I mentioned yesterday in my race recap that I never realized I could learn so much about my training and running another marathon. I’ve kind of had to let it all marinate in my head and heart a bit more and I’m still analyzing everything and really just letting it all sink in. I’m not afraid of a marathon. I’ll say it again. I’m finally not afraid to run another marathon. YES!!
I’ve lived in fear of a marathon every time I’ve run one. OBX was my first marathon and I had no idea what to expect. Kiawah was where my fear showed up and stuck. It went away a bit in Richmond, knowing that I ran it well, but I was in such pain at the end, that it took away from the fact I had a 20 min PR from my first full in OBX. By Wrightsville, it felt like running one was such a crap shoot. City of Oaks made me like the marathon distance. It’s like the marathon and I came to some mutual respect. I finished that race so happy and so proud that I finally found a way to run a marathon that works for me. This weekend, I conquered my fear. Finally.
I always thought that it controlled me and whatever happened was out of my hands and to a certain degree that’s entirely true. There are a lot of factors that go into running a marathon that I can’t control, but what I can control is me and my mind. And that’s where my fear has been hiding…in my mind. I was the one who never just ran in the moment. I was always stressing myself about a finish time, what was going to happen at mile 20, how bad was I going to fall apart, etc. I finally let that all go and I just ran. I actually ran knowing that would probably all happen (the wall, the falling apart, etc), but I didn’t care. I’d deal with it when and if it would happen.
- MAF training works for me. I can’t say enough good things about it. It’s not for everyone, but what I do know is that I’ve successfully completed two marathons using it. I’m going to continue using it as I transition into my Fall races.
- Since City of Oaks, I was able to take 6:30 minutes off of my marathon time at Tobacco Road. (The elevation gain for both were similar too: City of Oaks 971ft and Tobacco Road 941ft so it’s not like I went from super hilly to pancake flat). Weather was actually better temperature wise in City of Oaks.
- I ran both marathons using a max HR of 145 for as long as I could. I let my HR come up to 150, then to 165. I never was able to run a single mile under 10 min at City of Oaks. I had 6 miles under 10 at Tobacco Road.
- My last 6 miles of Tobacco was the strongest last 10K of any marathon I’ve run yet.
- I know I that I can have success not following a traditional training plan. For City of Oaks, I followed a traditional training plan with speed work, tempo runs and 20 milers. For Tobacco Road, I never ran a 20 miler, just back-to-back runs. Our highest weekend mileage total was 30.4 miles at Gasparilla. I never ran any speed work either. I just ran miles. Lots of them. I always made sure my weekly mileage matched the same mileage I ran on my traditional plan.
- I only took 2 shot bloks for all 26.2 miles and I really didn’t need them. It was more of a safety net than a necessity. My body was successfully burning my fat for fuel and I never felt that heavy-legged feeling throughout the race. I never felt like I needed the fuel to keep going.
- Decreased muscle soreness. By yesterday, I had little to almost no soreness. I’m not sure what attributed to that at all, but it’s definitely something I noticed. I had to stop myself from running more than a mile yesterday. I told myself I’d take off 3 days (other than my slow mile jog to keep my streak up). I can’t wait to run today!
Thoughts and What I Learned
- I can run smartly and still go after huge goals. I thought for a long time that I might have to choose. I wasn’t sure that I could still train properly for a marathon without wearing myself out each time.
- I went into this marathon nervous because I had not run a 20 miler. Apparently, the back-to-back runs mimicked the long runs well enough to translate into the marathon. Another bonus, I was never out there past 3+ hours on a long run either. There is some information supporting this idea.
- I’m not trying to qualify for anything. I’m not an elite runner. So why do I necessarily have to train like one? I can use a plan that works for me and I can run marathons in a way that works for me.
- I’m just running. That’s all I’m doing…running. Some races I may have a PR; most races I won’t. What I can do is to be happy and celebrate each accomplishment and be grateful for the experience.
And most importantly,
I’m not afraid of the marathon monster!!
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