I forgot how hard marathon training is. I’m pretty freakin tired right now and I’m only 18 weeks out. Yikes. I know that at some point the training will click and I’ll still be tired but the early morning runs and weekend long runs will become more of a habit than they currently are.
Fortunately, I’ve been seeing improvement in the majority of my runs. I’ve been getting steadily stronger at track and my middle distance runs are also improving. Last weekend’s triathlon run would be the exception to an otherwise steady increase in my return to previous speeds and times.
Speaking of speeds and times, those PR’s I have listed are getting dusty. Ha! I suppose I’ll keep them up until the fall to truly see if I can knock some of them down. No sense in killing myself for a summer PR right?
In looking at my current paces and again reminding myself I do this for fun and it’s summer, I think come December I’ll be happy to shoot for a PR. As much as I’d love to attempt a BQ, I’m just not in that sort of running shape right now. Could that change? Possibly. But, again, I want to have fun and run a race that doesn’t murder my legs.
I’m taking a cue from this article that Amby Burfoot wrote for Runner’s World. In summation: don’t set a goal that your body can’t achieve. In a study that Burfoot references, marathoners slowed dramatically at 13.1 miles. In the paragraph below he guesses why.
“My guess: The runners were relying too heavily on high goal-setting, heart-rate monitors, GPS systems, equivalent-performance tables, and the like. In other words, they used one or several of these tools to pick a goal pace faster than their actual race-day fitness. That’s what we high-success, high-determination, Type A runners often do.”
I am the queen of setting high goals. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with high goals. This is what we hear over and over again right? Aim high! Shoot for the stars! Insert inspirational goal quote here. Again, goal setting is fine. And it’s important. It keeps us motivated. However, I think Burfoot is on to something here with actually listening to your body versus basing your goal times on GPS watches and online calculators.
The other thing that I am reminded with this study for this upcoming marathon of mine is to start slow. The goal should be a negative split half. I’ve run six marathons and my last one, Miami, is proof that not factoring in the weather and starting too fast will bite you right in the sore butt.
There is certainly something to be said for grit and determination. As well as having a positive attitude and going into a race thinking you can do it. However, as Burfoot points out, if the brain-body is telling you, “No way, Jose” it’s hard to fight.
Now, I’m not throwing away my Garmin anytime soon, but I am going to work on listening to my body more. And if it tells me to gun it, I will. But if it shouts, “SLOW YOUR ASS DOWN,” I’ll do that too.