I feel like I’ve been thinking about a fall marathon since January. Actually, I know I have. It’s always funny to me that after finishing one race, I immediately start thinking about the next. It happened to me when I crossed the finish at my first marathon at Big Sur last year and it happened to me after Marine Corps in October.
But I needed a mental break from marathon training. I wanted to take the spring off to try to get faster by running half marathons and shorter distances. My plan almost worked and I definitely got faster, but more than that, my mental vacation was just what I needed to get excited about training for a marathon again. And, man, am I excited for Chicago!
Now, here I am, with about a month to go before training starts and I’m already setting my goals. It might seem a bit early but most of my goals for Chicago are more “habit changers” than race goals. I won’t really know my race goals until closer to October 12, but I do know there are some changes I want to make to the way I train this time around that need to be set in place before training even begins.
- Sub-4:00 – Ok, so here’s my one “race goal” so far. I want to cross the finish at Chicago with a 3:xx:xx on my watch. Right now I have no idea what the xx:xx part of that time is going to be, I just want to see a 3 at the beginning. My current PR is 4:07:06 which I set a Marine Corps (26 minutes faster than my first marathon) and I’ve made leaps and bounds in terms of fitness and speed since then so we’ll see what I can do in the next 20 weeks.
- Become a morning workout person – This is going to be crucial for training during the warm and humid summer months. I’m lucky enough to be able to run during lunch at work but during the summer a lunch run can feel more like a burden than a blessing. I’d like to try to run before work at least two times a week. This is not going to be easy because I relish the fact that I can sleep in until 7 a.m. but I need to make it happen.
- Stop doing so many doubles – In past training cycles I’ve broken up many of my workouts in an effort to get the miles in. For example, if my training plan says “Run 9 miles with 6×800” I’ll probably run the 6×800 with a 1-mile warmup and cooldown during lunch and then finish up the mileage after work. This is ok every now and then but you really don’t get the benefits of the full workout. I mainly do this because I’m not speedy enough to run 9 miles during lunch but I’m hoping that by trying to get these runs done before work I’ll be able to get the whole workout in.
- Incorporate strength training at least three times a week – Over the winter I’ve gotten into the habit of adding more strength training into my weekly schedule. Before my races this spring I was doing IronStrength on Mondays and another strength workout on Fridays. I want to add in another mini strength workout on Wednesdays as well. Jess from Race Pace Jess made an awesome “mini workout” to add into an already packed training schedule so I’m going to try to do that.
- Nail down my nutrition – I need to take better note of what I’m eating pre-run and how I recover post-run. I am usually pretty good with my nutrition but I think I could get a little better and really figure out what works for me and what doesn’t.
- Be able to run/wear these shorts in public and not be self-conscious about it. – I have these bootay shorts and they are meant for running but I only ever wear them around my apartment. For some reason I’m self-conscious about wearing them in public or going running in them, which is silly. So, in training for #ChiTown I want to gain enough confidence to be able to rock the spandex on a run without stressing about my butt falling out. This is my silly-but-important goal.
What kind of goals do you like to set for marathon training? Tell me about ’em in the comments below!