“I don’t know how you do it—run long distance,” a friend’s husband says to me as we’re about to leave a holiday dinner at their house. “I just can't run very long without feeling like I’m going to puke,” he says.
Our conversation is less about whether running is good for you—he’s a great guy and readily acknowledges its mental and physical benefits—and more about how some of us like shorter distances while others, like me, prefer going long. (Chris confides he’d much rather sprint, even if it does sometimes, for him, result in a queasy stomach: “I like a quick and intense workout, then I’m done.”)
It’s true that I feel most confident about my running when I’m tackling longer distances. Double-digit runs aren’t entirely without an intimidation factor, but they also don’t scare me, not as they once did before I ran my first marathon nearly two years ago. There’s something so empowering about knocking out a long run. I try (and hope) to always feel strong enough to take on a weekend 10-miler during non-training time, and during full-on training mode, there’s an unparalleled kind of satisfaction with going out and logging 14, 16, 18 miles.
I do like shorter runs, like the three-mile trail loop I often run with our black lab, Max, and a favorite five-mile route through my downtown and along Lake Michigan. But as I’ve become more and more in tune with my body the longer I’ve been running, I’ve noticed I absolutely hit my stride only after I’m several miles into a workout. (And isn’t that interesting-cool how that happens, getting to know our bodies in this intimate, informative way?)
This is why I’m so excited to be starting training for my fourth marathon, the Bayshore in my hometown of Traverse City, Michigan. It’s a race dear to me, not only because it’s flat and along the water, but because it was my very first 26.2. Being that it's close to home, there's plenty of family and friends able to cheer me on, particularly during those final grueling final 6.2 miles.
And after nine months of lower-key, shorter race events—I craved a break in training following three marathons, including the Nike Women’s Marathon in San Francisco and Boston, in less than one year—I’m ready to really go for it. What this means: I’m going to follow the Train Like a Mother Marathon Own It Plan. While I did BQ at the Bayshore, I am most wanting to simply best my time and snag a marathon PR. OK, yeah, qualifying again would be incredible, but it’s not my main goal—plus, the updated qualifying times mean I’d need a 3:40, not 3:45 as before (I BQ’d with 3:42:55—yep, I cut it close).
But who knows? I’ve got high hopes of getting a PR with the Own It Plan. It’s ambitious, but I’m mentally and physically feeling good. As Dimity and Sarah point out in TLAM, the Own It plan “is a fairly serious, intense plan that can get you a BQ or a significant PR, and, with either, some heart-swelling satisfaction.” I’m down with that.
Of course, I’ll need to be committed to the hard work that’s involved. This 18-week plan involves running four to five times a week, doing three 20-mile runs, “and generally turning into a sleek, fine-tuned running machine.” I like it. And after a summer, fall and early winter of trail running sans Garmin and a handful of family-friendly races, I am itching to see what I’ve got.
Next week I’ll start training, and I’ll be posting updates here, over at Michigan Runner Girl and also on Twitter. I’d love to connect with fellow BAMRs who are following one of the TLAM training plans. To that end, if you’re on Twitter (and if you’re not, why not join us?), please post updates on your adventures following a Train Like a Mother training plan using the hashtag #TLAM2013. If it fits, don’t forget to add #motherrunner, too. You can find me on Twitter here. (Also be sure to follow the new-ish @TheMotherRunner account, which Sarah and Dimity both contribute to.)
Who’s with me--who's going to #TLAM2013?