In 2011, I started running. In 2014, I’ll be running the oldest and most prestigious marathon in the world, the Boston Marathon. With this blog series, I’m sharing the techniques I use to coach myself (mentally, emotionally and physically) through six months of training. Thanks for joining me!
Last year, in this particular race, I took 4th place. This time? Despite finishing more than two and a half minutes faster than last year, I placed 9th.
As much as I hate to admit it, the pleasure I felt at getting such a great time (I was only about 30 seconds off my PR set last May in the peak of my marathon training) diminished when I saw how fast the runners were who beat me. This was compounded by having some race-induced health issues for the next two days.
It’s a fantastic reminder to me that it really only makes sense for me to be competing against myself. I have no control over who shows up for the race and how fast they’re going to run. What I do have control over is my training and how I run on race day. It’s also giving me a very visceral experience of what happens when I push myself really hard. As much as I enjoy these 10-ks and being part of the ORRC series, they — at least the first two — are merely an adjunct to my real purpose, running at Boston.
That is what is most important.
I hit the hill for my first official week of training. My plan called for 400 meter repeats, and I substituted hill repeats. It’s a short hill, just one tenth of a mile, but it’s steep. According to Strava it’s a 14% grade. All that translates to hard. Really, really hard. Especially the sixth time you do it. But I can tell what a difference running hills makes. If nothing else, the flats seem so much easier afterwards.
I also spent some time over the break on Mt. Hood. While friends were skiing, I hiked up the mountain. The weather was gorgeous, and I was quickly reminded how training at elevation makes a difference. I think I’d like to hit the mountain for training at least once a month. Maybe even sneak in an actual climb or two. Besides being a great work out, being on a mountain makes me oh-so-happy and inspired.
Photo: Looking up at Mount Hood from Timberline Lodge.