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.
– 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.
– 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.