I know I've sort of fallen off with my countdown posts. Sorry about that. Running the Marquette Marathon took some of the pressure off Detroit and I'm not as nervous as I anticipated I'd be back in June when I started training. Wow, June. That seems like forever ago!
Looking back over these past 18 weeks of training, I've done a lot of things to grow as a runner. A lot of things that have helped prepare me for this marathon way beyond what just following the Hal Higdon training schedule would have done. Don't get me wrong - I'm glad I had a plan. But I tweaked it here and there and I made it my own. Not so much that I wasn't still following it. I guess you could say I spiced it up a bit. BAM!
Beyond the Plan:
- Early on I did GLR, which pushed me to run faster and harder than ever before, challenging me mentally like no other race I'd run before. I didn't realize it at the time, but this was the foundation for my marathon training.
- I sprinkled in races throughout my training program to help me train at race pace. I did 3 10K races and 2 half marathons. Plus the full marathon but that wasn't entirely planned. This isn't necessarily more than I would normally race in an 18-week period but I was definitely logging more miles along with these races. And I didn't think anything of it, nor was I any more tired because of it. Adding in the races made the miles more fun and it was a good way to challenge myself with speed.
- Speaking of speed, I've really picked up the pace, thanks in large part to my new Garmin. Just running the miles isn't enough if you aren't pushing your pace on some runs. I highly recommend using a Garmin or equivalent, along with a pace calculator if you want set a new goal for yourself. (I used the Runner's World calculator to obsess over, er, PLAN my pace for Marquette and Detroit.)
- In July I started doing group runs with RUNdetroit, which is hands-down THE BEST running store around! My Saturday runs are a whole lot more interesting now that I'm running through Midtown, Corktown, Hamtramck, and along the Riverwalk. I've met some amazing people through this group and it's a great way to get in a fast 6 or 10 miles on Saturday mornings. Recently on a rainy Saturday when my motivation to get out to run was dwindling, knowing there would be a big group of people meeting at the store was just the push I needed to get me out the door. 18 weeks ago I would have just gone to the gym instead!
Running gradually became more important to me over the past few years but in the last 18 weeks it has become much more of who I am. It's part of how I define myself and I couldn't see my life without it. Because of this, as I approach the marathon, I don't look to it as the end. Yes, it's the end of THIS training cycle but it's not the end of my training. After the marathon I will have more races, more Saturday group runs, more solo after-work stress-relieving runs. I will have Boston.
So after Sunday's race I'll take a few days to recover - do some yoga, get a massage - and then be back on the road, ready to run. And if all goes to plan, I'll have a new PR to beat.
Are you running Detroit on Sunday?
Read previous Detroit Marathon Countdown posts - 17 Weeks, 15 Weeks, 12 Weeks, 10 Weeks