There’s no shortage of heroic stories for the finishers of the 2018 Boston Marathon, one of the worst weather Boston Marathons in the history of the race. Finishing this race was a victory in and of itself, and it took every ounce of my being, grit, and willpower to not quit. This was my second Boston and my 13th marathon. Here’s how I didn’t quit the 2018 Boston Marathon. Continue reading
I first started training for the 2018 Boston Marathon the day I finished it in 2015, and more officially in December 2017. I (over)confidently decided to use the same ASICS sub-3:30 plan that had worked for me at Chicago. I’ve never trained the same way twice and despite my intentions to followthe same plan, it did not go according to plan. It’s tempting to blame the weather, but I really can’t. I have the gear and although this winter did truly suck, I rarely missed a run because of it and there are runners who had far worse winters than me so I’ll just park that excuse over there and move on to how training really unfolded for my 13th Marathon.
Back in December I looked at the 16-week plan and felt like if I spent the first four weeks rebuilding my base, I’d be right on track to really dive in for 12 weeks of solid training. And that sort of worked. But it was cold, and icy, and dark. So I took the 5 days a week down to 4 and decided to – for real this time – add in strength and cross-training.
Enter yoga. In October 2017, I started tagging along with a yogi runner friend (who now teaches!) to some classes at YogaWorks. Fortunately, I got hooked. I decided yoga is the ying to my running yang and is the thing I’ve been missing in all my running. I started to feel stronger. I discovered a new appreciation for stretching and strength training simply using my own
body weight as the core weight. My new obsession with yoga meant that I was trying to add it in 1-2 times a week. This worked pretty well most of Jan
uary and February. And then March hit with work events, changes in our family logistics, longer runs, weekend commitments, and yoga started to take a back seat. The good news is, I think about it all the time and I continue to practice the headstand which is something I hope to really master and evolve by the end of this year. And I’m definitely looking forward to bringing it back into my routine with some consistency.
This round of training I can safely say I had a training-life-work balance. I gave myself the flexibility to move runs around within the week, change up mileage, and accept the outcomes for what they were. In the moment, this felt like a good balance. Two weeks before the race, I’m just shy of panicking that I did it all wrong. I didn’t feel stressed in the moments of training, but I also didn’t feel “all in” all the time. I was proud of myself for working in yoga and rides on my bike trainer. I did speedwork, sort of, usually on Tuesdays. I kind of had some tempo runs but not nearly at the paces I had last summer. I did the long runs: one 20, one 21, one 18, and several in the 15-17 range. The good news is that with the exception of one 17-miler, I felt really good on these long runs. My fueling is good (something I learned and practiced 3 marathons ago thanks to training from Coach Scott) and once I get past the mental barriers that are inevitable in most long runs, my mental game is also pretty strong.
The caveat there is that my mental game is strong while running. For reasons I cannot put my finger on, this training cycle is missing my obsession. It’s the BOSTON MARATHON. I am beyond lucky to have the opportunity to run this race for the second time. I qualified for it, well within my age group’s BQ window, and I even earned myself a 2019 BQ in the process. I know in my heart I will love everything about this experience once it is under way. And yet, I’ve struggled to truly embrace it. I spend more time trying to figure that out then I do focusing on all the things I could be around training. Deep sigh. Perhaps, it’s kind of like any run – they’re all different and they certainly aren’t all perfect.
From Training to Race Day
After 16 weeks of marathon training, I will follow a pretty consistent taper and prep plan. I will have multiple gear options, I’ll have all my Gu ready, I will have obsessed over the weather (that is something I’ll always obsess over), I’ll have studied the course, and the one thing I will have over-thought is Heartbreak Hill and if I’ve done enough in my balanced training to actually be ready for that climb. I still have a lot of questions coming out of this training plan.
I’ll only know the answers on race day.
Author’s Note: This marathon recap was started in Oct. 2017 and finished in Jan. 2018 which is amazing because the experience of the race still feels like yesterday.
The 2017 Chicago Marathon was marathon #12 for me. I’ve not trained for any marathon the same way twice but I have combined the best parts of my past experiences and having just achieved my best personal record yet, I may be a tad closer to a formula for marathon success. From my first marathon eight years ago with a 4:11 finish to my Chicago finish in 3:29, there are a lot of little things that add up to successful marathons. But there are two constants – one is all mental, the other is putting in the work.
