I am now on week 7 of my training, with 8 weeks to go. I’m at a point where I feel like I have put in a lot of hard work, but I am starting to question if my workouts will get me to where I need to be. I’m still not even sure what a reasonable goal is for this race. I want to set a big goal, but I also want to have a decent chance of achieving it.
I’ve read dozens of stories of people knocking 20, 30, or even 40 minutes off their marathon times. This is especially true if your current times leave enough room for improvement. I know that there is plenty of room for improvement in my marathon time, and I know that I one day have the potential to run a 3:30 or better if I keep working hard.
I have been doing these harder workouts (that honestly haven’t even felt THAT hard) sandwiched between easy days. It’s been working well, especially with taking the easy days really easy. I still don’t have as much confidence about my longer runs. I’m not sure how fast I should really be running them (even though it’s usually recommended that they are done slower, it makes me nervous because the whole point of marathon training is to learn to run for a long time and I want to get faster at doing that!) While I haven’t been pushing my long runs too much, it is the one area of my training that leaves me questioning if I am actually making progress in marathon training.
My speed workouts (800s and mile repeats) have been fast enough.
I’ve been able to see improvement in my tempo runs.
I am feeling more comfortable with marathon paced miles (up to 4 so far- but longer for tempos which are faster than MP) and hills.
I spend way too much time analyzing the data and questioning it all.
I want to focus on the positive, but I also want to stay realistic.
I know that self-doubt is a natural part of the process, and I have been saying all along that the most important thing is to look at the big picture of the progress that has been made. I think I have learned to recognize when I am making progress towards shorter distances, but maybe I just don’t know yet what is feels like to make progress towards a faster marathon time.
So I’m wondering how you measure your progress? How often do you look back on your training to think about how it is going? Have you ever cut a huge amount of time off of a PR? If so, what do you think you did differently during that training or race to help you make that improvement?