Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Palindromes & Pep Talks {Part 1}

Are we not drawn onward to new era?

When I started running two years ago I started a new chapter in my life. A "new era" dawned and I became more aware of, and more in tune with, a better version of myself. Possibly the best version of myself. Each training cycle since I began running has been filled with new discoveries. And often a rediscovery of old passions and a highlight of potential new endeavors. I've travelled more. I've saved more (to fund the whole traveling more thing). I've suffered more also... the pain of injury and the pain of disappointment. But the ups and downs are part of the process, and despite the "down" periods, I'm still drawn to each new era of my running journey.

My training for the Chicago Marathon is one such era. It's been quite the roller coaster ride so far. Achieving one accomplishment only to be sidelined with pain and injury (thereby inhibiting the next goal/milestone/success). The past 6 weeks since I started my "official" marathon training have been like that. Of course, starting training in be Summer is never ideal. But when you train for a Fall marathon you really don't have a choice. I know I have a longer training plan than most people do (I built in extra weeks in case I needed more recovery time) but I still feel like I'm running out of time. I feel like I should be more prepared and comfortable with certain distances than I currently am. I feel like October is going to be here quickly and before I know it I will be toeing the starting line without the mental and physical preparation that I intended to achieve when I started this year; this training cycle; this era.

As you can probably tell, I've been battling mental training challenges just as much as the physical ones. I've given myself countless pep talks. My friends have given me pep talks. My family has given me pep talks. And yet, as I sit and write this, I'm still nervous/worried/concerned/scared that I won't be ready. I rethink and rewrite my training plan over and over. I've made adjustments for changes in my life that have made (and will now make) some of my initial training routines more challenging (if not downright impossible). The little voices of doubt are getting louder and louder (even my new "music crush" Soca playlist isn't drowning them out quite like it used to). And although I'm more and more apprehensive about the "Chicago Era", I'm still determined to do it (if only to prove to myself that I CAN do it).

A lot of times I read the posts of my running/blogger friends (can I call you guys friends?) and most of them are like me in that we are pretty open about our running successes and the "not quite what we were hoping for" training runs/races. But I still wonder if everyone gets as scared as I do. Does everyone over analyze and over think their training process?

Here's what I wonder...
1. Can I really do this? (Without dying and/or hating life for weeks on end after)

2. Is it really ok to only run up to 20 miles during training? (I have two 20 mile runs and one 22/23 mile run scheduled on my current plan)

3. Is my current training plan too intense for a first time marathoner? (I only run 3 days a week and my mid-week runs are very short)

4. Is running 3 days a week enough? (Coaches have shared that more than 3 will increase my injury risk)

5. Are my mid-week runs long enough? (Typically I will run a 5K, sometimes 5 miles for each mid-week run)

I could go on and on with the questions that I ponder weekly daily. But I don't think there are any "right" answers. One of my friends said "you will be as trained as you need to be". But what if that's not enough? What happens then? 

How nervous were you before your first full marathon?

Do you run 3 times a week? More? LESS?!

What is your favorite memory from your very first race (any distance)?


  1. You can totally do a marathon on 20 miles. Many training plans recommend that. A few recommend over-running (e.g. hitting 27 miles) to help you mentally. I think it all depends on your mindset and timing.

    I've done multiple marathons. I'm not fast, I don't train to cross the line first. My goal is always to finish within the time limit and still be smiling. While I did get a technical DNF at one, for crossing the finish line after it closed, I FINISHED THE RACE. You just need to be confident enough that you can do it, and find help on the course if you need it. (I would not have finished that race without Dexter.)

    Don't stress yourself out too much. Try to enjoy your first marathon if at all possible. Remember, no matter how slow you go, you're still guaranteed a marathon PR!

    1. I love this! "no matter how slow you go, you're still guaranteed a marathon PR!" Thank you so much! I appreciate the encouraging words :)
      Are you training for anything now? If yes good luck!


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