This Training Cycle I Will…

1. Go to yoga at least once a week. Preferably twice if time allows.

2. Swim or otherwise cross train [hiking, group fitness classes, etc.] once a week.

3. Do arms/abs/core exercises on days I don’t run [so about two to three times a week]

4. Practice positive thinking while I run. Recite mantras, tell myself that I CAN.

5. Cherish every mile. Enjoy the journey. To train for and run a marathon is a privilege, not a punishment.

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So last night I finally put all of the runs from my sketched-out, hand-written training plan into a google doc. I even added the google docs app to my phone so I can look at my training plan when I’m not at my computer. Seeing all those workouts planned out, scrolling through the weeks til I see 26.2 miles on October 27, gives me a jolt of excitement about running that I feel like I’ve been missing. I’ve been having some trouble with motivation lately — well, really all year. Its not that I don’t like running anymore, or don’t want to run. And occasionally I will have one of those magical runs when the miles fly by and I don’t want to stop. But in the day to day, there are so many excuses NOT to run. So lately my runs have been feeling slow, forced. I’m out there because I’m making myself, not because I want to be.

I guess this is natural. Running and I had a bit of a honeymoon period my sophomore year of college, when I ran my half PR and my first marathon. It felt like every day I was running a new distance PR, or hitting faster speeds in my tempo runs and track workouts. Now is the plateau. I’ve been all these places before and I won’t instantly get better just by heading out the door. The motivation to run is no longer the thrill of doing something new.

As I typed my plan into the google doc last night, I thought about what I DO want to get out of my training now.The most immediate thing that came to mind was speed — I’m hoping to run this marathon a full 35 minutes faster than my first. But I thought a little bit harder, and I realized that even more than getting faster, I want to develop a better relationship with running. Rather than the high-intensity romance that I had my sophomore year (fall 2011 to spring 2012) or the resentful drudgery of last year (fall 2012 to spring 2013) I want running to be like a old, good friend — comfortable, stable and always there for me.

A lot of my goals for this training cycle actually have to do with things that I’m doing when I’m not running — ways that I can keep myself saner and healthier so that running doesn’t burn me out. I was super diligent about stretching and yoga when I trained for the Baltimore Half, and that entire training cycle was remarkably pain-free. I want to train for this marathon without getting injured, so yoga is goal number one. I also want to make sure that I’m working other parts of my body besides my legs and feet, in order to both build a better running form and also to find other outlets for exercise besides running. I have a terrible slouch and in photos from the end of races — especially the Rock ‘n’ Roll D.C. marathon last spring — I’m always all hunched over. Doing arms and core exercises will help that. I also am going to be working as a lifeguard this summer, so I’m hoping to do lots of swimming — which is good for the arms and also non-impact!

My mom always says that running is totally mind over matter. The body can do almost anything you ask it to — you just have to have the willpower to ask. I want to embody that mentality with my running this summer and fall. My body CAN run another a marathon and it CAN run it in 4:10. I just have to train my mind to WANT to. That means I have to start wanting to run again. I may not wake up burning with desire to lace up my Brooks and hit the road, but once I’m out the door, I need to work on banishing negative thoughts. If I spend 10, 15 and 20 miles thinking about how much I don’t want to be running, of course it’s going to suck! Of course I’m going to feel slow, and sluggish, and resentful and bored. But if I try to live in the moment, to breath deeply, to appreciate my legs moving under me and the sound of my sneakers slapping the pavement, to take each mile as a gift and not a punishment — then I think I’ll remind myself how to love running. After all, I signed up for this marathon. I chose my goal time, I designed my training plan. If I don’t want to be doing this, then I don’t have to. But I DO want to be doing this — which means that I need to keep on keeping on even when it’s hard.

I’ll be glad I did when I cross the finish line this October and see 4:10 on the clock. And knowing me, and knowing running, I’ll be glad I did long before that moment as well.

This Week

Monday: Rest
Tuesday: 3.5 miles with mom
Wednesday: 8.33 mile hike  on Mount Taurus.
Thursday: 20 minutes of abs/core workout
Friday: 4 miles
Saturday: Super rainy/windy 5 miles
Sunday: 10.5 mile long run

TOTAL: 23 miles

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About sarahk48

I'm an aspiring journalist and an avid runner racing (and reading, and baking, and occasionally studying) her way through college. This blog is a record of my marathon training, cooking creations, and general thoughts on the state of the universe.

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