I officially started my New York Marathon training this week. With 15 weeks to go, it’s time to get serious about running 26.2 miles. If I’ve learned anything in my past 5 marathons, it’s that you need to respect the distance. It’s far. And whether or not you’re going for a BQ or PR, 26.2 miles is far. Being able to cover the distance requires serious training no matter how quickly you plan to do it.
That being said, I took the last two weeks and gave myself some much needed down time. After three consecutive months of following the 21 Day Fix program along side half marathon training (first a DNS at La Jolla Half in late April, a good race at RnR SD in early June and then a hard race at the San Diego Craft Classic half marathon last weekend), I was ready for a bit of a break. Normally I’d start marathon training 18-20 weeks before a race, but given that I’ve been half marathon training since early March, I know I had a decent base and could take a step back without sacrificing a lot of fitness.
Besides needing a physical break, I needed a mental break as well. I have had a lot on my plate at work, my Beachbody coaching, another part time online job I have (more on that later…), spending as much time as possible with Asia before she leaves for her epic travel adventure, breastfeeding and pumping, getting in quality time with Mike, baby-proofing, researching new cars to fit our growing family, and my most important job, being a MOM. Mike was out of town for 4 days last week as well, which put a lot more house work and parenting on my plate. The thought of making a marathon training plan and following it was overwhelming. I found myself not being able to fall asleep due to all the thoughts swirling around in my mind and being extremely absentminded at times. There were too many balls in the air and they just kept falling one by one.
So, I took a step back. I wrote down a massive life to-do list so I could get all on paper. Just writing it down helped. I took a deep breath and told myself that it’ll all get done. And then I considered which things I could let go of temporarily to get me back to a good spot.
So I ran when I could, but didn’t most days. I blogged less and backed off a bit on Beachbody. I stopped researching cars. I bought the damn baby gate and made Mike install it. I tried to spend less time on social media. I didn’t fret over a missed pumping session. I listed to more music and fewer podcasts. I started reading a mindless book before bed instead of scrolling through my Instagram feed. I stepped back my workouts and put less energy into meal planning and nutrition. Although I started hosting a 21 Day Fix Challenge group two weeks ago, I have not been following the nutrition plan and have just done a couple of the workouts (I still really enjoy leading the group and am inspired by my challengers!). This was intentional and meant to give myself time to recover for the Craft Classic Half Marathon while also giving me a mental and physical break from it all.
The break helped. After two weeks of less running, much less strength training, a little more beer and pizza and a lot more ice cream, I’m ready to start marathon training. I purchased the book “A Race Like No Other,” a 26.2 chapter book about the New York Marathon (thanks for the suggestion Ashley!) and started to get inspired. I set up some running dates (losing my biggest running buddy is going to be tough!), got my training plan mapped out in Excel, and did my first set of hill repeats this morning.
Life is about phases. We’re all meant to have some downtime. We can’t constantly be pushing our limits. Rest and recovery are an incredibly important part of an athlete’s training plan. It’s essential to recognize when you need a break and follow through. If you don’t rest, it’s likely your body will force you to with injury or burnout.
So here we go. I’m officially marathon training.
Do you schedule downtime in your season? What are your go-to methods for relaxing and de-stressing?