Last year, while training for the marathon and struggling through my first two long runs, I wasn’t convinced I was going to have a good marathon and even considered deferring or not running any more marathons altogether. Something told me to give it another try. Half way through that run I was beginning to struggle. I was frustrated and feeling defeated. This is not how you want to kick off your marathon training!
While standing at a water fountain I saw two people who were running by and they looked so relaxed and so not struggling. I wanted them to die or at least have some rare and severe running injury that would prevent them form ever looking that good while running again. Really, I am a kind and generous person but they needed to be punished.
When I started up again and caught up with them I realized something rather significant — they were running at the pace I was supposed to be doing my long run at. In case you are not aware or just ignore the running rules of marathon training you should be running your long runs at about one to two minutes slower than marathon pace. When you typically reside in the back of the pack that time between your marathon pace and a two minute slower gets a little blurry. Can we really run any slower than we already do?
But back to that lovely, relaxed running couple that I wanted to get boils all over their bodies or something like that. I started running at their pace, which was supposed to be my pace, and I felt good. I was no longer struggling and I relaxed a bit and maybe stopped wishing ill will on super relaxed we enjoy running long together couple. I got through that long run.
Next week I forced myself to slow down and stick to that pace. I got through 14 miles without struggling. It was still a challenge, which it sort of should be, but I was happy. I did it again the next week and then I got excited about the marathon. I was going to do it and I was going to improve over my previous year’s time and I did.
One of the things I’m trying to do with down time before my marathon training begins is to get that feel for my long run pace. Most of my runs have been shorter distances and targeted for a specific work out. I figure this is the time to get used to running a little slower so that I don’t start of discouraged about my training. Let’s save that for the end of August when it’s really disgustingly hot and humid and it’s miserable out no matter how early you get up to run. That’s what August is for.
But when things clicked for me last year, and thankfully it was still early in my training, I was happy and satisfied with my training. I was able to objectively see the improvements I made from the year before. That really helped with my confidence in going into the longer runs and the marathon itself.
I want to carry that over into this year. As I have mentioned in previous posts, I am feeling pretty good about where my running is right now and that is an awesome way to start my training. I wasn’t any where near this level last year and I can’t wait to get started!