Here I am- 3.5 weeks before my next marathon. Up until now the training has been pretty simple- follow the schedule, & keep pounding out those workouts and easy miles. I think things have gone pretty well this time around. I’ve carried over a good fitness base from last fall and this spring (I did an 18 week training program leading up to the Philadelphia Marathon in Nov, took it easy for about 4 weeks to recover, then started training in January for the Ottawa Marathon which was in May), and I’m feeling relatively injury free. My training paces have been on target too- everything indicates that my marathon should go according to plan.
At this point though there’s always the temptation to wonder if it would be possible to squeeze out a bit more time from the race- maybe to push the paces on the interval workouts, or push the distance a bit on the longer tempo runs or long easy runs. Who knows- maybe doing that might sharpen things up a bit for race day and help me shave a few more seconds off.
For me though, my plan is to keep holding steady, and not do anything stupid. When I started this training cycle I had a goal in mind, and I’ve spent the last 10 weeks doing all my training based around that goal.
Here’s my goal (and the back story)- I qualified for Boston at the Philadelphia Marathon last fall, with 2 minutes and 26 seconds to spare. At the time, I was sure that would give me enough cushion (based on how registration went last year), but after the Boston bombings this year, I know that Boston 2014 is going to be something special, and everyone will want to be there. Because of that I want to sharpen up my BQ time, and try to get 5 minutes under my cut off, in order to qualify for earlier registration. That is my only goal. I think that my training this time around has got me in shape to beat that goal by at least a couple of minutes, but my #1 priority for this race is to get under 3:10 so I can pretty much guarantee that I’ll get into Boston.
Because I have that clearly defined goal, I’m not going to try anything wild and crazy at this point in my training and risk injury. By now, the proverbial hay is in the barn (pretty much) and what I need to do now is finish off the last few harder workouts in order to stay sharp, get rested up so my legs are ready to rip on race day, and avoid getting injured.
If you’re getting close to your race, trust the training. Don’t think about what you might have done wrong, or worry about training you might have missed. If your goal is realistic, stick with it, finish up your training wisely, run a smart race, and see how it goes.