Lately I've also started to realize a change in my attitude toward training, and I'm not sure if it's a good or bad thing. When I was training for my first marathon with Team In Training, I would run 5 days a week with one long run, one speed workout, and 3 short runs around 5k distance. While this certainly proved adequate and I accomplished my goal of finishing around 5:30, being that it was my first 26.2, it really wasn't about time at all, but simply finishing. But with a second marathon, it's a whole different story. Now that I know I can finish, I can't help but look for new goals, like improving my time. While I thoroughly respect the dedicated, fast, number-crunching runners out there, for me running has always been something I do because I love it, I love how I feel after a run, and I love watching my body adapt over weeks and months of training. Compared to many marathoners I'm slow, I don't own a fancy GPS watch, and I even hate running in the morning. So I find myself in the midst of an internal battle with myself - the desire to stay true to my original running philosophy, and the urge to train harder and be better, faster, stronger.
Lately I've noticed myself shying away from those 5k runs I used to do, dismissing them as inadequate for training and convincing myself that a run is only worth it if it's 6 miles or more. In fact, the last few times I've ran I've done 6 miles and 9 miles, and I can't even remember the last time I ran just 3! I keep reminding myself that in all honesty, training for a marathon doesn't have to be so intense. As long as I get that long run in on the weekend, I can take it easier during the week. I know that anytime on my feet is well spent, no matter the mileage, but it's easier said than done. I'm a competitive person at heart, and fully understand the mentality behind the "why keep doing something if you stay at the same level?" question. Maybe I'm afraid to push myself? Or perhaps I'm afraid of setting a goal that I won't reach? In my first marathon, I averaged a 12:28 mile, but in my last half marathon, I averaged an 11:10 pace, obviously a significant improvement. The big question is, of course, am I capable of maintaining that pace for twice as long? Or if not that pace, perhaps 12 minutes/mile, which would still be a big improvement? I'm hoping yes, and as I write this and reflect on things I think I have to aim to improve, as long as I don't forget the real reason I run.
Now that I've rambled on for much longer than I intended, I'll get to the good stuff - races! This Sunday I'll be running my second half marathon in San Luis Obispo, called City to the Sea as it starts in the city of SLO and finishes at the beachside town of Pismo. My friend had planned to run it with me but had something come up last minute so I'll be running solo... As for goals, I've decided to use a nifty system that a fellow blogger uses with A, B, and C goals. I think this is a great way to be realistic while at the same time aiming high.
C goal: 2:35
(this is almost 10 minutes more than my PR, so it's totally doable, without too much pressure)
B goal: 2:26
(this is my PR from my last half)
A goal: 2:24
(this would be an 11 min/mi pace, 10 seconds faster than my previous half)
Unfortunately I had to cancel the next race I had planned, the Santa Barbara half, because I have to take the GRE that day. I'm bummed, but the test is only offered that day and there will be other races. Which brings me to my next big announcement (which I sort of already mentioned)...my second marathon! About a month ago I decided to register for the inaugural Santa Barbara International Marathon in December. I hadn't really planned on doing another so soon, but one day it just sort of hit me, if I'm doing all these halfs, it's not a huge jump to training for the full. Plus, it's the inaugural marathon in my city and some good friends from TNT are running it as well...which means people to train with and run the race with! I'm pretty excited and am really looking forward to it. Who knows, maybe I'll even PR! If you've read this far I'm impressed. I'll try to make future posts much shorter : ) Wish me luck this weekend!!