This past weekend a friend asked me how marathon training is going. I’m sure she expected me to just smile and say, “Great! I’m feeling ready!” but instead I found myself pouring my heart out.
I haven’t written a proper update about Chicago training in a couple of weeks and I thought I’d let you know why: I’m freaking out about it!
I honestly didn’t realize I was until this weekend.
Due to some scheduling conflicts with vacation, my long run last week happened between Sunday (8 miles) and yesterday (10 miles). That’s a total of 18 back-to-back miles, but to date my longest single run has only been 14 miles.
I’m seven weeks out from Chicago and my longest run has been 14 miles!!!! Holy &^$#! Last year my race was a week before Chicago and I ran my 14-miler the first week of July! I feel like I’m a million miles behind schedule, even though cumulatively I’ve run just about the same number of miles as last year.
As you know, this year I’m training using a modified version of Hanson’s which specifically calls for split long runs.
Here’s why split long runs are a good idea for most recreational runners:
“Scientific research has shown that runs of over 3 hours offer little additional aerobic benefit compared to runs of 2 hours, while significantly increasing injury risk.
As such, rather than cramming your marathon training schedule with multiple 20-22 milers that increase your injury risk and decrease recovery time without decisive aerobic advantages, you should instead focus on improving your aerobic threshold…”
I’ve been reading up on a lot of bloggers who run about my pace and have had great success with split long runs. I just honestly don’t feel like it’s for me.
I don’t feel mentally prepared to tackle a marathon.
This coming weekend I have a 6-miler on Saturday and a 16-miler on Sunday, so maybe I’ll feel more prepared after that. 16 miles feels like a “real” marathon training distance. I know that sounds kind of silly, but you know what I mean right? I equate 14 milers with half marathon training. Call me a long distance elitist but I like my long runs to be looooong.
Okay, so “long” is relative. To a 100-mile specialist 20 miles is a nice short distance.
The future ultramarathoner in me just wants to do looooong runs. I understand why a slower marathon runner like myself should do shorter back-to-backs, but I am the most motivated by the long run. It’s my favorite run of the week and it’s the one that makes me feel the best about myself.
Aside from the distance of my long runs, there is another reason I’m suddenly freaking out about Chicago.
I’ve committed to running my easy runs really easy this training cycle – this includes my long runs. I very recently flipped through my notes from last year’s training cycle and in 2014 I was running my long runs about 40 seconds per mile faster than I am this year!
Just like with the “shorter long runs” I know that keeping my easy miles easy is all part of the master plan but it’s FREAKING ME OUT!
Race day always represents a big unknown and right now I feel like Chicago is this giant blackhole about to suck me in. Will I be prepared? Will I meet my time goal? Should I adjust my goal? Will I even finish this race?!
Okay, I know that’s crazy talk. Of course I’ll finish the race unless something drastic happens, like my foot falls off or something.
I think what I’m discovering is that this type of marathon training plan isn’t for me. That doesn’t make it a bad plan. In fact I know that it is a very good plan! Heading into Chicago training this year my goal was to experiment with a new training philosophy and that’s exactly what I’ve done. I am committed to seeing this marathon plan all the way through because I am curious to see what it nets me in the end. If I run a sub-3 in Chicago then I’ll follow this plan again every year for the rest of my life 😉 .
All kidding aside, I am trying to pull myself together. Chicago is less than seven weeks out and I’ve got a PR I need to knock out!
How do you deal with doubt during a training cycle?
Have you used a training plan with split long runs?