Sunday, March 22, 2015

Mama On The Run: Mental Gut Check



Perhaps the toughest part of any marathon training plan comes the week of the 16-miler. Because you know that in the weeks to come, the mileage is only going to increase.

For me, 12- and 14-milers seem doable. But get to 16, 18, and 20, and it seems intimidating. And when you run a full marathon every so often, it's real intimidating.

Many of you have followed my running adventures for some time now. And in that time, one thing remains the same: the month leading up to marathon training is a mental gut check. I suppose the last 6 weeks of the training plan mirrors the last 6 miles of the actual marathon race: grueling, tough, and you just keep moving (or swimming, if you're Dori in "Finding Nemo").

This past weekend I conquered the 20-miler. Two weeks ago it was 18 miles. And as I wrote, it was "that" run - the run that put spring back in my step.

But two weeks pass, and that confidence of 14 days ago subsides. Anxiety starts to flood the body and mind in the days and hours leading up to another long run. And then the alarm goes off....

I mirrored my 20-miler effort with the previous 18-miler effort in terms of preparation and fueling during the run. It paid off. And while I was joined by my speedster of a fellow running mama friend (thanks for slowing down for me, Jess!), the pace was a bit quicker the first few miles than I normally would have done. It was good, though, because it pushed me through to a 3:12:15 finish time.

If I continue that pace for another 10K, I hope to crush that 4:30 goal. But we shall see. Marathon #4 is in a month and the OKC course is a bit hillier compared to the speed bumps I see in good ole Kansas.

I have one more 20-miler to get through and then it's taper time. And while I'm needing to adjust the final few weeks of training, I'm going to finish strong with the following plan:

March 27-28: 20-miler (broken up with 12-15 miles in the morning; finish off in the afternoon/evening)
April 3: Easter Sun Run 10K race & 2-miler race
April 10: 12-miler
April 17: 7-miler
April 26: RACE DAY!

Thanks, Coach Jenny, for helping me adjust my schedule. This Type-A mama enjoys a schedule, but life happens and it's nice to have the voice of confidence in my decision to change things up a bit.

Happy running, friends! Enjoy the beauty of spring with strong and healthy miles!


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