2 Things I Miss about Training for a Fall Marathon (and a bunch of things I Don’t)
Running a fall marathon has been a big part of my life the last few years. It creates a certain predictability and reliability to my life in an otherwise crazy time. I didn’t realize quite how much I appreciated it until it wasn’t there.
For the past two years, I ran the Twin Cities Marathon – arguably the best marathon on the planet (to be fair, I haven’t run any marathons outside of Minnesota). In 2013, I smashed my marathon PR by 37 minutes, and in 2014, eeked out a 30 second Boston Qualifier.
There has been a summer rhythm I’ve gotten used to… which is why I’ve felt a little off this summer.
Without the rigors of training for a marathon, I haven’t quite known what to do with myself. As I recently joined yet another group run with a, “whatever pace and distance you guys want” attitude, it dawned on me that there are a couple of things I’m really missing from my summer running schedule, but also a slew of things I’m glad I don’t have to deal with right now.
I Miss Having a Training Plan Tell me What to do Everyday
The past three marathons I have trained for have been pretty intense. Six or seven runs per week, topping off at 75 miles. As you probably know from you own training, this influences what time you wake up, go to bed, what you eat in between, and a host of other factors. When I am hyper disciplines in one area of life, it spills over into the rest and I am more productive.
Without that, I’m a bit like a wandering toddler in the grocery store. Too many choices, no ability to choose, and wanting to do everything and nothing all at once.
Some days I’ll get really motivated and go tackle some hills, or log a 10 mile long run on the weekend. Other days I’ll decide to skip it all together.
After my less-than-awesome Grandma’s Marathon in June, I’ve been dragging my feet deciding what race I want to do next. As a Maximizer, I want to ensure I’m picking the best plan before jumping in. With several things up in the air right now, it’s been hard to get on board with any one thing.
I Miss Not Having Something Epic to Look Forward To
Running a fall marathon has provides me with something to look forward to and get excited about. It’s different than a vacation, birthday, promotion, kids, etc., in that you work super hard for months and months, and it all comes down to a handful of hours. At the conclusion, either you accomplished your goal, or you didn’t. There is a certain finality to it that brings some closure.
Fall also feels like a great time for this to happen. It is a culmination of a winter, spring and summer full of running.
As I’ve talked to friends and family members running a fall marathon, part of me has a fear of missing out. A few times I’ve considered registering again for TCM, or Portland, or a host of other fall marathons.
Thankfully I have resisted the urge.
Then Again, I don’t Miss…
A whole bunch of stuff.
I need a break… mentally, physically and emotionally. I need to get this dang achilles thing figured out. I need to get stronger and get my mind in a place where I’m in love with the challenge and rigor of training for a marathon again.
I don’t miss 75 mile weeks. I don’t miss constantly being sore, or having to think about foam rolling and stretching three times a day. I don’t miss being perpetually hungry, or hydrating based on pee color. I don’t miss planning my laundry schedule around what clean running gear I have left. Most of all, I don’t miss sacrificing plans with friends and family because I’m planning for or running my weekend long run.
Self-reflection can be a funny thing
As I write this, each of the things I “don’t miss” are things I’ve taken great joy in in the past. I’m reminded of where I was last year at this time, and really excited/nervous about what I was attempting with my marathon goals.
Running isn’t binary in the sense that you are either training hard or you’re surfing the couch. There is a plethora of exciting in-between phases that sometimes get forgotten.
In my Grandma’s Marathon recap post, I wrote about the healthiness of moving on. I wrote,
…moving on means fully recovering from the marathon (and enjoying the downtime), running some shorter distances, and then ramping up again.
I’m still recovering, and have finally comes to grips with “downtime.” I have four shorter distances on the calendar, and am enjoying the rest. I enjoy waking up and decided if I want to run or not.
I enjoyed Sara’s post, because sometimes we need to remember that running shouldn’t feel daunting. Hard? Sure. Challenging? Of course. If you go into training half hearted, you can’t will yourself to a PR. That said, sometimes you just need to jump in and see what happens. Knowing the difference is what sets the casual runners apart from the life-long-runners.
Do you know these feelings? Are you training for a fall marathon? Where’s your head right now?