…and I don’t care.
Ok, I DO care…just not enough to lace up just yet. I’m on vacation. A hiatus. A running sabbatical if you will. Don’t worry, it wont last long since I’m running a local 5k next Saturday. I just have nothing big on the schedge. Breaking Pace is doing a half on 3/20 and I know me, I will do it. I’m just not ready to jump into a training plan just yet. I am enjoying the calm. I don’t HAVE to go for a run right now. I have no nagging chart with a glaring 5 Miles written in on Wednesday. And I am liking it for now. A couple of times I have wanted to go for a jog but really I am just recovering and taking it easy. I am searching the net for my next 26.2. A week ago I thought I was probably done with the full marathon for a loooong while. But now, 5 days post Vegas, I am ready to put one on the calendar. Not right away though. I’m thinking Marine Corp next 10/11. I REALLY want to do OKC again…that was the best marathon EVER. But I am not sure I can commit to traveling right now. And the training would begin like, NOW. I am sure there are some others around, like OBX, and I just have to put the feelers out.
So, I have been thinking about my training for Portland AND Vegas. Where did I succeed? Where did I go wrong? both of those marathons were completely different from my first marathon experience, which was awesome (read about it HERE)! It is funny how I can tell I am searching to have that first time feeling all over again…sadly I know I will only have one first marathon (this is starting to sound strangely like a talk I got in high school…you know, about your first time. I would say the two are comparable. No? Ok, I’m just weird I guess.). Anyway, during Portland I kept thinking, “This is awful. I wish it was like OKC. That was amazing! What an awesome first marathon!” Then I realized how lucky I was to have had such a great first marathon, to make me want to do more! Portland was awful. Enough to make me want to hang up my shoes and start curling or something. If I hadn’t been signed up for Vegas I am sure Portland could have been the death of my running. I needed Vegas to put the love back into running. I needed Vegas to show myself that it wasn’t that bad, Portland was just a bad run/race day. It is kind of like when you fall down you have to get back up right away, or else you will never get back up. I had a choice, be defeated or fight back. Vegas was my fight back.
So I tried to mentally prepare for Vegas. I had positive thoughts and good expectations. I was not going for time, per say. I wanted to do better than Portland, but I really just wanted to have a better experience. And I did, thanks to Mel.
My training for each marathon was completely different.
OKC- My plan was rigid and to the T. I hardly any missed runs. I stuck to the plan with intervals, tempo runs, hill work and track/speed work. I did cross training, weights, and core strengthening. I focused on nutrition pre and post runs. I was also 10-12 pounds lighter (HUGE DIFFERENCE). And the strangest thing? My weekly mileage was not that high. Once I started training my lowest was10 miles and my highest was 33.5. I averaged about 20 miles a week probably. It was the QUALITY of each run, not the distance….FOR SURE! Time: 4:09.50
Portland- I slacked a little bit throughout. I stopped the weights and cross training (only kept water aerobics in the mix). I didn’t do my intervals or tempo runs. Nutrition flew out the window. I gained about 10 pounds. My weekly mileage was much higher than for OKC (maybe I was fatigued?). I only had 2 weeks under 21 miles (OKC had 7 weeks under 20 miles)! So higher mileage and lower quality runs….I was in good physical condition but my mental game was OFF. I had quit three jobs, packed up my house, dealt with all sorts of tough emotional things, left my friends and made a pit stop to run a marathon while moving across the country. Tough mental marathon. Time: 4:32.47
Vegas-This was new…I had 8 weeks between Portland and Vegas. That was part of the challenge. I did absolutely no weights, core exercises, and no cross training (other than one small hike and one cross fit session and one trip to the gym for weights). Nutrition again was not great but there was no weight gain and maybe three pounds loss. Score! My weekly mileage was good; of the 8 weeks I had 4 weeks under 23 miles. But the miles that I did run were pretty much just out and run, no tempo, intervals, speed work or hill work. My mental game was much better for the run. I was excited, less stressed and ready to tackle the 26.2. I needed to punch it in the face and say “TAKE THAT JERK! THAT IS FOR SUCKING IN PORTLAND, MEANIE.” Time: 4:30.56
*(TWO minutes faster than Portland! Not just one!)
So, from this I have learned these valuable lessons:
- It is not how many miles you run but the quality of the runs you do.
- Cross training, weights and core are a huge and important part of training for a marathon (or running for that matter).
- Carrying extra weight slows you down…
- Focus on nutrition as fuel.
- Marathon running is as much mental as it is physical. Our minds can play mean, nasty tricks on us! Be strong mentally and you will be able to go the distance!
- Recovery is key. Take rest days to recover after long runs, because like I already said, it is not the miles so much as the quality of runs. Junk runs and junk miles do NOT equal quality.
Now, who has decided to train for a marathon!? I would not trade my experiences for anything! With each finish line came growth, self-confidence, self-awareness, perseverance and accomplishment. These are things that many people search for over a life-time! And I have found it three times in 8 months! What are you waiting for? Pick a race and get out there!!!!