Not to start this off on a relative downer, but my initial mental switch from 1/2 marathon racing to marathon racing has left me equally as intimidated as I am excited. And this is a good thing. Anyone who goes into training for a marathon and isn’t intimidated by the distance is either 1. not going to start, 2. not going to finish 3. delusionally and stupidly inspired after watching Run Fatboy Run. It’s a recipe for disaster and a big fat DNF (did not finish) next to their name on the results list.
So yes, I am quite intimidated by this endeavor, but in a survivalist way that has forced me to adjust my mindset accordingly and be damn committed to preparing for this intensely. This means tapping all my runner friends for their marathon experience, developing a projected training plan, upping my weekly mileage, cutting back on eating the entire bag of late night cookies (dead weight), and not convincing myself to skip a day of training for the sake of “recovery” when i’m really just deluding myself. Now, I know this sounds like some sort of self adhered puritanistic flogging, but I don’t really see it that way. To me, mentally taking on the marathon like this is a positive motivation. It is the impetus to really take my running to the next level and see what I can do with my body, instead of ever so slowly building up my fitness and endurance. This time it’s all out and although it intimidates me, it does so in a way that I know is only going to reap big rewards.
So what exactly makes the marathon so intimidating? It’s far…yes, but considering that millions of people run it every year, it can’t be that ridiculous. Hell, some of those people run it consecutively for a month straight. The cynical side of me knows that the hype is partially generated by the mystical aura placed around the distance, as if completing it makes you superhuman, but more deeply I know that it has simply developed a cultural significance for bored middle-aged non-athletes. Something to check off their bucket list. And in that regard, although I always respect the success of doing the event, I know the difficulty encountered in the effort is due more to a lack of respect or lack of intimidation for what it takes to finish the distance. If you drag yourself across the line half-dead due to improper training, you’ll probably feel like you successfully cheated death. Whether that is respectable or not I’ll leave up to you.
I’ve been told I should do a marathon for years now. When I offer a less than enthusiastic response I’m always given the line, “You could totally finish it!”. And that’s probably true, of course I could finish it, but I don’t want to run just to finish. I want to run well. I want to run fast. So yeah, in the past I could have already finished a marathon, but I’m only now at the level where I think I can train properly and race it properly. And in that is where my main intimidation lies….running well.
My first race back was a 10k (6.2 miles) and from there I bounced around 5k’s, 5 milers, 15k’s and other odd distances, but even making the jump to racing a 1/2 marathon was no huge deal. I had run the distance multiple times in training and going from a 10k or 15k racing distance to a full 13.1 miles is not that big of a jump. However, there are not a lot of race distances in between 13.1 miles and 26.2 miles. And, of course, 26.2 miles is a full doubling of the previous race distance of 13.1 miles, and in that distance there are so many unknown variables regarding stamina, thresholds, walls, etc. etc. etc. Without extensive marathoning experiences, you are best to be intimidated at the 13.1 miles that follows the previous 13.1 miles. And that is where I stand right now…intimidated…fortunately.
The positive side to this is the determination this intimidation is putting into me, to make damn sure I’ve trained properly, knocking off a number of high mileage tempo runs at or faster than marathon race pace, recovering well, envisioning the effort, and so on. So yeah, I understand the hype around the marathon, but I think the intimidation between finishing the marathon and racing the marathon are on two different levels. I’m glad I’m in the latter.
In the future I’ll be more detailed with my logs, but since this is a catch up list, I’m going to be more general with my training since making the decision to go at it.
5 / 31 – 10 miles (post 15k trail race on Saturday) easy recovery
6 / 1 – 1:16:26 of running…approximately 12 miles (in sweltering heat)
6 / 2 – 12 miles (3 warm up, 6 steady-state at 5:26 per mile, 3 cool down) This was my first training run with a recently formed group of guys who comprise the fastest runners in Indianapolis…some of them olympic marathon trials qualifiers (sub 2:22)
6 / 3 – 10 miles (recovery – approximately 6:00 minute pace – negative split)
6 / 4 – 11 or 12 miles approximately (long warmup – 10 twenty second hill sprints – recover – 3 more longer hill sprints – cool down jog back home)
Diet for 6/4
Breakfast – oatmeal with peanut butter, turbinado, raisins and almonds
Lunch – mock chicken pattie on whole wheat bread (with vegan mayonnaise, tomato, yellow pepper) and a granola bar
Dinner – haven’t had it yet!
Snacks – smoothie made by my awesome, supportive girlfriend – lots of coffee (as always) – banana – small bites of pasta w/ regular sauce – sips of gatorade