Training for Finish Line not Finish Line Clock: Philadelphia Marathon Goals

My target race, the Philadelphia Marathon, is just four days away. I’ve talked about the things I’m doing differently this training cycle. It has been the most enjoyable, exciting training cycle to date – and I think the primary reason is that I have eliminated the stress of going after a certain time.

I often go into a training cycle with a number in my head…a number I want to see on the finish line clock. My whole entire training cycle revolves around that number. I spend months obsessing over it. While I think it’s great to have a time goal, it doesn’t seem to work for me. I get so tied to that number that it becomes a do or die for me. Even if I’m off by just a minute or two on race day, I feel as if I came up short and failed.

I went into this training cycle with my head up, my heart open and my eyes focusing on the finish line (not the finish line clock). For the first time in recent years, instead of picking a concrete number and then training for that, I have trained with no specific time goal in mind other than wanting to get stronger and faster.

OF COURSE the time I cross the finish line means something to me. If it didn’t then I would run marathons for fun every weekend. I wouldn’t have spent the last 14 weeks kicking my butt on a daily basis to get faster. But it’s just that this training cycle was more about the process and hard work then the end result.  It was about getting strong. Figuring out some personal things. Becoming happier with myself and where I am at. Not comparing myself to others.  

So race day will be a victory lap for me. I am more excited and anxious than nervous. I have a number in my head that my super smart coach and all the running calculators I have plugged my training paces into say is realistic. I also have a number in my heart that I think is feasible if the stars align and I have a perfect day. I’m not being secretive with these numbers – I will gladly share them in my post-race writeup. I just feel like there is some excitement and magic with keeping them close right now. 

But truth is, even if I don’t get those numbers, this training cycle will be a success. I’ll be disappointed if I don’t run the times I think I can. But, the training will not a failure. It’s a success because I know I worked my butt off. 

I’m strangely calm this week. I’m happy to be tapering. I think I’m peaking at just the right time. I’m enjoying the extra rest right now. I’m thankful that my body cooperated this training cycle – from recovering quick from the Ironman to getting the leg turnover back that I had lost over the summer to having no major injuries that sidelined me. The weather gods are smiling on me – it was in the teens this morning on my run but should be around 50 on race day. Perfect.

Seems like everything is lining up. I’m just so darn excited to see what I am capable of doing on Sunday.

Thank you for all of your support this training cycle – really means the world to me!! And if you want to track me on Sunday, I am bib #591. All the tracking info can be found here.

race week

 I don’t post here every day, but I post all of my workouts (and other happenings) on Instagram on a daily basis {NYCRunningMama}.

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    33 thoughts on “Training for Finish Line not Finish Line Clock: Philadelphia Marathon Goals

    1. Good luck with Philly! I just watched “Spirit of the Marathon” today. It gave a really good insight into what people running the Chicago Marathon go through so I imagine that the Philly one won’t be that much different. I’m knew to running, but I’ve learned one thing and it sounds like you’re good at it. Trust your training…run your race not someone else’s and best of all, enjoy it while you’re doing it and celebrate like a rock star at the finish line!

      Patty aka “RunMomMe”
      RunMomMe recently posted..It’s Official!!!My Profile

    2. Good luck!!! Can’t wait to see what you can do based on all your hard work, additional strength and awesome mental attitude towards it all!!!

    3. I’ve been following your blog and training for some time and would really value your advice. I’m supposed to be running Phili on Sunday too (marathon #15, PR 3:35-missed my BQ by 36 seconds) and I just don’t want to. Training went fine, I’m not sick, I have no good reason not to run other than my head and heart just aren’t in it. How do I give myself permission to let it go?

      Good luck on Sunday, btw, you’re an inspiration!

    4. Good luck to you! I am also running Philly Sunday, it is my second half. Can you give me advice on what would be good to wear for how the weather looks? I am undecided if I should wear shorts or tights?!?! Thanks!!

    5. I think you are going into this with such a great attitude! It would be lying to say we don’t have a number in mind or hope to get a certain time but it is so important to realize even if we don’t get the magic time that the training and hard work was not a waste…we ARE stronger whether that one race shows it or not :)! Go get em’!!!!!!
      Jen@milesandblessings recently posted..Beating the post marathon blues and a Runningluv winner!!!!!My Profile

    6. GOOD LUCK! You are going to do awesome, you have been running/training SO smart, and its going to be a great day. I loved following you on your journey, and am grateful for the advice you gave me leading into my marathon. Your encouragement and words stuck with me!! I cant wait to hear all about your race!! XO- Samantha

    7. I think this is the perfect attitude to have. I generally keep my goal digits close to the cuff. I feel like telling everyone (in the past) has been a heavy burden on my shoulders. In keeping it quiet I was able to relax a little. You’ve had a fantastic training cycle. You crush it (with a smile on your face) daily. Go out there and enjoy your 26.2 victory lap.