I have become acutely aware of a few short comings recently that have derailed my training and put my running in a holding pattern. If you want to actually complete your training program and find your self crossing the finish line at 26.2 then DON'T do the following:
1. Illness/injury: Many athletes find their immune systems compromised during strenuous bouts of training and are accustomed to working through these times of runny noses and general malaise but more serious illness or physical injury can shave numerous workouts off your training schedule. For me, I've been taking an elective dermatological medication that has left my muscles and joints extremely fatigued and achy. In fact, I now describe myself as a 90 year old woman who needs an oil change. I groan and creak every time I move so you can imagine what running feels like. I was supposed to be finished with the regimen last week but on Monday I found out that I have 4 more weeks and I'm pretty devastated.
2. Time: This one seems obvious. Runners and athletes know that training is a lifestyle and that several hours of their week will be devoted to their physical fitness. But for marathon training you will need at least one LARGE block of time each week. We're talking 3-4 hours in addition to the other 8-12 hours your spending on additional runs and cross training. This has been a bigger issue for me than I though. We've been traveling a lot lately and finding a 3-4 hour block of time in a new city to desert my family has been nearly impossible. Not only do I feel guilty about it, I also don't really want to give up this much time during these precious memory making events.
3. Mental commitment: To drag your body through the rigors of pounding out over 26 miles with nothing but your own 2 feet you have got to make sure your head is on straight. There is entirely too much time to start talking yourself out of such a labored event and if you don't talk yourself out of it there will be plenty of other people along the way who will try.
This is the deal breaker for me lately. I've simply started questioning my reasoning behind this quest lately. I've given up short on too many long runs lately because my mind has simply won the fight.
When it comes down to it, I've failed at the most fundamental elements of training for a marathon. I have realized this week that I need to take a break from full on marathon training. This likely means I won't race the the full marathon on Oct 27th that I had planned but I think it's ok. I am still running and enjoying my runs that are less than 10 miles long. In fact I am beyond excited for the Claredon 10k I'll be running on Sept 28th (yep, this will be during one of our family vacation times).
I am also having a lot of fun with several of the fitness classes I've started taking. I know my condition is top form, but for now, I'm not in marathon form. Maybe something will change over the next 7 weeks, but I'm not betting on it.