So, what have I done to train for my fourth marathon and what have I learned?
My training officially began on January 3rd. Coach had me on a plan of three build weeks followed by a week of recovery. My three build weeks consisted of hard tempo runs, hill repeats, and a long run to finish of the week, not to mention two days of strength training that includes lots of ab and core work. The recovery weeks are not necessarily easy, but they are not quite as intense as the build weeks and he encourages a race at the end of the week.
My first race of the year (which was not on a recovery week) was a trail run that I could not resist. Run Toto Run is a 10 mile, 20 mile, 50K race through Wyandotte Park in the Kansas City area. I ran the 10 mile race, it was very difficult but it was amazing! Snow, mud, hills, creeks, hills! It was all a pretty awesome experience and seemed to go by quickly. More trail running is definitely in my future!
Living in rural Missouri and having a job that requires a lot of hours does not make it easy to find "local" races. So my next race didn't happen until March 26 where I ran the Frisco High Line Trail run in Springfield, MO. Springfield is a 4 hour drive, so I made a quick trip up the night before, raced hard, and drove home. The High Line Trail is a former railway bed that has been paved. It is flat and fast! I smoked my half marathon PR finishing in 1:33:45 and ended up placing tenth overall!
There were many times throughout my training that I became frustrated about the difficult runs and trying to juggle my training and my work schedule. I have missed some runs and workouts throughout this period but with a lot of careful and creative planning I was able to get most of them done. There were a lot of days when I seriously asked myself why I was doing this. People think we are crazy for what we do let along getting up at 4am some days just to get in a planned run.
So, with all of this hard work and the mental and physical struggles that I have put myself through, I have to stop and ask myself why. Why do we run and train and suffer like this? Is it some form of addiction or insanity?
Yeah, it's probably a little of both. But I can tell you that the sense of accomplishment after completing a tough workout or obtaining a PR in a race is fantastic.
I am pressed for time, as usual, as I am writing this and I realize that I didn't really give any great tips or advice on how to train for a marathon. It doesn't take any more than the usual things that anything worth doing takes. It's about commitment, dedication, hard work, sweat, and being humble but confident in your ability for growth.
With this being said, Fargo will be my fourth marathon.
My goal is to qualify to run the Boston Marathon next spring.
My goal time to finish in Fargo is 3 hours and 15 minutes.
This is a little better than 7:30 / mile pace. It may be a little aggressive, but I do think that it is possible to finish in 3:15 or very close to it. My Boston qualifying time is 3:20 so I have to give myself a little cushion. You never know what will happen over the course of 26.2 miles.