I had a very similar thought after I finished both the Seattle half-marathon and the Yukon Do It half. Sure, there was the usual relief to be done and satisfaction in a fun, hard race…but the most prominent thing in my mind was this:
What will this do for my marathon time?
Don’t get me wrong. I was really proud of my times for both races, and I developed a new fondness for the 13.1 distance. But deep down, I was looking further out. I hadn’t realized it before…but while increasing speed across as distances and enjoying races in all forms is important to me, there’s one distance that beckons louder for me than all others.
So although I do love running no matter the conditions—hot, cold, short, long, fast, slow, I’m realizing the my competitive focus has narrowed on the marathon.
In some ways I wish this weren’t true, given the nature of the beast. The training, the miles, the race itself…it’s all rather torturous, really. I’m pretty sure I’m not into masochism (although some would argue all runners are to a certain degree), but there’s just something about the distance that calls to me. It’s the difficulty, it’s the magnitude, it’s the glory—all in one. No matter how many times I get beat down by the brutality of it all—and there have been many—I just keep crawling back into the lion cage, begging for more.
Which leads me to the point of this post:
Spring Marathon Training. It’s here…well, almost.
Over the past few months, since recovering from Chicago, I’ve tried to centralize my running focus on two things: speed and recovery. Speed, in the sense of building up my lactate threshold in shorter distances in hopes of lowering my marathon goal pace. And recovery in the sense of establishing a ying and yang between hard workouts and rest. I’ve sucked at resting before, and it’s lead to one-too-many overuse injuries. I’ve begun to make rest a habit, and it’s working.
Nothing changes if nothing changes.
Along with these two focuses, I’ve tried to establish a solid running “base.” I’ve logged approximately 40 mile weeks for the past two months of so, including over 200 miles over the month of December (Thanks Nicole for enabling us to keep track of that!).
All these things for the sake of being in top notch condition for a very focused, very disciplined Spring Marathon plan. A plan that is all geared toward a very specific goal time:
BQ, baby. It is on.
I’ve had this goal before, but I never really admitted it, and I never really internalized it for myself. It always seemed a step away from me and only possible if a miracle happened. For the first time though, not only am I announcing it publicly— but I truly believe it’s possible.
There are many specifics as to the plan I’ll be following—which I’ll include in another post—but the primary change is that for the first time, I’m not making up my own schedule. 12 weeks, prescribed workouts, all hitting specific targets.
And I’m psyched. Actual training will begin Monday, February 4th, ending on Sunday April 28.
The goal marathon, you ask?
Some of you may remember that I was registered for Eugene last year. I was all set to run, but due to some knee bursitis and schedule rearranging, I switched my plan and ran the Tacoma Marathon instead. I still believe it was the best decision at the time…but consequentially I believe there’s some unfinished business to be done in Track Town.
Obviously, there’s a long way to go until then, but I really cannot wait to get started. Something feels right about this go-around…my brain, my legs, and my enthusiasm all feel very in sync, and I’m excited to see how this kind of exposed-goal, regimented training session goes.
Until then, I’m running when I want to, sleeping in when I want to, and mentally preparing for what feels like the biggest 26.2 undertaking yet.
And since I know for certain I’m not the only blogger/runner making the April trip down south…tell me, are you in for Huge Eug??