After a particularly crappy speed session yesterday, I was doubting my ability to even run another 3:43 marathon in Boston, much less a sub-3:40. Don’t let 1 little run shake your confidence, right? I totally agree but it’s much beyond 1 run.
Since I started training for Boston, I haven’t made the huge gains in speed that I did in my last training cycle. And paces that were once easy feel a little bit more labored. My legs always feel good but my breathing is a little off.
Enter the vortex of doubt. It started creeping in around Week 2 and now has set up residence in my head (I can’t help but think of the Mucinex commercial where the mucus takes up residence in your lungs). I feel like doubt is snowballing out of control and taking me with it. Yep, that’s me.
With 5 1/2 weeks left of training before the taper, I’m making changes.
- Where did my mental game go? I really worked on it last cycle but it seems to have fallen by the wayside. Ironically enough, my friend sent me this article written by Chrissie Wellington yesterday. She knows a thing or two about mental game
- This is my 3rd training cycle in a row following the FIRST plan. Although I still believe it’s a great plan, my body may have adjusted and plateaued. I never really followed it to a T but in the next few weeks I’m going to diverge more from it and do my own thing (more tempo, hill repeats, and progression runs and less track work).
- Rethink hitting the almighty 60 miles. I’m not sure why I’m so obsessed with hitting a certain number when I know (for marathon training) 55 miles per week is my sweet spot.
- Remember to have fun. I am training for Boston!
54 days to go!
I need some new mantras. What’s your go-to mantra?
Tara Burner says
I have no go to mantra…but I’m sure you’ll rock Boston!
Tina @ Best Body Fitness says
I know you will do great! And I like your plan and adjusting it to your current needs. You know your body and you have to do what goes with that.
I love the title of this post. Uh, I have no advice for you. This is why I avoid setting time goals…I’m avoiding the mental anguish. 🙂
Run, Love, Live! Good luck on Boston, I am sure you will rock it!!!
This reminds me of those times when I have a transient insomnia and start to panic because I can’t fall asleep. I tell myself, over and over: “get over it, the worst that will happen is that i will be extremely tired the next day.” I know you’re set on breaking that 3:40 time, but let’s back up and remember: YOU BQ’d!!! No matter what, that can’t be taken away, it’s solid. I think you need to just keep training (stick to the 50-55 mpw range) and just be in the moment when the race day comes and enjoy every moment of the event that you have worked so hard to get to. Please don’t forget that you’re an inspiration to all of us for getting there!
Kris, this is Boston. Don’t think it, just run it. You got this. (BTW, I wouldn’t call it a mantra, but when I’m in my delirium at the end of my long runs, I tell myself, “You got this, you got this” over and over and it helps make my will stronger.)
OMG, I was obsessed with getting to 60 miles during my last cycle too! I have no idea why it seemed like something I HAD to do. I never even got there because of IT band issues, but don’t think it would have made such a huge difference. I think you’re smart in easing up on the plan and doing what you want/feel for a bit. sometimes the mental break from The Plan is the best thing you can do, you know?
Ericka @ The Sweet Life says
I think we all get like this at some point during training. It’s the mental thing. But say out loud things you want to feel & think daily until they become reality. Continue to do the actions do you are right for training, fueling properly and doing everything right logistically and come race day, your body will be ready to go. Race day is the only one that truly matters so prepare for that!
you’ll do great kristy!! i think that last point about having fun is so important – i know i always forget that the REASON i do all this stuff is FOR FUN. i get so caught up in times and everything else it’s easy to forget. and esp for you – it’s your first boston! you’ll love it – no matter what happens, just savor it. it’s like losing your marathon virginity all over again 🙂
mantras…i sometimes use “i will do this” – very simple but i can zone out to it. or counting.
You can definitely break 3:40, and I think you’re smart cutting back a little bit and reconsidering the need to hit 60 miles. Though it might make you feel good psychologically, maybe it’s not what your body needs?
When I’m feeling less than confident the way that I like to handle it is to squeeze in my favorite workouts and runs whenever I can, even if that means breaking the plan once or twice. Running a route that makes me happy or doing a progression run (even if slower than I’d like!) usually gives me the confidence to come back strong after some rest.
Good luck! We all know you can do it!
My mantra is something like, “I may feel this exact way during my marathon and so I’ll need to know how to fight through this feeling then. I should practice it now just in case.”
