Marathon Training: This is Where the Hard Work Begins
On Saturday I tackled my longest “fast finish” run ever – 14 miles with 3 fast ones at the end. I started out on the treadmill and finished outdoors because it was crazy hot out.
I ended up having a ton of thoughts about this run once it ended, and I’ve tried to pin them down into a couple of points — more for my future reference than anything, but maybe you’ll find them interesting too.
FACT: Miles 1 through 11 were spectacular.
FACT: Miles 12 – 13 were pretty great. I hit close to my “fast finish” paces without too much suffering.
FACT: Mile 14’s fast finish made me question why I even want to run a marathon.
Isn’t it funny how you can run a bunch of really great miles, but that last hard one sticks in your mind for a while?
During the last .25 I started thinking about how nice the half marathon distance is… long enough to test you, short enough to not kill you. I thought about how if I was running a half marathon I’d be done by now… then I remembered two things:
1. “If it doesn’t challenge you it doesn’t change you.” Last week Kristen commented that as her favorite running mantra and it popped into my mind as I was wrapping up my run. It makes a lot of sense!
2. During this week last year 6 MILES WAS MY LONG RUN. I was just getting into half marathon training and I thought 6 miles was really difficult. I remember coming home after that 6 mile run and saying to Adam, “I don’t know if I’m going to be able to run a half marathon, I can’t imagine having to run double that distance” and he replied, “well you didn’t think it was going to be easy did you?” That definitely applies here, too.
FACT: My long runs the last two weeks have tested me a lot.
On one hand it sucks because prior to these two weeks I felt like I could run any distance (lol), and on the other hand I know these challenging runs are where progress is really being made.
From March through June I was doing a long, EASY run of 10 – 12 miles every weekend. That gave me a really solid base for marathon training. I think that is also why my first 14 and 15-milers left me feeling confident. Those distances aren’t really that different from 12 miles especially when run at a comfortable, conversational pace.
16 miles felt different.
14 miles that included 3 hard miles at the end felt different.
Different is good.
I just have to remember that it is these hard training runs that will serve me the best on October 5th when I cross the starting line in Portland.
Runners become marathoners not because running 26.2 miles is easy but because training teaches us that we can do hard things.
It’s time for me to wholly embrace the challenge because I don’t think it’s going to get any easier between here and October 5th.
Now that my mind has recognized that I’ve hit the point where the hard work begins, I can better mentally prepare for these harder long runs and hopefully enjoy them more!
“Every single one of us possesses the strength to attempt something he isn’t sure he can accomplish.” – Scott Jurek, 7X winner of the Western States 100