A Little More Each Day

One working mama learning to run & to maintain my 100+ pound weight loss!

Marathon Training Reflections

on January 3, 2017

Today’s Tuesdays on the Run topic is all about goals for 2017, perfect for the week of New Year’s. However, as I’m still focused on the culmination of my 2016 work, I’m putting off goal setting until after the marathon (5 sleeps to go!).

Instead, I wanted to take some time pre-marathon to look back at marathon training. One of my favorite quotes to settle race nerves is that “The race is the victory lap for your training.” The amazing thing about a marathon is as much about the weeks and months of training as it is the race itself, no matter how gratifying that medal is.

These are huge wins of training, no matter what happens on race day:

– I started this training cycle with back to back long runs every Saturday and Sunday in the sweltering summer heat. Even when it was miserable and muggy, I was out there pounding pavement. I kept running even through winter and single digit temperatures. For months, I’ve gotten it done.
Quite the winter look

– I ran two half marathons, back to back, which was harder than I expected physically and mentally but I DID IT. Pulling myself through those last few miles of the second half marathon proved to myself that I can do hard things.

Success!

– I hauled myself out of bed at 5 am to run and headed back out in the evenings to run when I didn’t get it all done in the morning. Yes, I wasn’t perfect about getting in mid-week miles, but I got in 75% of them and with my crazy work schedule, that’s amazing.

– I ran longer long runs than I’ve ever done IN MY LIFE. 15, 16, 18 and 20 mile runs – all done on schedule and on target mileage. When it counts, I get it done.

Those are huge wins, no matter what happens Sunday. Marathon training has been surprising in a lot of ways and I’ve learned a lot about marathon training, if I ever decide to try this again.

– It’s a HUGE time commitment. I underestimated how much time it would take and am amazed now that I was able to get it done.

– I missed speed work. My focus was on getting the miles in and I was so worried about doing the mileage that I gratefully chose a plan without speed work, thinking that would be easier. It turns out, a) I get slower when I drop any kind of speed work out of the plan and b) I miss speed work. While the long runs on the weekend were gratifying, I rarely got that thrill of Wonder-Woman “I did it!” awesomeness from easy weekday runs like I did with speed work and hill work in my more aggressive half marathon training plans. IF I ever do this again (big if!), I’d want to incorporate some speed work.

– I’ve always known not to trust the first mile – it always sucks. Turn out, for me at least, during marathon training I shouldn’t trust the first THREE miles. It took that long for things to warm up and settle down, physically and mentally.

– The long runs weren’t so bad. I feel like that’s some shameful secret, because I was expecting them to be much worse. It got boring and tiring and there were definitely times I wanted to stop, but it was more because I didn’t WANT to do it anymore than because I couldn’t. So long as I keep putting one foot in front of the other, I can do anything.

Frustrating but done

– Marathon training is TIRING, mentally and physically. I nearly fell asleep driving after that first 15 mile run and definitely lost the energy to worry about focusing on my diet or on some of my usual household chores (or blogging, for that matter!). I wish I’d been better about naps and early bedtimes.

We’ll see how Sunday goes. Will I be one of those people who says “Never again!” or will I want to try again to see how I can improve? Regardless, I’m proud of myself for doing this training and for tackling this challenge.
I’m looking forward to reading everyone else’s goals for the year. I always find it so motivating and inspiring to read about the plans of others, don’t you? Thanks as always to Patty, Erika and Marcia for hosting our link up!
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Marathon question of the day: Any suggestions for a go-to song I need to boost me in those last miles?
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17 responses to “Marathon Training Reflections

  1. I’m a huge Lady Gaga fan, so I always listen to Born This Way when I hit “the wall” or when I want to pick it up a bit towards the end of a run.

  2. You absolutely should be so proud of yourself. Look at all that you accomplished already! It’s so true that the race is the victory lap. I know you’re going to do great! And know that I’ll be cheering for you on Sunday. Above all else, enjoy the experience!!!

  3. Marcia says:

    No matter how the actual race goes, you’ve got SO much to be proud of Jessica! I like Eminem’s Til I Collapse or Fat Boy Slim’s Right Here Right Now for when I need to dig deep. You’ve got this!

  4. Marathon training IS exhausting both mentally and physically (and to be honest, so is the actual race) but it is so worth it. You were really dedicated to your training and you are SO ready for Sunday. At some point during or after the race you will probably think you won’t run another marathon again but that thought will fade shortly and you’ll be ready for another one!

    I am so excited for you and can’t wait to come back here next week and read about how it went. You got this!

  5. Patty H says:

    I cannot wait to see the finish pics! And hopefully see you on the course! You should be proud: training is the scary hard part. Now you get to have fun! GOOD LUCK!

  6. So excited and happy for you! You are gonna be amazing! So much to be proud of!

  7. Enjoy! You put in the miles, so you are ready. Great job on the hard work.

  8. Angela says:

    Well Done on the training!! I’m sure your hard work will pay off on the day!! Beyonce- Run this World always gives me a boost when I’m coming to the endo of a long run!!

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