Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Comparing Progress and Getting that PR

First of all, I didn’t realize how lackadaisical I was with training for my previous marathons until I started recording and tracking my progress.  Thank goodness I discovered Garmin Connect and started this blog to keep me honest!

I studied my previous weekly/monthly mileage and am so surprised at how “little” I was actually running.  I was lucky to get in 30 miles a week and took off a minimum of 2 nights a week (keep in mind I was playing soccer 2 times a week and did not count record these in my Garmin).  My monthly totals were consistently less than 100 miles per month (more like 75-80 miles a month) and somehow I ran a 3:23 marathon last October.  I also had a bad habit of skipping out on long runs and just ran consecutive days of mid-distance runs (8-10 milers) on weekends.  I just get bored with long runs….. or would find other things that I would rather do.

I’m really surprised I ran that fast and felt that good without injuring myself.  It also makes me more and more excited for my upcoming marathon.  I am the most prepared for a race that I have ever been and I still have a whole month of training left (fingers crossed I don’t injure myself or get sick of running). March 2012 = 135.54 miles and April 2012 = 137.78 miles…. compared to August 2011 = 79.89 miles and September = 116.98 miles before my STL Marathon PR.


But running is a strange and unpredictable beast.  No matter how prepared you think you are, there a ton of factors that go into running your best and/or feeling great while doing so…..and it is a 1-day event that you trained months for!  I could sit here and analyze the heck out of my training and predict that I will run a sub-3:20 marathon in June.  But come race day, a ton of $hit could go wrong or right…..

  • Weather- this is a HUGE factor in success or failure.  Will it be hot, cold, rainy, or sunny?  Will there be a tail wind or a head wind?
  • Course- how does the course compare to previous courses?  Is this course hilly?  Have I adequately prepared for hills?  Are there a lot of turns?  Will the course be crowded and I get stuck behind someone slow or I have to do a lot of weaving in and out of people?  
  • Travel/Sleep- Will I have to travel for this race?  Is there a time change?  Will I get enough sleep the night before?  Will the hotel pillow be just right?
  • Nutrition- Will I eat the right things to properly fuel myself pre/during the race? Will my stomach act up and force me to stop during the race? 
  • Injuries- Will I get injured the week before the race?  Or will I get a phantom taper injury (this is what happens to me before EVERY race; I THINK I am injured…..)?  Will I step in a pot hole at mile 3 of the race and twist my ankle?

And the list could go on and on and on. 

Really I don’t know why I run when there are so many things out of my control.  Plus running is pretty much a giant mind-f*ck of a sport.  Worse than any other sport, in my opinion.  At least when I had a crappy soccer game I could blame it on one of the 10 other people on the field with me.

But somehow I still love running.  I love seeing how far I can push myself and how fast I can go.  When will I reach my plateau of speed?  Or have I already peaked? 

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