I tossed out a lofty goal early in this training cycle, one in which I haven’t come close to since my half marathon PR of over 2 years ago. My lofty goal was a full three minutes faster than my current PR, mostly because when you get into the low minutes of ten minute section, it’s easy to get wrapped up into the desire to see another ten minute section number. For me, that 1:42:49 meant aiming for 1:39. Considering I haven’t seen 1:4x since after that moment, though I haven’t tried either, I knew this would be difficult to obtain.
My training plan was pretty intense for what I’m used to, but I thought about my obstacles and planned for that. I knew the kind of work I’d need to put in for these times and did my best to set myself up for success in that aspect. I planned for easy miles with Dunkin, morning sprints, a couple doubles (easy runs after CrossFit type stuff) and figured 1-2 complete rest days would suffice. But as we can all expect, things never go as we plan either.
I’ve adapted reasonably well to changes, while allowing myself be a little lax so I don’t completely hate training because that will derail me. Despite living in Western New York my entire life, I somehow forgot how difficult it is to train during our winters, even with this one being quite mild compared to recent years. As I trained through this year to get ready for a May 1st race, all I can think about is this one is way too early for me when I’m used to a Memorial Day Weekend goal race. It’s still the same month but an entire 3-4 weeks of extra training which makes a huge difference in our weather!
Weather aside, life has just been a lot more stressful than I expected when I planned this race. I’m good at managing stress and not feeling its effects, but that doesn’t mean my running isn’t affected. Dunkin’s taking a little longer to get better than I thought, so I have to plan my running around him and J, among some other things personally I have to take care of that are annoying, yet come with underlying stress too and involve switching runs around left and right. Sometimes there just isn’t enough time to get all the quality runs in and recover appropriately.
All that being said, I’ve reevaluated my goals here and there. With just over a month until race day, I’m feeling a little burnt out. I’m holding on by a thread to keep training the way I am and that half marathon goal isn’t as exciting to me as I thought it would be at this point. I think a large part of this is because even though I haven’t been training to PR over the past year and half, I’ve been training for something specific. First, to run a half marathon again healthy, then Chicago, and now for PRs. I took a little time off after Chicago, but mentally, I was still thinking about what’s next. I think being in the “blogging world” made me that way. If you’re not working towards a goal, what are you doing? It seems everyone is working towards something! I just want to do what I want to do. And what I want to do is not look at my calendar and think, “I have to get in these repeats, this tempo, this long run.”
But I’m signed up for a race and I’m going to train for it without totally killing my love for running over the next month. Looking at my racing, the year I set my half marathon PR, I also set my 8k PR at the Shamrock Run. It’s a good sign that I’ve again set my 8k PR at Shamrock Run… but I also have to remember my goal race is a month earlier than I’m used to racing. I don’t think I’ll train for a goal race this early in spring for a long while.
About a month ago, I was upset at the thought that I might not go under 1:40 at Pittsburgh. It’s a very, very real possibility I’m not capable of that time yet — physically and mentally. But then I started to think about what I have done. During marathon training last summer, I was convinced I’d never get close to a 22 minute 5k again. Thinking of a sub 38 minute 8k also eluded me. Yet here I am, running those times and feeling like I can reach for more. Maybe I’m not there in May, but I’m not far off, I can feel that much.
May 1st is fast approaching and I plan (though we know how that goes) to toe the line prepared to make a run at my PR. (Pun totally intended.) Can I hover at a sub 8 minute pace for Pittsburgh? We’ll see. Will I go under 1:40 for my original goal? Probably not, but I’ll have another go at it when I run Buffalo at the end of May. And after that? I need a long break from goal races.