I am by no means a novice runner, but I am new to the marathon. I have run all my life. I started competing in the 6th grade. I was a sprinter in high school and college; and a not too shabby one at that. I've won many championships and even was an assistant coach on an NCAA Division I conference championship program. So why is this so hard? I have no idea. I've run a few half marathons and a handful of 5ks and 10ks, but what makes the marathon so different? Its still running, just farther. There are no steeples, no water jumps, no batons or blocks. Just 26.2 unwavering miles.
I can picture myself on race day slowly starting the race, getting into a groove, stopping when I need to and cruising through just about every water station. I can picture myself crossing the finish line. What I can't picture myself doing is running a 6 mile tempo this Wednesday or running 4 miles early tomorrow morning because I have a hair appointment at 5:30 or somehow fitting in a 14 mile long run over Labor Day weekend (amidst my bf's family reunion - which is another post entirely).
What is this phenomenon of marathon training? I've trained before. I've raced before, but there is something about marathon training that feels different.
My boss is an Iron Man. He just completed his second Iron Man competition this past weekend, beating his PR by over an hour. If he can do a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bike ride, followed by a full 26.2 mile run surely I can run a marathon. But the crazy part is that I know I can run the marathon. I just don't know if I can train for it. I don't know if that makes sense, but that is exactly how I feel right now. In my last performance review we talked about training (which I'm sure we should have been talking about my performance on the job, but it was totally relevant). He said there are 4 distinct levels of goals when training for an Iron Man:
- Make it to the start line.
- That is arrive healthy and able to compete. Therefore, your training should not only prepare you for the race itself, but be such that you are healthy enough to do it.
Register. Make it to the start line.
- Finish in 4:30.00 or under.
- Do it again.
- If I were not operating with all of my faculties this would say Qualify for Boston, but let's not turn this obsession into full on crazy.