It’s been over two months since I competed in The Marathon Project, an elite-only 26.2-mile race in Arizona. If you’d ask me around mile 20 of the race, I probably would have told you that I was never running another marathon again in my life. But here I am, just a couple of months later, and I’m back training for another one. In June, I will return to Duluth, Minnesota and run Grandma’s Marathon for the second time.
It’s not a secret that I didn’t hit my goals at my last marathon…or at the marathon before that (Olympic Marathon Trials). And while my race-day execution needs improvement, I’m also trying to be better prepared this time around.
So, what am I changing? For starters, I’m focusing on speed right now. Unlike the last two marathons, I have a bit more time to prepare for Grandma’s so I’m hoping to bring back (gain new?) speed in the legs. I’ve been hitting the track lately, and I’m actually planning to run a small 5K in Greenville, SC this weekend. It’s a wave start so we’ll see how it goes! Even though it won’t be traditional racing, I’m hoping it’ll give me more motivation than just a time trial.
Next on my list of priorities is to gain strength. OK – I know that seems obvious. You need speed and strength to run a marathon well, but my goal is really to do more strength cross-training. I’ve never been very disciplined with my core work so I am adding in some power yoga classes. Having an instructor and fun music helps me get through all the planks and pushups. I’m already feeling stronger with all those chaturangas!
And lastly, I’m going to run harder and longer on my long runs. There will be no question that I am ready. To be fair, I’ve always done some solid long work, but I think my buildup for The Marathon Project was a bit rushed. I also think I could have worked harder at times when I thought the effort was “good enough.”
You can’t take anything for granted in the marathon. Heck, you could have perfect training and it still doesn’t work out! But’s that’s part of the mystic of the marathon. When everything comes together and you have a great race, it’s almost magical. And I’m certainly keeping my fingers crossed for a magical day in June!