I only have one long run left (26km) and four long-ish runs left (16km) two of which are tempo runs, two speed interval days and the rest is just easy slow paced running.
I do not have a lot of marathon experience, but what I do know, is that 32+ kilometre (20+ miles) training runs are not for me. I don't look forward to them, and I don't enjoy the second half where I feel like part of the cast of The Walking Dead. So this time around I decided to follow the Hansons Marathon Method. I borrowed the book from the library, read it cover to cover twice, and I was sold. The main gist of the plans is cumulative fatigue. The farthest run you ever do is 26km (16 miles) and you only do that three times (I think... it might be 4, don't quote me). The theory is that this 26km is training your body to run the last 26km of a marathon, not the first 26km. In order to achieve this illusion, you run a lot! 6x a week, each run at least 10km or more, so that your legs are really tired going into those long runs.
I can be really dedicated when I choose to be so I have only missed two days of running in the last 6 weeks. I took one extra day off last week because my calf muscle was feeling super painful and tight, so I took an extra day to ice and stretch to try and avoid injury, and I took one other day off because I was having some serious nausea/stomach issues, and could not contemplate leaving the house (I think I may have given myself mild heat exhaustion, I definitely should have worn a hat and drank more water on my long run the day prior. But other than that I have made it out the door 6x a week for 4 weeks and 5x a week for two weeks, which adds up to a lot of running.
So here's the thing. Even though I know in my mind, and have the proof on paper that I have put in the training, for example, after my run today I will have run approximately 310km this month. This is the most kilometres I have ever run in a month by 60km! that's huge! I am feeling strong. My legs feel tough, I have pushed through and finished long runs on extremely sore and tired legs, and unless something terrible happens, I am pretty much guaranteed a PR, and somehow I am still freaking out.
I need to learn to put less pressure on myself and just have fun. I think the thing is. Training for a marathon is a big commitment. I have poured so much time and effort into training that I feel like anything less than perfection on race day would be pointless. And that is a lot of pressure, so if anyone can tell me how to train for 4-6 months for one day and not feel overwhelmed, I would really like to know the secret.
I'll keep running though, with less than four weeks to go, not even my own fears could stop me. (260-ish kilometres to go before that start line.)
At the beginning of the year, all the way back in January I made 3 goals for myself for this year. To run 2 marathons, run a sub 2-hour half-marathon, and to volunteer at a race.
So far, I am on track to completing all of my goals, barring any injuries (fingers crossed), In just over a month I will have completed them all.
- I ran my first 42.2km at the Gopher Attack Marathon on a trying winter day in April
- I ran the River Run Classic Half-Marathon in 1:56 and change
- I volunteered at the Saskatchewan Marathon as a Pace Bunny for the 2:10 half group.
All that is left is the Edmonton Marathon, and that will end it off. I don't want to get ahead of myself, but the wheels are turning on what I would like to aim for next.
After Edmonton my plan is to take a much needed two full weeks off of running for recovery, and then have a quick turnaround and run the Mogathon half-marathon for the third year in a row. Ideally I would like to PR at this race, I set my current PR here last year, and I would love to make it happen again. If it doesn't happen though, I have made my peace with it. It is only 3 weeks after Edmonton, so it is a bit of a stretch to recover and then hit a PR right after.
So I don't know what is next for me, but I do know I will feel great satisfaction in doing what I set out to do, and thought might be impossible 7 months ago.
Let us start out by saying when I crossed the finish line, I looked at my watch and saw that I ran a 1:56:55. A whole 30 seconds slower than my PR.
I worked hard at running for over a year to get a sub 2 time, so that fact that I could get a sub 2 hour time while having what I consider a bad race, is encouraging, but overall I wish it had all gone differently.
When I woke up on race morning my legs were stiff. I know this is because I did not taper for this race. My goal race is still the Edmonton marathon, so I have been running significantly higher milage than one would expect in the two weeks before a race, (65-85km weeks) which does not equal fresh legs on race day, I only took 1 extra day off pre-race, so I don't know what I expected. I grabbed some breakfast, and soaked my legs in a hot bath to try and relieve some of the tension I was feeling and left my house 45mins prior to the start.
By the time I drove to the start line, most of the tension felt like it had eased off a little, and I was more optimistic about the race.
The gun went, and off we were. My music was good and I was feeling happy. 3km went by pretty uneventful, I settled into my pace and was feeling strong. I love running on this section of the river. The views are beautiful, and the weather was just perfect.
Then my stomach started to feel terrible. I pushed through until the washrooms at 5km and ducked in for a pit-stop. Once starting again, I knew that this was it for me. It was not going to be a PR day. My upset stomach was not backing off in the slightest, and I knew it was only going to get worse.
It was really hard to stay mentally tough, as I saw my PR slipping away. I wanted to give up so many times and just walk it in. It was really frustrating. I know my upset stomach was caused by the meds I am on, and there was just nothing to be done about it but to try and push through. And I really did try to do just that.
I stopped at the same washroom again on the way back, and powered through to the finish.
I am happy that even a race that feels really bad can now get me a sub-2 finish, I am proud of that, but more than that I am now really hungry for a really great race. To have one day filled with race-magic that I can just really hit the ground running and leave everything I have out on the course.
I know that I have more to give. I know I can go sub 1:50. It just didn't happen that day. I may not be 100% satisfied with how the race went on Sunday but I do know that it is moving be closer to being a better runner. I need to plan more mental strategies for when my body says no. Even though I was in pain, I was still able to kick out a sub 5min km at the end, so I know when I put my mind to it I can push through, and that I have more to give than I have been giving. I am going to use all this disappointment to spur me on to making my next race something that I can be truly happy with, and proud of.