The Pendulum of Priorities during Marathon Training

I don’t post here every day, but I try to share my training, thoughts and tips on Instagram daily!

The Boston Marathon will be my first marathon (in seven years) that I’ve trained for while working full time. I’ve learned a lot this cycle. I’ve become a better at time management. I’ve really learned the importance of sleep. I’ve learned that I need to be constantly monitoring my body for signs of over training or exhaustion.

And I’ve learned about the swinging pendulum of priorities during a cycle. I think it’s a bit unrealistic to assume that your priorities will remain constant over the 3-4 months that you are training. Priorities will shift as the training cycle progresses. The closer you get to race day, the more important some of the key workouts and runs will be, and thus, the higher on the priority list that workout goes.

Back in November, I blogged about how I was having a hard time finding the motivation to do long runs with my new schedule. I didn’t want to get up early again on Saturday after waking up early Monday through Friday. But, if I didn’t set an alarm, I had no motivation to run after my boys were awake and we were enjoying a relaxing morning drinking coffee/chocolate milk and playing games.

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I think part of the lack of motivation was that I wasn’t officially training for Boston. And so subconsciously, my mind had deprioritized the long run. It was below sleep, time with my boys on Saturday and a relaxing start to the weekend.

But almost immediately when training officially started, the long run became more important and the motivation was suddenly there. It literally was instantaneous for me.

As the cycle progressed, I found that I was more willing to give up a little sleep in order to fit in a few extra miles, cozy Saturday mornings at home in lieu of getting my long run finished by 8am and occasionally, a relaxing night at home after a long day so that I could fit in a long treadmill workout.

I think it’s not just normal, but GOOD, to have priorities shifting. It would be unrealistic and unhealthy for me to constantly be in the go go go mode. But, in the weeks leading up to a goal race, it’s okay to reprioritize and do what needs to be done in order to get certain runs or workouts in.

Last night was a good example. After a botched workout on Tuesday morning (more on that tomorrow!), I decided to sleep in on Wednesday to get some much needed sleep. The downside to that, however, was that if I wanted to get the workout in, I would need to do it post-work Wednesday evening. I can’t say I’m a fan of post-work running. I’m usually pretty exhausted after being out of the house for 12-13 hours and the last thing I want to do at 7:30pm is get on the treadmill. But #priorities.

So I came home, had some coffee, and hoped on treadmill for my warmup. The timing worked out because my sons had just gotten home from a night/day at my mom’s house. If this were the offseason, I would have 100% scraped the workout to sit with them. But, Boston is 18 days away and I wanted to get this workout in. Maybe it’s a bit selfish of me, but I see the end in sight and I know that there will be weeks and months of downtime post-Boston. And so this workout took priority.

We all went back downstairs. They had snacks and a movie. And I had the treadmill. And I got it done. 8 wave tempo miles. Not the easiest, but a success in my book.

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Side Note: Wave tempos are SO much fun. In a this hurts and All I want to do is have a real recovery period, not this “marathon pace as recovery” period.

The plan called for alternating 1 mile at 7:05-7:10 pace and 1 mile at 6:40-6:45 pace. Basically, it’s marathon pace followed by half marathon pace. You do that 4 times (8 miles total). There’s no rest or recovery – it’s a continuous workout.

You question how you are going to pick up the pace after the first mile. But then it’s amazing to feel that marathon pace feels like a recovery – because it’s 20-30 seconds slower than the mile you just ran. It gets your body more comfortable with that pace and teaches you to bring your heart rate down and find a steady rhythm.

Hope you are having a wonderful week. Almost the weekend!! <3

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