I feel like I’ve been living in a cycle of training for a marathon, doing what worked for me in 2009 when I first qualified for Boston, not getting the performance I wanted and then getting super mad at myself.
As I trained for the Santa Rosa Marathon (which is THIS Sunday… eek!), I knew I needed to change things up again if I wanted a shot at going sub 3:30. This has been my goal for a long time. Too long.
I first started thinking about it after I finished with a 3:31.44 at the 2010 NYC Marathon. I came close to breaking it at the Wineglass Marathon in 2013, where I PRed with a 3:31.20.
So. Freaking. Close.
I want it so bad. That, and a BQ time. I don’t have that for next year’s race and it makes me really sad! Boston is such an amazing and incredible experience. Once you go, it’s hard not to have it on your calendar.
So this time around I made some changes. Some subtle, some pretty drastic, but I’m hoping the combination of both will help me have an epic and unforgettable race.
First of all, I knew that in order to actually focus on strength training, I needed someone to push me. For the past several years, I’ve promised that I’ll spend a few minutes after a run lifting some weights. This often turns into spending time playing with my cat and realizing that I’ll be super late for work.
Instead, I pushed my bounds and signed up for Orangetheory Fitness, committing to two classes a week. This meant two workouts a day. There was one day where I worked out for 3+ hours… on a Thursday. In addition to stronger muscles (aka definition on my biceps!), I also tested my mental fitness. I finally challenged myself to keep pushing even when my mind said otherwise.
Testing my mental fitness has been important this training cycle because I’ve realized that I like to sabotage myself. It’s so silly, and I’m not sure why I do it. I first noticed it in the Brooklyn Half a few years ago when at mile 9, I got all negative on myself and convinced myself to slow down. This will not be happening on race day! I have been focusing on mantras and other ways to challenge myself.
I’ve started to take sprint workouts seriously. I haven’t been running them at a track (just too time consuming), but I’ve been using the flat and straight area of the boardwalk to knock these out. I’ve hit faster and faster paces, which makes me really excited! It feels good to run fast and know that I’m doing the workouts how I’m should, instead of half-assing them.
I’ve also made some changes to my nutrition. For one, I’ve pretty much cut out all snacking. Throughout the years, I’ve read the books and experts that say you must eat every four hours or you’ll go in starvation mode; that if you are running you must eat X more calories… and I followed it. It did nothing but make me feel bloated and unhealthy, even gaining some weight in the process.
Instead? I’ve been listening to my body. Novel idea, huh? In the process, I’ve realized I don’t need all the snacks. Sure, some days I’m super hungry and I’ll grab a snack if that’s the case. Maybe two. But other days, I’m perfectly content with the meals in front of me and go with it.
And, I started eating before every single run. There are reasons behind this, mostly that if you don’t give your body some fuel before you go for a run, your body will start out feeling exhausted and you can kiss a great run goodbye. I’ve been eating PROBAR Bolt, about 5, each morning and on longer runs, add some toast.
So, in about one week, I’ll know… whether these changes make a difference. It’s always crazy to think about the hours you spend preparing for a marathon and in the blink of an eye (a very slow blink I suppose), it’s over. Your one shot. Here we go, Santa Rosa.
Have you made any changes to your fitness/nutrition? What have you done?
Do you follow “the rules” to eat every 4 hours?
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