As my weekly mileage increases and the date of this marathon draws inexorably nearer, I realize that I am struggling with some running-related issues. On the one hand, I am pretty annoyed that I am dealing with challenges beyond the actual 26.2 miles. On the other, I’m glad that I have time to get things sorted out.
I also consider myself incredibly fortunate to have the power of such a strong community behind me. Since I started blogging here at Runs With Pugs, I have benefitted from the support and advice of wonderful and engaged readers. I have enjoyed others’ blogs and learned so much from reading about everyone’s experiences and journeys.
This Friday, I am throwing myself on your mercy to ask for your help. Maybe you have some thoughts or suggestions to share about some of my mental hangups. Maybe you have some advice to help with my physical problems. Maybe you have some of the same problems and want to read along to see what other runners can recommend. Whatever the case may be, I welcome and appreciate any and all words of wisdom you offer. No matter what the end results of this 26.2 mile run, I need to give myself as many of the proper tools as possible to help me succeed. I don’t think I can do it without you.
Are you ready? Here we go.
1. Pace Addict
I am obsessed with my pace. I cannot stop looking at my Garmin and attempting to do mental math to see where I need to be. Which is probably a fantastic way of distracting me from the whole running thing, but can also be completely jarring if I get off track. It’s something I need to let go, because I swear up and down I am not running this first and only marathon for time. But I also feel like I’m lying to myself, because somewhere, deep down inside, I DO care. I hate to even admit that I do kind of have a goal, because if I fail at meeting that goal-I-shouldn’t-have, I’m going to be pretty upset with myself. Regardless, I am spending a lot of time and energy concentrating on numbers that really shouldn’t matter.
Do I put tape over the face of my Garmin and try to ignore (I can’t run naked because I need the interval timer my Forerunner provides)? Do I get myself a pace band or pace tattoo for the race so that at least I can stop trying to do calculations in my head? And speaking of all that, should I trust that my Garmin is going to last the duration of my marathon or should I look into a new one before race day? (I had posted that I was worried about my battery life before, but it’s taking hold as an irrational fear now).
2. Long Run Motivation & Intimidation
This is kind of a chicken and egg one. I’m not sure if my waning motivation caused the intimidation or the other way around. My training plan goes up to 26 miles (yes, I NEED to know I can do 26 miles before the big day), and I have a few long runs left. But every time a number greater than 13 shows up, I feel ill. And inexplicably lazy. The weather is getting cooler and I will soon be able to go out for runs after little man is in school, which is so much more appealing than getting up at 4:00AM and running in the terrifying pitch black. It’s also a busy time of year and I feel like the only way I’ll be able to get the miles in is to split them up over 24 hour periods. I did my 17 mile run in two parts, just a few hours apart, and that went well, but I don’t know if that’s a habit I should avoid. I have a 10 mile race this weekend and was hoping to capitalize on the distance by running another 10 miles the day before or after. I won’t be able to do it the same day because of timing and other commitments, and I don’t feel safe running alone prior to the race.
Suck it up, buttercup? Split up my runs if need be? Convince myself that I don’t REALLY need the 26 miles in training distances, and take advantage of the little bit of wiggle room my training plan affords?
3. OMG Cramps!
I fuel. I hydrate. I watch what I eat and drink in the days leading up to long runs and races. I bring what should be adequate nutrition out with me for long runs. I am even carrying my own fluids on the course, in the form of Gatorade (because water just doesn’t cut it for me). However, during every long race I’ve done, my calves start screaming protest. It’s awful and miserable and I need it to stop immediately. My mom gave me a bottle of salt capsules, which I want to try (not at this next race, of course), and I am going to try Gu again, even though I find the texture upsetting, but I am desperate to get a handle on the situation before it rears its ugly head again. Even more ironic, I don’t notice it during training runs, so I am always blindsided when it happens during a race.
Do you suffer from cramps on race day? How do you get them under control?
Now that we are getting to a point where my race calendar is clearing out again, my wheels are spinning trying to fill in the gaps. On the one hand, I have to choose more carefully because some of my weekends may not be free, but on the other, I have committed to two races immediately after the marathon, and am constantly looking at event calendars trying to find others. It is VERY motivating for me to have goals on the radar, but I think I also need to take some downtime. I’m not sure how to do that. I don’t want to burn out but I don’t want to lose what I’ve gained in training. I am 99.99999% sure that this marathon will be a one and done kind of thing, so I will never be at this level of commitment and obligation again, but I can’t get rid of that feeling of “RUN ALL THE THINGS!” I know I’m not alone in this.
How do you get past the need to push push push, even after a long and grueling training cycle?
5. Compression Knee Socks
I have run with them and without them (mostly without, and with only for recovery), but never in a race situation. I am kind of terrified that at the halfway mark, I’m going to want to stop and rip them off.
Will they help me, in any way? Maybe with those aforementioned calf cramps? Or my tendency to PF?
So, there it is. I’m sure some of these are easy-ish fixes, but I figured it’s best to get it all out there and move forward. Thank you to everyone for reading and for any advice and suggestions you may have! It’s important to give myself the best shot I can, but consistent training can only get me so far.
Have a great weekend and enjoy any races and long runs you may have on the schedule!