on setting goals & staying motivated

Monday: 4 miles on the treadmill

Tuesday: 4 miles – a hill workout

Wednesday: rest day (kickball)

Thursday: 4 miles on the treadmill

As you know if you’re one of my 12 readers (thank you, by the way!), I was super pumped after the Helvetia Half Marathon. It was a fun race, exceeded my expectations, and I was overjoyed that my friends woke up early to cheer me on. I took it easy the week after, knowing it was a good idea to rest my legs and take some of the running pressure off.

But, then, eight days later, my body wanted to get back on the running train, but my mind didn’t. I found myself dawdling, wondering … What’s going to make me pumped to run again?

The idea of “staying in shape?”

What does that mean, anyway?

I’ve always cared about being in shape, but never had a super clear idea of what that meant to me. A particular number on the scale? (Not really. I don’t own a scale.) Fitting into my favorite jeans? (No. Most of my jeans are kind of loose.) Being able to hoof up flights of stairs without getting winded? (Maybe.) Looking like an athlete in a bathing suit? (I’ll never be in good enough shape for that.)

So, while the notion of being healthy and in shape motivates me in small part, it’s not enough to get me running consistently — or running more than 20 miles per week.

And, thus, I need a new goal. That brings us to this: I signed up for my first full marathon.

Cue the rapid heart rate and butterflies in the stomach.

I’m nervous. Even though the race is in October.

Can I stick to my training over the summer, while the happy hours and lazy park days call my name? Am I mentally tough enough for 26.2 miles? Are my knees and hips gonna hate me?

For now, I’m cautiously optimistic. I’m following a training schedule that allows me to start small, so I’m back to 4-mile runs during the week instead of 8-mile runs (though that won’t last for long), and I’m mixing in track days and hill runs, to keep my legs guessing.

I’m also thinking about shooting for 4 runs per week plus a weights/yoga day, rather than 5 runs per week. I’m not sure; is that foolish? I don’t really know much about marathon training, and most of the programs suggest 5-6 runs per week. But I do believe my weight lifting days help my running base in a way that just hitting the pavement doesn’t.

Tell me: Have you run a marathon? What are your tips/tricks/suggestions/warnings?

I leave you with this picture of me, an accurate representation of how I’ve been spending my post-run evenings:

icing

Ice packs on each thigh. I know how to party.

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300 meter benchmark

Sunday’s workout: fast (for me?) sets of 300 meters + kickball

Today began with an epic (uh huh) kickball game. We won 10-5, and I caught five or six fly balls and got player of the game! Thanks, kickball friends. :) I’m lucky to be on a really cool team. We keep getting better and better, and everyone is super encouraging. Not a bad way to spend a Sunday.

kickball

Our team name: Schweddy Balls

I felt a little guilty that I didn’t go for team beers after the game, but I wanted to get my track workout over and done with while it was still sunny.

I’d set up a workout on Garmin Connect and sent it to my Forerunner. Stupidly, I didn’t check how Forerunner would handle the workout … I started it successfully (one mile warmup) and then the watch started beeping at me — and I wasn’t sure what to do about it. I hit the wrong button, apparently, and it gave me a lap error message (over and over and over) and wouldn’t stop beeping. Damn, Garmin. Learning curve.

So instead of messing with the pre-designed workout, I just put the watch in normal training mode and did my thing:

  • one mile warmup
  • 300 meters x 8 times, walking the 100 meters in between each
  • one mile cool down

I’d planned to do the 300 repeats 12 times, but I felt awfully spent after 8.

And, like most speed workouts, I have no idea how fast (based upon my race goal pace) I should run these things, but at least now I’ve got a benchmark.

I ran the first 300 in 1:03 and each one after in 1:06 or 1:07. I’m actually really, really surprised that I was that consistent.

By the way, did you know that Michael Johnson can run 300 meters in 30.85 seconds?

****

While I was marveling at MJ’s time, I went and did some Googling until I found this kickass running calculator. Well, Greg McMillan, you rock. And you’ve answered several of my burning questions about pacing.

If I’m running 300 meters in 1:03-1:07 and running 400 meters in 1:20, then I should be able to get to a sub-8:00 race pace at some point. That’s my ultimate goal; for now, I just want to get to sub-8:30. (I love how the running calculator gives target paces for every type of training run. That is so rad.)

I learned from last week’s speed workout and didn’t push it too hard today. I feel good, but I’m still icing for prevention.

ice packs

Like the neon socks? If it's got neon colors, I'm likely putting it in my shopping cart.