I try to live my life without regrets, but I also like to constantly improve on myself, so sometimes that takes some looking at where I’ve gone wrong.
So first, let’s talk about the parts of my training I would like to do differently next year.
- Start speedwork early. I started marathon training in July, but I don’t think I started doing speedwork until September. I also want to incorporate some Yasso 800s into my training, mostly so if I meet Bart Yasso again, I don’t have to tell him I don’t do his workout.
- Stay consistent with strength training. I don’t know if the lack of strength training led to my knee pain, but I know it can’t possibly have helped. I was good on my strength training at the beginning of training, but I started slacking pretty quickly.
- Stretch more. Last year, I was so good at stretching after every run, but this year, I sort of substituted the ice bath for stretching. Bad.
- Maintain a healthier diet. I started carb-loading really early. I could have used some more vegetables while training.
Look! It’s green!
Really, other than that, I think my training was pretty spot-on. Since a few people have asked, here’s how I think I was able to shave 40 minutes off of my marathon time.
- Speedwork. I didn’t do any last year, and really, I was okay with that. It was my first time running the marathon and I was terrified of getting injured. I didn’t want to push speed and distance at the same time.
- Running more. Last year, I’d say I stuck to about 60 percent of my scheduled runs. This year, it was closer to 90 percent. Granted, I also had the luxury of time on my side this year, but I think even if I had been working in an office this fall, I would have found a way to get my runs in. I’m more dedicated to running this time around. By running more, I also mean more days. Last year, I ran 3 days a week; this year I ran 4 days a week. I’m pretty sure 4 days a week is my personal maximum–at least right now–but the more you run, the more your body adapts to it.
- Not putting my life on hold.Last year, I generally refused to do anything the night before a long run or the day of a long run after I was done. This year, I was definitely cognizant of being careful to get enough sleep and hydrate well enough for a run, but I was fine having a beer or two the night before a long run–even my 20-milers! While I was certainly focused on my goal, I think relaxing a bit about things actually helped my body out, too.
- Running with faster people. Basically, meeting Gia really helped. Running a few long runs and a racewith her helped me realize that I really could push my pace.
The other question I’ve gotten a few times is–what’s next?
So, my 2012 race goals are as follows:
- Marathon: sub-4. This is a pretty ambitious goal, but with another year of good training, I think I can do it. Before Sunday, I was nearly positive I was going to run Marine Corps next year. Now, I’m not sure if any marathon could ever live up to the NYC Marathon, and I’m thinking of running both next year. Either way, there will be another marathon in my life next year.
- Half-marathon: sub-1:50. (Also pretty damn ambitious.) My next half is the DC (now RnR) Half in March. To be honest, I’m not sure if I’ll be clamoring to try to PR at that one or not (although I have a hard time training for a big race without trying to PR, so we’ll see), but that is the next big race on my calendar.
What have you found has helped or hurt you in training for a long race? What’s your next big goal???