WARNING: This post will babble on probably incoherently at times and will likely be very boring to read. Proceed with caution.
As the last few days before my marathon have been winding down, I’ve bee trying to assess the last few months of training, both physically and mentally. I basically decided back on October 29th while I watched my friend Cole run the Marine Corp Marathon that I wanted to run one as well and soon after that I had decided on the Shamrockfest and began my training.
I started off with a bang, and went through a number of highs and lows with my consistency in training and overall motivation and now the time has come to see where it has gotten me. Sunday is the day; my mind is already there even though physically there are a few days left. I think I’m ready for it and can’t wait to get going; some people don’t even blink an eye when it comes to a marathon, but right now in my mind, this is one of the biggest and toughest goals I have ever set for myself.
The first run of my training program back on October 30th was supposed to be a quick easy 2 mile run. I knew I was in better shape then that and would go out and run 4 miles on average normally so I started off with a 5 miler. I went through the rest of the week completing slightly more mileage then the program called for on each run. The first Saturday of the program was supposed to be a quick 4 mile run but my over ambitious self wanted to get out and see what I could do. 12 miles later I was hobbling another mile back to my apartment to rest away my Saturday afternoon.
The entire first month of my training went similar to this though I did not continue running myself to my limit on the weekends after the cold walk home the first weekend. Around the holidays my training and motivation began to slack a bit, understandably before I picked things back up for a bit. A few weeks of traveling and heavy biking in late January and early February sidelined my training for a bit again before I picked things back up in mid to late February for my build up to my longest pre-rave runs of 18 and 20 miles. Both of those runs fell just short of the intended mileage, though due to my poor preparation this does not worry me too much for race day.
Overall, I would say I’m not terribly surprised by the way my training went for this race; I tend to start off with a bang and fizzle when I get excited about things like this and I certainly couldn’t have kept up my early enthusiasm throughout my training. One of the most helpful things I could have had would have been a training partner though for the times when motivation was low and the only thing I had to rely on was my own inner voice telling me to get up and go. I think a bit shorter and more intense training program would also have served me well with less time to keep up the enthusiasm and a more structured and prominent program which I would be more likely to adhere strictly to for the shorter time period.
I think I proved to myself that my base level fitness is high enough that the early easy training is relatively unnecessary for me and that without even changing the program I followed I could cut off the first half of the training entirely and just keep up my typical activities for that time period. To begin with this would probably be a much better option then the strung out program which I followed this time around. I think when training for my next event, whether that is a cycling race, a road race or a triathlon, I think the general lessons I’ve learned from this experience will transfer well into my next program.
I think that mentally the shorter training program would be huge; four and a half months is a long time to stay focused and motivated on a single goal, especially as my team is preparing for the season and spring outdoor activities are starting back up full steam. While it is possible and beneficial to do a number of cross training activities, the majority of the training needs to be in the specific area of whatever I’ll be training for so the shorter program will require less time in activity specific training.
The shorter time frame would be easier to keep a focused training diet going for a time period. One of my biggest vices is food and I find it hard to keep up on a healthy diet for long periods of time. I think I will save this for a future post however as this one has rambled on far enough. Teddy and Cole will arrive in DC tomorrow evening and we’ll leave Saturday morning for Virginia Beach to catch the Expo and get out packets etc… I think once they get here and the ball gets rolling we’re just going to snowball to the start of the race (and probably to mile 20 when things are supposed to get really hard). Until then though, I can hear the seconds slowly ticking away.