There are three weeks left until the Chicago Marathon which means it’s almost taper time and my mind is starting to get restless. With 4 weeks to go, I did my last 20-miler and in the week leading up to it was feeling ready to be “done,” ready to taper, let’s get to the race already! I was physically tired but that last 20-miler hit the spot. After that run, I felt physically and mentally ready. And then a funny thing happened. I looked at the remaining three weeks of training — it’s really only one more solid week of hard runs and two weeks of taper — and all of a sudden my mind goes wild. One 16-miler, one 10-miler, and then it’s race day! It’s a feeling of not quite panic, excitement, and an immediate unsettled feeling of what will come next. Continue reading
My last post was a marathon recap and it’s crazy how much has happened in the course of 5 months from one marathon to the next, including a Presidential election. Perhaps I’m choosing to write tonight as a distraction from what’s happening to the fate of the future of our country. I’m much happier reflecting on my new PR just two days ago at the TCS NYC Marathon. Long story short, I finished the NYC marathon in 3:33:31, a time that crushed my previous PR from 2013 by 2:11. AND it earns me a 2018 BQ by a 7 minute margin! While I am still riding this runner’s high, possibly one of the things that makes this PR so sweet is that it’s not even what I set out to do. I set out to run smart, to run a specific race strategy; I set out to run through pain, to run with everything I had in me. I set out to finish hard. As it turns out, the combination of these things resulted in an incredibly rewarding race and new PR. Continue reading
I’m not sure exactly when compression socks made it on the running scene but one article I read credited Paula Radcliffe with being among the first to really introduce them to long distance running. I know a few running friends that run with compression socks (some swear by them) and I certainly see plenty of people at the starting line of races sporting them. I’ve loosely wondered for a couple years what the big deal is and whether or not it’s something I need to try. After reading an article in the July issue of RW that recommended wearing compression socks on a long flight before a marathon, I decided they’d be worth a try if nothing else for the flight from Baltimore to Salt Lake City for the Big Cottonwood Marathon. Continue reading
I love to run. I’m pretty good at running. I really, really enjoy cycling. With consistent riding I am a decent biker. I like to swim. If I could work in swimming with regularity I could be an ok swimmer again. But I hate quad work. I dread the idea of having to do squats, lunges and wall sits. And yet, those are the exact things I should be doing if I were going to be preparing as best I can to run two marathons this fall, both of which have significant downhill components. Continue reading
I had an 18 mile run on the calendar for Saturday. My hope was to be out the door running at 5:30 a.m. When I hit start on my watch it was 5:50. The sun was up, it wasn’t terribly humid and it was almost cool for a summer morning. By the time I got to mile 5 I was thinking how much better it would’ve been if I had actually left at 5:30. And if I could’ve run at 5 a.m. I bet I would’ve enjoyed even a few cooler temperatures earlier in the morning. The point is, the earlier, the cooler. At the end of 18 miles I was hot, covered in salt and had downed all four bottles of water in my fuel belt. And it’s only June. I have 11 more weeks of marathon training to do and the long runs inevitably peak during the hottest parts of the summer. Continue reading
I took on what I consider to be serious long distance running and training in the early fall of 2008 when I signed up for and started training for my first half marathon. With the exception of the last 6 months of my pregnancy (in 2011-2012) I have been pretty much consistently training for one race or another. There may have been a few “down” moments where I wasn’t heavily logging miles or focusing on a specific plan, but I have regularly been running, biking and swimming for about six years now (ok, mostly running). And just when I hit my peak, just when I decided I should try and train for a BQ, just when my first tri in over a year is on the horizon and just when I felt like I might have figured out even the slightest ability to balance work, life, motherhood, wifehood, and training–I decided, I realized, I’m tired. Continue reading
In the 16-week marathon training plan I’ve been using for the upcoming Richmond Marathon, tapering begins at week 14. Any race plan will include a taper and depending on your level of fitness, race goals, and race level (elite vs. beginner) the taper will definitely vary. In addition to the actual change in mileage and type of runs on the schedule, tapering also includes a rise (at least for me) in the mental preparation for race day.
Unfortunately for me, week 14 was also a week from hell. I had a nasty cough that kept me up all night and left me so exhausted that I missed several runs, I had an intense work deadline that got me up early and kept me up late which meant I missed an additional run, and my last (and worst) excuse is that I had a lot too much fun at a college alumni event causing me to miss yet another run. So on what should have been a 45-mile week 14, I did a whopping 8. I stressed about it every day and knew that it would be yet another mental hurdle to get over in race preparation. Continue reading