments to sports@therepublic.com.

At a glance

Cesar Gamez training plan for July 3-8

Monday: Easy run, 45 minutes

Tuesday: Hill reps, four by .5-mile at 3 degrees at 8-minute pace

Wednesday: Cross-training (core and upper body)

Thursday: Tempo hard, 25 minutes at 7:15 pace

Friday: Rest

Saturday: Race simulation, six miles at 8:00 pace and six miles at 7:30 pace

Sunday: Cross-training (core and upper body)