As of 7:30 am this morning, there were only 45 days left until race day, and I am getting so excited. It could be that my training is going well, or that fall temperatures have finally arrived, but I’m thinking more and more about race day and have been visualizing an amazing race. I thought I’d take a few moments to reflect on training so far…what’s the same, what’s different, and how I’m feeling about it all.
My plan has been working beautifully for my crazy life right now. My coach set it up to capitalize on the extra time I have on the days I work from home. Also, we changed up the approach to my speed-work this cycle, so that I am doing one very hard workout a week and adding pace work to my long runs. Since I’ve been so injury prone in the past, this is giving my body the right balance for where I’m at right now. I really enjoy the pace work in the long run miles. They don’t intimidate me too much, and I like the added challenge and the mental division of the miles. All of this to say that my coach is great and has done an awesome job of really customizing my training plan to my life, my body, and my goals….which is the whole point of hiring a coach!
Training in the heat was miserable, and I’m glad it’s mostly behind me. This summer in Atlanta, like most of the country, was one of the hottest we’ve had in a while, and the heat seemed to last longer than it normally does. As much as I despise it, I have to admit that I think the heat and humidity sticking around longer certainly helped improve my overall fitness. I had my first training run in the mid-50s this morning (after many months running in 70+ and about a week around the upper 60s) and immediately noticed the difference. I’m really, really excited to see how my paces will be impacted over the next few weeks as it gets colder. I enjoy cold weather running a lot, so I’m excited that it arrived in time for the peak of my training.
Figuring out that I’ve been suffering from exercise-induced asthma and getting proper treatment has also had a huge impact on my training. The burn of a hard effort is much different than literally feeling like you can’t breathe! It’s really eye opening when you consider that fact that your “normal” may not actually be normal!Reflections on training for the @Sportsbackers Richmond Marathon #marathontraining Click To Tweet
I’ve kept my pre-run and mid-run fueling mostly the same from my training last year. However, I’ve really focused more on eating well all around. I also starting taking Iron supplements and between these two things, noticed a big difference in my energy levels. Don’t get me wrong, there are still days where I’m feeling fatigued and I certainly sleep like a baby each night, but it’s nothing like what I’ve felt in previous training cycles. I also have been focusing on getting plenty of sleep – generally 7 to 8 hours per night. I think all of these things are helping my body recover.
My biggest concern going into this training cycle was keeping myself healthy, and it still is. I’ve been diligent about doing my proper warmups and cooldowns, as well as stretching and foam rolling. I’ve also been getting sports massages every two weeks, as I discovered it is covered by my HSA account. In past training cycles, I had aches and tightness in many parts of my legs throughout the week….even just sitting at my desk. I’ve had a few pop up here and there the past few months, but overall, my legs are feeling great. Tired from the mileage, but definitely not tight and achy. I’ll cautiously say that this may be the best my legs have ever felt during a training cycle. I do believe my focus on fixing muscle imbalances over the off-season has been a contributor to this, as well. Another instance of what I thought was “normal” turned out to actually not be….
When I think about race day, I still have nervousness about pacing. For my first marathon, I literally didn’t worry about time at all. Christina and I ran it together and took the time to have fun. When I ran Richmond last year, my main focus was to negative split. I really wanted to run the whole thing, but to finish with gas in the tank and to finish strong. This means that I ran the first half (and some) VERY conservatively. It was an awesome race experience and exactly what I wanted to do!
This will be the first marathon where I shoot for a time goal. That goal isn’t finalized yet, but it will likely be under 4:30…perhaps even lower than that. This will be the first marathon where I will really pay attention to paces and try to run the best time I can on that day, given those conditions. This terrifies me a little. I tend to go out way too fast, or way too conservatively. I’m still working on figuring out what the paces should “feel” like at each part of the race. I know some of this will come with experience, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I want to nail it on November 12th. It’s something I’ve talked to my coach about and we are working on incorporating some workouts that will help with my confidence in this area.
There is about a month of really hard training left, and I know that the base of fitness I’ve been building will really start to come together and get fine-tuned over the next few weeks. We’re in the home stretch, my focus is giving 100% in every one of my workouts. Here’s the thing about the marathon – when you toe the starting line on race day, you’ll know deep down if you’ve done the work. I want to be standing at the start line on November 12th with no regrets, knowing that I’ve done all I can to prepare for whatever race day throws at me. So much of marathon training is the journey, and this one is shaping up to be one of the best ones yet!When you toe the starting line of a marathon, you know deep down if you've done the work. #runchat Click To Tweet
How is your training for your fall goal race going? Please comment below if you are running any of the Richmond Marathon events – I’d love to hear from you!
I am an official blogger for the Richmond Marathon, who has given me a complimentary entry into the 2016 Richmond Marathon. I truly do love this race, and all opinions are my own. If my posts have inspired you to sign up for this race, please use my referral code jessrunsrva.
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