I really can’t believe that I am two days away from marathon #6! Four years ago this weekend was when I toed the line for my first marathon ever, the Philadelphia Marathon. Sadly, I did not blog back then so there was no documentation of my personal experience, however, my friend Alli was blogging at the time and she came with me to the race and posted about it here!
Anyway, clearly I am distracting myself from the matter at hand which is the Route 66 Marathon on Sunday. Up until yesterday I hadn’t been thinking too much about it- I don’t know if that was by choice or not, but I think it was a good thing because there was less time to feel nervous about it. I think at this point I have learned that there are so many things we can’t control about races so it’s not worth thinking too much about it.
I also think part of the reason I have been a bit more laid back is that I have had a coach to tell me exactly what to do. So instead of going back and forth in my head a million times about what to do this week, she just tells me and I listen. I started debating about what shoes to wear, and after a few minutes I just E-mailed her and she told me her recommendation. Clearly that decision should not be a source of stress but it could have gone in that direction if I let it!
These examples seem to have been the theme of my training cycle- try to keep the over-thinking to a minimum and stay focused on the basics. In a way, I never felt the same level of pressure about this training cycle/race that I did for others. When I signed up for this marathon in late July, I was feeling ready to work towards a goal and increase my mileage, but I didn’t really care so much about running a marathon. I have no idea if that even makes sense, but I really just wanted to train for a marathon. When Rob signed up for Route 66 and worked it into our travel plans for visiting family next week, it made sense for me to sign up as well. But again, I wasn’t feeling focused on the race.
I started training the first week in August. I immediately had to move my days around due to a thunderstorm in week 1, and worried that it would be a rough training cycle without having access to a treadmill. Then week 2 came along, and I was really sick. At the time I was worried it would interfere with my training, but now it feels like it was SO long ago. The effects of that cold lasted for a few more weeks, making the two races I ran around that time a little more difficult. Well, the Dreaded Druid Hills 10k would have probably been really tough either way, and I ended up doing well in the Charles St 12 although I still had a cough.
Then the training and the mileage picked up, and it wasn’t easy getting those runs in before work every day. I took a huge step back from blogging in order to allow myself the time to train and recover and get as much sleep as I could during this time. There were some great runs and some really tough runs during this time- but it all made sense for where I was in my training cycle.
For the last 3 weeks I have tapered, and enjoyed a little more time to sleep in and do other things, but this is always a tough time for me. I want to get back on my regular workout schedule and I know that even after the marathon it will be a few weeks before I can do that. However, with Thanksgiving next week (how did that happen?) I’m sure the time will fly by.
Personally, I think one of the best parts about this training cycle was being able to remove the pressure and stress from myself. This was largely in part to having a coach, and perhaps partly because I was never overly focused on a time goal for the race. We decided before I even started training that a BQ was too big of a jump at this time (#1 goal was to avoid getting injured) so I think that alone removed the pressure I would have otherwise felt. I know I certainly trained to reach my goal time, but I already achieved so many of my other goals.
The next two days will actually be the time when I do need to start focusing on the race and thinking about what I want to achieve. While it was helpful to not worry about it for the past 16 weeks, I need to be able to focus on race day and not allow myself to give up (like I tend to do). Even though I have already reached my goals in other ways, I still want this race to be a success.
Thank you all for following along over the last 16 weeks! I couldn’t imagine training for a race without blogging about it:) See you on the other side of 26.2…
How do you get mentally focused for a race?
Do you find that you typically do better in a race when you don’t put as much pressure on yourself?