I’m writing this post exactly 19 days before my third marathon, but I’m not publishing this until race day. I didn’t realize this until I took a blogging hiatus, but writing too much about my training added unnecessary extra pressure on race day. The funny thing is that I’m sure anyone reading this doesn’t really care about my race time. You may care in that you hope I reach my goals, but I’m guessing you aren’t judging too much when I don’t.
This training cycle has had ups and downs, but mostly ups. The main changes from previous training cycles included:
- Joining a running club. I did most of my long runs with them, plus followed their training plan.
- Running 4x a week. After my stress fracture from training cycle 1, I trained for the last two marathons running 3x a week.
- Following prescribed paces for my runs. My plan incorporated interval training, speed work, hill runs, recovery runs and (of course) the long run.
Point #3 has made a huge difference in how I feel. For Chicago, I followed a Runner’s World Smart Coach plan but never went quite as slow on the long runs as they directed. As a result, I struggled to hit fast paces on my speed workouts. This time around, running with the group helped me slow down on the long runs. I can’t believe how much of a difference it made on the quality of my weekday workouts.
About a week and a half before taper, I got really sick. As in, I can’t remember the last time I was that sick and it was probably in college. It was a terrible cold – with a cough to go along with it. I had to skip my long run for the first time ever. Fortunately it was a step back week with a workout I had already completed successfully (14 miles with 7 at goal pace).
The next week, when I went to do my last long run, I was still not feeling 100%. I managed to get through 22 miles, although it wasn’t easy. I had to stop now and then to cough and spit, not to mention the paper towel I had brought to blow my nose was completely drenched by mile 10 (tmi?).
As I look back on another successful training cycle, I know the one thing that can stand in my way is my head. After not reaching my goals last year, I have a lot of self doubt. Instead of wallowing on my failures, I plan to spend the next 19 days thinking about how much things have changed for me.
Six years ago, I was an overweight smoker.
Five years ago, I began running 3 miles at a time and never thought I could go further than that.
And a few months ago, I moved across the country with my family to start a completely new life. That may not have much to do with running, but it is something I would never have considered doing a few years ago. The move has proven to me I can do anything I put my mind to (especially with Neil and Leela by my side).
Today, as I run marathon #3, I’ll remind myself just how far I’ve come.