Good idea to switch up the training plan. Also, on the hard to breathe thing – I struggle with that when the temperature fluctuates all the time, so maybe that could be what’s going on?
Abby @ Have Dental Floss, Will Travel says
Great article from Wellington. I’m not much for mantras, but I tend to think about it in the context of perspective. Once I completed a 72-hour race, a friend of mine said to me when we were discussing a century ride, “Come on, you can do anything for half a day.”
And she’s right. In the grand scheme of things, the race will be over before X (whether that X is your next meal, the next sunset, the next week, whatever]. You have that much time to throw everything you have at it, and then you get to sit back and reminisce.
Kate @ NaturaStride says
So true. I also “compartmentalize” my races into time frames!
Amanda @RunToTheFinish says
wow i can so relate to this!! Usually with one bad run I can get past it as a reminder of how good the others are..when I have a string of not great runs I start to get concerned. That’s when I have to mentally back off any expectations for a little while and then come back to it.
Good luck with the rest of your training!!!
I loved that article! Confidence is such a big factor. In the middle of a run if I am feeling good it just boosts my confidence and keeps building and building and it amazes me what I can do. On the other hand negative thoughts work the same way 🙁 I think tempo runs and progression runs really help me a lot. Good luck with adding more of them!
All I ever do is question my training since I started training for Boston. Running is such a mental thing, don’t forget that! Your body will be much happier after you taper it, you may surprise yourself. 🙂 5 1/2 weeks until taper? Ahhh!!!!!
I can totally relate to this! You need a good race thrown in there to help boost the confidence. Any 1/2s you can do?
If it makes you feel any better–my training has been awful for Boston. I’ve yet to get over about 40 mpw, have not been able to do speed work, or hill work. My body just keeps stopping me and I have to listen and just let this one go.
Ruth K. says
I am currently training for my first marathon on april and just ran my second half marathon on sunday. I had a anxiety outburst on friday! and it did make me wonder how I was going to handle racing jitters before the marathon if the half was making doubt! I can’t imagine what training for boston would do to my emotional stability!
At the end I PR’ed my half and that gave me TONS of confidence that I am training right. I know -most likely- I will be obsessing the days before the marathon but what can I do!?
I say you suppress those feelings of insecurity and replace them with self-cheering thoughts!
Kate @ NaturaStride says
“Do or do not. There is no ‘try’.” -Yoda … this manta has gotten me through many a race / training workout. You either do it, or you don’t. It’s kind of “tough love” but that’s what works for me.
I hear ya about trying to reach that set number in mileage. Personally, I feel that the quality of the miles (good, useful speed workouts) make more of an impact for me when it comes to speed versus just clocking the miles.
Best of luck – you’re gonna rock.
I have totally been there…many times. There are some weeks/months/complete training cycles when everything seems to come together perfectly, and others where you fight like crazy for every ounce of improvement. It’s tough to keep up the confidence in yourself during those times, but the best thing that you can do is just trust your body. The speed will come. I think that re-evaluating and switching up your training is smart. I break away from my plan pretty much every training cycle and it usually works out okay. Also – it was once I stopped stressing so much about reaching a certain overall mileage number and focused more on quality runs that I actually made the biggest gains in speed. So if 55 mpw is your sweet spot, I say stick to it!
I hope the next 5.5 weeks of training (is that really it?! Yikes!!) go well!!
Mantra for you to try: I can fucking do this! 🙂
Irregardless of the numbers and paces, you’re a more experienced runner since your last marathon and have put in solid training since then, too. That will serve you well on race day and can give you the extra “something” you’ll need to reach your goals. Solid and consistent hard work doesn’t disappear or go to waste. Remember that.
Ever heard of paralysis by analysis? Think of all you have done since LVM. Don’t compare. Feed your confidence somehow – that’s the key. It doesn’t matter what a training log says compared to a “last time” or supposed “training pace.” If you build you’re confidence and put in the consistent work (as you have), you’ll have a great race.
Beth @ RUNNING around my kitchen says
I think you need to find a race and go crush it! Maybe you are just getting a little bored with training….can you switch up the route or find someone to run with? I think switching up the speed work is a great idea!
I like “make it count,” “leave nothing in the tank,” and “I am strong.”
I can’t believe Boston is getting so close!!!!