Bringing Sexy (Marathon Training) Back

Don't look at me, I only have this on my iPod because Kevin had it on his iPod and gone with it?

I started marathon training last week and it was....hard.  This was not shocking, I had been putting off speed repeats as I had a horrible suspicion I wouldn't be able to do them.  Although I've been running a lot of races I realized I had not properly marathon trained since Pittsburgh in 2017.  But wait!  I have done 3 marathons since then.  Yes, but I certainly did not do them well.  I don't regret a single one because I love finishing a marathon, but they were my slowest times and somewhat hurty after.

So there I was having failed at Jackpot twice, running my slowest ever times (think 3 hr Halfs) and faced with a marathon I love and never go into half-assed.  That's definitely intimidating.  The only thing I could think of to do was go back to the basic building blocks of running and look at the training elements for my last 'good' marathon.

That would be 3 core runs - speed repeats/long run/hills.  Typically the long run is the most overwhelming for me so I chose to start on speed repeats.  I gave myself what I thought was a reasonable pace (based on 2017 training) then went ahead and got on the treadmill.  The first set was awful.  I'm not sure if it was a chemical reaction in my brain due to faster running but I realized in the middle of the second 1200m that if I completed these, even with a break in the middle or at a slightly slower pace I was taking a giant step toward getting my form back.

I think this captures the spirit of training

After that I did my long run and I quit in the middle then un-quit.  And trust me, it was not even very far.  Once again, I realized getting it done no matter how painfully or slowly was a win and a SECOND step in the right direction.  I did the distance.

Hills?  Well I like those and it's about the only element I've continued to do regularly as it's my go-to workout when I don't really feel like running.  I love narrowing down my focus to one repeat, then the next.  Flying downhill is also a delight.  That made for a nice end to the week.

I haven't felt much like a runner for a while so I thought hard about what to do.  Cut back races?  Done. Try other activities?  Done.  Not run?  No.  Turns out the thing that worked best for me was getting back into the hard painful beautiful honest work of marathon training.  This is making me feel like myself again.  I am a runner.

I feel extremely positive right now because after all this time I'm taking great big steps toward running a solid race.  Maybe it's the endorphins.  Marathons are sexy, aren't they?


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