Thank you so much to everyone for all the encouraging comments on the blog and Instagram! I am so grateful for the support and kind words as I train for my first marathon.
I originally was going to post a workout today, but instead I decided to discuss more about how marathon training has been for me so far and where I feel I am in relation to my goals. I feel weird writing so much about myself, but I know that I also find it motivating and helpful when other bloggers and athletes share in detail about the ups and downs of their training. So, for today’s post, I want to do Portland Marathon goal check-in to talk about where my training is in relation to my goal, both mentally and physically.
As I’m said numerous times, I’m attempting to qualify for Boston at the Portland Marathon, which for my age means a 3:35:00 or faster marathon. So far, training seems to indicate that I’m on track. Training is no guarantee, as weather, how I’m feeling, how my stomach is behaving, and the course can make or break the race. Still, it’s comforting to see those paces in training and be hitting them while at the appropriate effort, since that means I didn’t set some wildly unachievable goal for where I’m at right now.
By no means is every run perfect though. I have experienced several easy runs where my legs are just heavy and even a 9:30 minute mile feels hard. I have some run where 90% of the time I’m convincing myself not to quit. These runs are often accompanied by doubts: what if running feels this hard on race day? What if my legs just can’t hold the pace on race day? Marathon training is challenging, both physically and mentally.
A BQ, of course, is my “A” goal. My “B” goal is to finish feeling strong and at a good pace. I am very goal-oriented, so I have to remind myself that this is only my first marathon and there is a high learning curve for that race. Still, I don’t want to let go of my goal in training just because it’s intimidating or talk myself out of it on race day just because things begin to hurt and get hard.
I am well aware that the entire marathon could be worlds harder than I anticipate. Despite my best intentions and training, I could go out too fast, I could bonk at mile 21, I could be taunted by the thoughts of DNFing for the last 10K. It’s the marathon, and part of its allure is its difficulty. Part of the Hansons plan is that by running on tired legs, you will avoid hitting a wall on race day, so right now, I’m just trying to trust my training and not stress myself out about race day unknowns (easier said than done).
Still, like I said with the Go! St. Louis Half where I missed my goal but still ran a PR, I’d rather set high goals and miss than never try at all. I tend to be hard on myself (no, seriously, just ask Ryan) and I’ve spent the last year worrying too much about if other people viewed my decision to leave academia and my career path there as a failure after all the time and effort invested by myself and others. Failure is what I make of it, not others, and for me, the failure here would be to get too scared to pursue a goal, not to miss the goal after giving it my all and have to try again.
Achieving the mileage goal for each week has definitely boosted my confidence in my fitness and ability to run this marathon. A year ago, anything above 40 miles per week sounded unattainable to me. I spend several years running comfortably at 20-25 miles per week, so I think adapting to higher mileage was more about breaking a mental barrier than making huge gains in physical fitness. Now, I’m handling 50+ mile weeks well and am looking forward to extending my long runs more.
I’m betting that I’ll finish the marathon in 3:32, or an 8:06min/mile average pace. My first 10K and my first half marathon were both at an 8:06min/mile average, so I think it would be just too coincidental if my first marathon was as well.
Questions of the Day:
Now it’s your turn: how are you doing on your goals for this year?
For runners who have BQ’ed: do you have any tips?