This year’s marathon training: What worked, what didn’t.

Me and my sister Jean, right before MDI yesterday. Don’t I look excited?

I took today off from work because I figured that I’d be motivated to push harder yesterday if I knew I could lie in agony on my couch all day on Monday.

(Ok, that’s not totally true — we had originally planned on having a romantic weekend in Bar Harbor, and lack of funds killed that plan.)

I feel pretty normal today. Better today than I have after any other marathon. Generally, my feeling is that I have gotten better at recovering from distance running since my first marathon last year, even if I haven’t necessarily gotten much faster since that time.

And that was my goal, right?  To be able to run marathons without having them totally drain all the energy out of my life?

I did 3 marathons in the past 6 months without having to run so many miles:

My distance each week for the past 26 weeks.

My average miles-per-week over that time was a little more than 26. That’s including the marathons themselves, and the taper weeks towards them. 26 miles per week, if you read much marathon training literature, is not running very many miles. That doesn’t count the cross training — walking, which I don’t log as faithfully, and cycling, but I know was more than the year before.

I’ve seen plenty of PRs this year, including in the marathon. I know I’m making great progress. And now I have two years of continuous running experience under my belt. I’ve probably run about 2,500 miles since I started the Couch to 5K in August of 2010.

So that’s a lot of accomplishments and I feel really great about them and have no regrets about my performance … so let me deconstruct where I think I went wrong with training this year and what I want to do different next year.

At the beginning of 2012, I was not ready to run more than 4 days a week. I was not ready to run two long runs on the weekends. I was just happy to prove to myself that I could a) follow a training plan of my own volition and b) recover fast enough to do it twice in two weeks.

And I did those things.

But next year I would really like to have a marathon where I can finish strong. Where I don’t tell myself “it’s a 20-mile warm-up with a 10K finish” and then get to the last 10K and say “actually, a 5K finish” and then get to the last mile and say, “you can’t walk now, there’s only 10 minutes of suffering left, tops.”

I’ve had 5Ks and 5-milers and half marathons where I could push the whole way through this year. But marathons were still “start with what I thought was conservative and find out that wasn’t conservative enough.”

26 miles a week is enough to finish a marathon but its not enough to get good at a marathon.

I don’t know what my next goal events are going to be and I suspect that it might not be a marathon. At least not for another several months.




Pattie Reaves

About Pattie Reaves

I'm a new mom and renegade fitness blogger at After the Couch. I live in Brewer with my husband, Tony, our daughter Felicity, and our two pugs, Georgia and Scoop.