It seems like a bit of a vague or overstated topic at this point in the training, I know, but it’s been kind of a strange week and I couldn’t think of a better way to encompass everything. The marathon is a little more than a month away, I still have two long runs ahead of me, and there are a number of potential setbacks sitting right in front of me, like cold weather and holidays. At the same time, I just want to run.
This week has had a little bit of everything. Thanksgiving Thursday means the Nth Annual Turkey Bowl. I say Nth because none of my friends seem to know exactly when we started doing this, and they were playing years before I returned home from Arizona. In any case, it’s a lot of fun tossing the football around with my friends for a few hours. It also uses a lot of muscle groups that flatland running does not. I was tired after the game, especially after deflecting a frigid wind all morning. Yet, after a warm drive home I was still ready to run, and I felt like I could. I got home, changed my shoes, filled up my water, and headed out on for a 10k jaunt. It should be mentioned that I missed my Wednesday 8-miler, so I was in a bit of a distance deficit according to my training plan anyway. The important aspect, though, is that I felt that I wanted to run, and that I still could. It felt good. Until Friday.
Friday is a rest day for me anyway, but it was going to take a few days longer for my legs to heal enough to be able to walk normally again let alone get out on a 13 mile run. In fact, today is Sunday and I’m still sore. So I pushed my long run this week from Saturday to Sunday…to Monday. But today, I was itching for it. Running has become a very important form of therapy for me.
Running provides a unique way to gain headspace, but when combined with the dietary adjustments it’s also gotten me in the best shape of my life. I’m at a weight I haven’t been since high school and with some simple cross training I have more energy, feel healthier, and look toned. I don’t want to lose that after I cross the finish line.
That being said, Mother Nature is finally turning down the thermostat. The highs are dropping quickly and with them my motivation to leave the comforts of central heating and sweat pants. Starting is the hardest part. When it’s cold out, it takes a little time to warm up as well, but once you get going, it’s still a good run. Especially if it’s snowing.
Now that we’re a little over a month from the big day, I’ve been thinking a lot about the approach I’ll take in terms of pacing and timing. I don’t want to come out too fast and burn out, but I don’t want to start so slow that I end up missing my goal time. I’m starting to worry about that a lot more as I have fewer long runs left. I’ve been working really hard to prepare myself to beat the 4 hour marathon mark, which I know is a tough goal to achieve. I need to do everything right from proper pacing to nutrition to sleep, all of which is made all the more difficult by flying two hours to a different timezone and staying in a hotel.
In the end, I’ve come a long way. I like what running has done and continues to do for me. I’ll keep running, no matter how low the temperature dives, and keep improving. Moreover, I’ll keep running because I like the way it makes me feel, and no marathon result can take that away.