Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Finding the QUALITY in Your Running

In three short weeks, my marathon training will begin.  In three short weeks, I can officially say "I'm training for my first marathon."  

For this post, I'm linking up with Deb for her Wednesday Word:  QUALITY.  
I have been blessed with some pretty amazing women that I call friends and they push me past my limits of running.  They make me better.  They make me laugh.  They have been factors in my success with running.  Their un-wavering dedication motivates me to get out of bed and out the door to hit the pavement!  Some days, I feel that they are the main reason I love running.  Running is part of my life.  I'm lost without it.  I would be lost without my running friends. 

With the marathon only 5 short months away, I am finding myself reflecting on the quality of my running.  Are my runs doing enough?  Are they too comfortable?  Do they push me past my comfort zone which allows me to get better?  Do they help me achieve my own personal greatness in running?  Susan, my trainer and friend says, trust the the miles, show up, get it done and you will finish.  

My sub-4 marathon still lingers in my brain.   I don't know if that goal will ever go away.  It may get a bit more realistic and change to finishing, but it's always there.  Is the quality of my running there though?  In the next 5 months I am going to focus on making my training runs matter.  My friend Christian, who is also a track coach, told me to avoid the "junk" miles.  "If you can read a book while running, you might as well be resting."   Those are his words, but they really hit my heart.  Sure, if you're running at a comfortable pace you're still burning calories, but are you improving?  What do you think?  

The marathon is just as much mental as it is endurance. His philosophy is to work on the quality of your running so that you can focus on the mental aspect.  Your body will do so much more if you just put your mind to it. 
Have you ever run a race and a few short miles from the finish line thought... "I can't possibly go more miles?"   I think this all the time.  I think our mind plays tricks on us.  No matter my distance, I always feel fatigued before the finish line.   It's like my mind prepares for a certain distance and that's it, it tells my body no more.   I'm hoping that mentally, I'll be better prepared for the marathon because I will know ahead of time it's 26.2 miles.  Not 15, not 18, 26.freaking2!!!! 

In the past few weeks, I have looked at the training calendar/plan I swear 25 times.  No joke.  I have even written my weekly goals down and planned out the next five months of my life to fit in my long runs so that I am leaving the least amount of burden on my husband and my children.  

My focus moving forward is going to be on quality miles.  Currently, my training calls for 5 days of running and two days of rest.  I have hill day, sprint day, easy day, long run day and tempo day.   The calendar is packed!  I'm most worried about my tempo runs. Tempo runs need to force you out of your comfort zone, if you can carry on a conversation, you're not running hard enough.  However, the tempo runs needs to be sustained for 20-40 minutes.  I think for me this is around the 8:20 pace.   I'll be finding out soon enough!

I'm going to allow myself days where I fail, but I'm also going to remember that you don't achieve greatness in one single step.  It takes practice and dedication.  It takes a strong mind.  It will take dedication, sacrifice, sweat, tears.  It will take focus on the quality of miles;  not the number.

I am up for the challenge. 

In three short weeks,  I will be putting one foot in front of the other.  

I will train. 

One step at a time, until that finish line.   


  1. I actually like marathon training--the variety in the runs and the feeling of accomplishment after finishing yet another workout! It will be fun to watch you do your first marathon! Just remember to have fun. Otherwise it isn't worth it.

  2. I do not like tempo runs -- hard! But so necessary.

    I'm team quality. It's been interesting reading everyone's take on it!

  3. Have you been getting comments that I put on your blog? For some reason, it's hard for me to get them published there. Maybe I'm doing something wrong?

  4. As someone who recently trained for her first marathon, was injured two weeks prior, and then immediately trained alternatively for another -- it's mostly mental. Determination is key. I'm excited you've decided to run your first marathon. It is an experience like no other!

  5. I am determined. I can't wait for that day!

  6. How exciting!!! Training (and running)your first marathon is seriously LIFE CHANGING!! I ran my first marathon a year and a half ago and while it was the most challenging thing I have ever was also the most rewarding!

    I had a sub 4 goal for my first marathon and I had people look at me like I was crazy...and that my goal should be to "just finish" for my first one...and that was frustrating! I did have to work through a small injury and cut down on speedwork...but ended up running a 4:04...SO CLOSE!! That is what spurred marathon #2 ;)

    Good luck in your training! Good luck with your sub 4...your plans for quality runs sound great!! Don't forget a little bit of cross-training/strength training as seriously does wonders for warding off those nagging injuries!

    1. Congrats on the 4:04:00!! That's amazing. I'm terrible at strength training that's for sure! Will definitely work on it!!

  7. I love marathon training, and miss the long runs the most. Now that I've embraced shorter distances, I love tempo runs. I love leaving it all out there on the trail and coming home knowing that I had a good workout!

    Good luck with your training, and remember to have fun!

    Thanks for linking up!

    1. Thanks!!! I got my first taste of trail running this fall in co. It's so awesome! I wish I had trails by my house.