Well, training has officially started and I’m working on SLOWING DOWN. On my recovery runs that is. Everything I’ve read about training for a marathon gives this advice – keep your recovery runs very slow so that you can successfully pace your tempo runs. Even when I’m doing an easy run, I can’t help but push myself a little bit. On Monday I did 4 recovery miles after my long run Sunday and went to the treadmill so I could control my pace a little bit better. I did 4 mi @ 9:20 pace and my legs felt pretty good. On Tuesday I decided to run outside after work despite the fact that it was 90 degrees. Terrible decision. 5 mi @ 8:50/mi and for the first time in a long time I thought I might pass out. I was praying for a sprinkler but never came across one. When I got home I had a bad migraine and couldn’t stop sweating, so naturally I made some strawberry bananas margaritas to drink in bed while watching Netflix.
Dixie wanted one too!
Now let’s talk about goals. If there are two things that I know to be 100% true about myself they are that 1. I love to plan and 2. I like to be prepared. I like to know exactly what to expect when I’m going into most situations. Whenever I go out to eat, even if I’ve been to the restaurant a million times, I look up the menu online and think about what I’m going to get. I google EVERYTHING. You should have seen me when Thomas and I were trying to book our honeymoon resort. I was tripadvisor.com’s most frequent visitor. I know these things are pretty normal, but I take it to a new level. It’s kind of odd because I also consider myself to be a pretty laid back and spontaneous person, but when I take something seriously (food, honeymooning, marathon training, etc), I get anxiety if I don’t feel prepared.
As much as I love to plan and prepare, I’ve decided to take a different approach to this race. I do have a training plan and I’m going to follow it the best I can, but I want my first marathon to be a benchmark experience for future races. How can I know what to expect when I’ve never tried to do something like this before? I can listen to all of the advice in the world and read 500 running blogs, but that has nothing to do with my personal experience. So, for this race I’m going to just go with the flow, be flexible with my training, and see how it goes. I have goals in mind, but I’m not going to get all upset if I don’t meet them. If I lower my expectations for this race, I’ll come out if it with a MUCH better attitude than if I set an unattainable goal and fail miserably.
Don’t get me wrong, I want to train hard and push myself, but I’m not getting too crazy about my paces and times. There will be more marathons in the future where I can set goal times and training paces, etc etc.
If you read my conservative vs. aggressive training post a few weeks back, you might wonder why I chose this path instead of the aggressive one that I seemed to be leaning towards. Well, it was mostly your words of wisdom that you all offered, especially these ones:
It was also a reality check. I’m getting married right in the middle of this training cycle. I’m also honeymooning, traveling, attending showers/bachelorette parties and I just don’t want to put too much pressure on myself, especially during the most memorable and amazing time of my life. I want to look back and say “that was the year I got married” instead of “that was the year I was miserable because I was pushing myself too hard getting ready for my first marathon.”
If you’re curious about what that goal is that I mentioned earlier, it’s a pretty standard goal among marathoners – break 4 hours. When I was being a planner and preparer after my first half marathon (before I decided to go with the more laid back approach), I became obsessed with race predictor calculators, punching in different race times for different distances to see what my goal marathon time should be (mentally exhausting). According to those calculators, I would finish a marathon right around 4:01 based on my first and only half marathon time (1:54:49). I think these calculators are a great tool to give you a good attainable race goal if you need help setting one, but I think they can also restrict you if you take them too seriously. Am I going to be crushed if I don’t meet this goal? Absolutely not. Am I going to be beyond thrilled if the clock says 3:xx:xx when I cross the finish line? YES. I’ll probably cry.
Do you look up the menu before you go out to eat, even if you’ve been there a million times?
What was your goal in your FIRST marathon? Did you meet it?