Until this past weekend, the first five weeks of marathon training have been smooth. Week 5 was my cut back week. I had two strong runs and cross training workouts earlier in the week, and I assumed my weekend of shorter mileage would be easy. Not the case. I ran 6 miles on Saturday and 8 miles on Sunday. Combined, these runs don’t even add up to my long run from last weekend (16 miles). On both of these runs, I felt short of breath and got side stitches. I was shuffling along, instead of picking my feet up and using longer strides. I couldn’t get comfortable with the temperature. I was nearly in tears 2-3 miles into each run. I really wanted to quit, or at least do run/walk intervals.
I’m proud to say that I didn’t quit. I decided to accept my slower pace and took out my earbuds. Sorry, Taylor Swift. I made up my mind that there would be no walking breaks. Instead, I pretended that the last 6 miles of my run yesterday were miles 20-26 of the marathon. My coach, Jess, talks to me a lot about visualization. To succeed, you have to picture yourself succeeding. I spent the remainder of my run blocking out the discomfort (not pain) and breaking the distance into pieces. Instead of looking at my Nike+ Running app and focusing on mileage, I focused on landmarks. I would pick a landmark that was .5-1 mile away and run to it, then pick a new landmark. I only allowed myself to think about successfully running that stretch. I listened to my breathing and my footsteps. I didn’t let myself get frustrated by runners who were passing me. Piece by piece, I covered the full 8 miles. At the end, I gave myself a mental hug. I was proud of myself for mentally staying in the game. The last 10K of my marathon could be like those miles. It’s always important to remember that one or two runs do not determine the runner. Only a week or two ago, I was setting PRs. It’s time to fully recover, pick my head up, and keep running.
Tomorrow night, I’m heading to Charlotte to spend Thanksgiving with my family. I can’t wait to leave New York for a few days to relax and enjoy warmer weather. I’ve been busy mapping out a long run route on greenways and major roads in the city for Saturday. Made me realize that it could be helpful to map out routes for those visiting New York. Stay tuned!
This Week’s Plan of Attack
Monday – Cross train in NYC
Tuesday – Run 6 miles (Tempo)
Wednesday – Cross train in CLT
Thursday – Run 60 minutes (Easy)
Friday – Rest Day
Saturday – Run 18 miles
Sunday – Run 3 miles (Easy)