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Marathon Training Week 15? - You're Not Wasting Your Time

My last long run of the marathon training cycle was a couple weekends ago now. This was the run I was waiting on before I made a decision on signing up for a race. I wanted to feel good after hitting a 20 mile run and then I would feel good about signing up for a marathon with 3 weeks to taper.

I made it about 8 miles in before I realized my body was not - and is not - ready for a marathon.

My legs were cooked.

The problems on this run were largely to do with the fact that during my 19 miler a couple weeks ago, I caught a problem in my foot on about mile 17.5 and barely made it home.

By the way, sticking your foot in ice water sucks. Have hot tea on hand.

I iced it, stretched it, rested it, and generally tried to take care of the problem, but 2 weeks with barely any running screwed over my training about as much as any injury could. My foot felt better on the 20 mile attempt, but everything else in my my lower body felt worse. Not in an injury sense, but more in a way that my body was asking me what in the hell I thought I was doing.

I had the same 8 miles to run/walk back to the house and figure out how I felt about all this. It's a bummer, for sure. Training for months and making significant progress only to hit an injury road block a couple weeks out from the goal. Working towards a goal I set about 2 years ago now, to run a marathon in 2016. Having stalled out in this training cycle twice before. It sucks.

Really though, I'm more relieved than anything.

My body is not ready for a marathon. Part of me knew this and wanted to back out weeks ago, but enough of me was stubborn and determined enough to at least see how the 19 and 20 milers went that I made it this far before deciding and I'm glad that I did. If I had backed out before this run, I would have been pissed that I hadn't at least tried. Each time that I've worked through a marathon training plan, I've gotten a little further and felt a little better so the fact that I got into the 19 mile range this time is definitely encouraging.

I'm also encouraged by not hitting my marathon goal, because it's not like I wasn't actively working on it day in and day out for the better part of this whole calendar year. That tells me I'm setting good goals that are really stretching me and forcing me to push past what is obviously a large physical barrier for my body. My first instinct is that I wasted so much time in training for the past few months, but I didn't. I was still running and pursuing my goal. One of my curiosities as I set these running goals in 2014 was to find the limits of my body as it pertained to running. I've found them and pushed them and I'll continue to do so. There is a marathon in my future, I'm confident of that; it's just not going to be in 2016.

Set a goal you don't know you can hit, whether it's business related, fitness related, anything. Grind on it and keep grinding even when it sucks. If you don't get there you aren't wasting time and energy; regroup, readjust, and start grinding again.

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