Welp, it’s that time of year when runners look back at all the miles the logged in 2013, the PR’s they got, the hurdles they’ve overcome. And tomorrow begins a new year with new goals.
Last year or even the last training season may have come with some challenges. Those challenges are what will make you better going forward. Use them as lessons to build upon to make you a stronger runner. We all have lessons we can take from the past and apply that to running (and to life) going forward. But, it’s also important to not waste energy and emotion on what has already happened. Look ahead.
Regardless of what your goals are for next year and where you are headed; remember what you went through last year or last training season will only make you stronger this time around. Take the old, and learn from it.
So it happened. The race that is. All 26.2 miles through Washington, DC on 3/16. I learned a lot about my running style and made sure to note some things that didn’t go so well during the run but enough about that for the moment….it’s time to brag a little. I qualified for Boston in 3:34! So I qualified in my old age group and my new one! My goal that day wasn’t to qualify for Boston. My plan was to run DC as a practice to find where I was weak and then spend the next few weeks working on improving. Then make the NJ marathon my qualifier. But as I neared the halfway point at 13 miles, I realized I was way under qualifying pace. So I went for it.
Here’s the details on what went right and what went wrong:
- The course: the course was hillier than I expected. Pretty sure the elevation map online was incorrect. I was anticipating agradual hill around mile 7 and was mentally prepared for it. But that was actually a really steep hill and then there were like 14 more throughout the race. In fact, the end ofthe race ended uphill. Lesson here – run more hills and stop whining.
DC Elevation from my Garmin
- Hydration and fueling: I did a really bad job at this in DC. I brought withme 2 clif shot blocks and never took themout of my pocket. Instead, I took GU gels and ate 1/2 a packet twice. I trained prior with the gels for other races, but only with the shot blocks for this one. So basically, I ran around carrying extra weight in my back pocket for no reason (and yes, by extra weight I mean like a half an ounce). As for water, I was a mess in this area too. I didn’t hydrate properly the first 13 miles which left me in a bind the second half of the race. I actually had to stop and walk the water stops after mile 18. I would grab 2-3 cups at a time and chug them. I need to really learn how to drink while running. A talent I’m so jealous others can do.
- Weather: turned out way better than expected. Just light rain and clouds, perfect 43 degree temps at the start. Couldn’t have asked for better conditions.
- Pacing: I was all over the place with my pace after mile 12. I attribute this to my lack of distance runs towards the end of training. I really wasn’t ready to run this marathon. I had only two 20 plus mile runs and had skipped the initial buildup in miles. A no-no for all you first time marathoners. Do as I say, not as I do. Physically, I don’t think I was in the best condition to be running my best but it was good enough. I kept calculating time and how much time I could slow down for so I could still BQ. And I took full advantage of those minutes in the last few miles as I shuffled through to thefinish.
- Tapering: I actually did this really well for once. I kept telling myself to trust the taper. I did. And thus, on race morning I felt relaxed, my legs felt energized, and no injuries on race day. A few days prior to race day, my tendonitis flared up, but I took the time and rested and iced and was ready to go after that.
- Mental mind game: Here’s where I did everything terribly wrong. While I’m so happy I had a BQ and PR; I am not happy with my race physically and mentally. I kept trying to quite the entire race. I told myself to make it to the half marathon finish and get a medal at least. I could count that as a training run then. Then I told myself to make it to the next mile, and then if I made it to the next water stop I could stop, etc. It was a mental nightmare. I didn’t feel strong. I felt defeated at mile 12. There came a point where I had to decide if I was going to miss the chance for a BQ when I was halfway there already. I pushed through. I wish I could say I found my strong and overcame hitting the wall. But I was weak the entire end of the race. The last 6 miles felt like torture.
Overall, this was a great course and I’m so happy to have run it (except you Mr. Steepie Steep Hill). The race organizers did a great job and I want to give big thanks to the volunteers and supporters who came out that day. Without you guys, I wouldn’t have made it through.
Every runner’s schedule and training plan differs. And deciding when to do your run may primarily be impacted by the other obligations in your life. Runners that are are on a strict training plan tend to preplan their runs and when it’ll work best for them. Others run for fun and when they feel like it or the weather is good.
I wish I was a morning runner. I’m a morning person for sure and definitely like to get my weekend runs done first thing. But during the week when I know I have to get up early for work, its a lot for me to wake up 2 hours earlier to run; especially when it’s cold out. During the week, I fit my runs in right after work. I drive from work to the gym and get on the treadmill first thing or I drive straight home if I’m going to run outside. Any stops along the way, and I usually lose my motivation. However, on the weekends, I run first thing in the morning. I set out my gear the night before and set the automatic coffee maker.
Is there any best time of day to run? I don’t believe so. You need to run when your schedule allows you to. A lot of people have to balance work, kids, and other responsibilities. So typically, their run isn’t first on their daily priority list.
What is your favorite time of the day to get your run in?
What impacts what time of day you run?