I love the beginning of a new training cycle.
Similar to the first day of school, a new training cycle is filled with opportunity. There are goals on the line and the hope of success at the finish. There’s also room for mistakes, meaning plenty of opportunities to learn. Sometimes you don’t feel completely prepared at the start but to me that’s the beauty of training for a marathon. You can plan for everything but then the unexpected can happen.
Yesterday marked day one of training for the 2014 Chicago Marathon. While I feel prepared in the logistical sense – I have a training plan and goals – I’m not sure my fitness is where it should be at the start of marathon training. After my failure of a spring goal race in April, I took it easy (maybe a little too easy) and I think I got a little out of shape. I spent the winter and spring training for a just-out-of-reach half marathon time goal. While I felt overly prepared going into that training cycle, I lost sight of the smaller things like taking easy runs easy, not pushing the pace too much in workouts, remembering to stretch, and more. Forgetting those things during training turned my just-out-of-reach goal into a completely out of reach goal.
That’s not going to happen for Chicago. In Chicago, I know I’m going to reach my goal. I’m going to train hard but not overtrain. I’m going to stretch and listen to my body and not push myself when it’s telling me to take it easy. I’m going to challenge myself in workouts. Wake up early for long midweek mileage. Eat right. Get enough sleep. At least that’s the plan for now.
More than all of these plans and goals I want to have fun with this training cycle. Training through the summer can be miserable, hard and really test the dedication of even the most determined runner. But with my last training cycle I pushed myself too hard and began resenting (even hating, sometimes) running. I don’t want that this time around.
I love the beginning of a new training cycle because of the opportunity but also the unknown. Good luck to everyone training for Chicago!