I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what I hope to get out of this marathon training cycle. Obviously, I have a time goal in mind for May, but that is months and months away. I also don’t want to feel like my success is 100% contingent upon achieving that specific time because I know there are factors COMPLETELY outside my control (the weather for example) that will play a huge role in whether or not I hit my fastest times. Yes, the time goal is probably my main focus, but I want there to be other criteria where I can step back and feel proud of what I’ve accomplished.
Since I am only just beginning the 16 week plan, I thought it would be good for me to lay out what those other goals are.
- Run some new half marathon PRs along the way to Delaware. I was able to run my current half marathon PR at Baystate off of pretty low mileage and what can only be described as less than structured training. But I felt fantastic during that whole race. Looking back, I wonder if I felt a little too fantastic. I think I might have left a little too much gas in the tank and I’m looking forward to being even more aggressive at the Augusta Half Marathon in February. I’m also considering signing up for a local half marathon the weekend of my birthday in March as a little birthday present to myself. My plan would be to use that as a hard tempo run for Delaware (and if there’s a PR involved in that, even better).
- Run higher mileage (but stay healthy). I feel like I’ve beat this to death on the blog, but getting injured while training for the Rochester Marathon was horrible. While I was still able to run the race, missing so many long runs definitely had a negative impact on my performance, and it was not a pretty race. The plan I am following has me running higher mileage than I would typically be running this time of year, but I’m hoping my body will be able to handle it. I’m going to do my best to keep everything running smoothly (pun intended) by getting back to stretching and foam rolling, even if it’s only for 5 minutes when I get back from a run. I’m also really focusing on core work as part of my cross training.
- Improve my nutrition. Like pretty much everyone else, I probably ate a few too many cookies and desserts during the holiday season. But, I’m getting this under control again. After reading some positive reviews online, I picked up the Paleo Diet for Athletes, which I’ve really been enjoying. The recipes are pretty basic, but that’s good for me since I’m limited in the amount of time I have for cooking. I’m not going strict paleo, but I am trying to reduce the amount of refined carbohydrates I eat (i.e., pastas, bread, crackers, etc…) Instead, I’ve been eating A LOT of sweet potatoes as a way to get the carbs in that I’ll need for running.
- Squeeze in as many runs as I can while traveling for work. I have a lot of work trips coming up in the next few months, some for as short as 3 days at a time, some for up to a week. The hours on these trips won’t be the standard 9-5 either. Instead, I’ll be waking up very early and finishing late in the afternoon or evening. I know I will be tempted to skip runs, but I am going to do the best I can to not let these trips derail my training. If the hotels have treadmills, you can bet your a$$ I’ll be getting up at 4:30 am to get my run in. It would be too easy to use my job as an excuse for missing runs, and I care too much about the end product to let that happen.
- Avoid marathon burnout. Yes, I know this goal is far less concrete than the others, but I think it’s important. Right now, my motivation is literally off the charts. If there was some way I could run a marathon tomorrow, I think I would do it (though I doubt it would be advisable.) I don’t want to lose this feeling of excitement. I’m hoping by keeping up reading my favorite running blogs (and maintaining this one of course!), listening to my favorite running podcasts, and by watching the Olympic Trials (the LA marathon on February 13th) that my motivation will stay where it is, if not grow.
It’s going to be a challenging 16 weeks, but I’m ready for it. 🙂