Training Update

In my last post, over a month ago (opps!), I had decided to not run the Mercer Island Half Marathon. I also promised to update you on my goals and plans for this year.

Well, I changed my mind and decided to run the half marathon. When I wrote that post, I had decided that running it would be foolish, especially considering my longest run was only seven miles. But come race week, I realized that although I was certainly not PR-ready, I was capable of covering 13.1 miles.

I was terribly nervous for the race; I hadn’t run a race this under-trained in a long time. My strategy for the race was to take it mile by mile and let my lungs and legs (not my Garmin) set the pace.

Based on recent training runs, I figured I’d finish right around 2:10, and if everything went right, maybe I could squeak in under 2:05. Given my fitness level, I had a great race and ran even splits; I finished in 2:03 and was truly ecstatic with this time.

2:03 is about ten minutes slower than my PR, and a year ago I would have beat myself up over this time. My head would have been swirling with thoughts like: Ugh, Megan. You’re so slow. Why did you take so much time after CIM and get so out of shape? How the hell are you going to finish sub 4 at Portland? You suck at running.

Thankfully, I’m starting to move away from this way of thinking. Being so critical of myself is not healthy, and it’s a bad habit I’m working hard to break – both in running and life in general.

Throughout the race and when I crossed the finish line, there was absolutely no negative self-talk. I was genuinely happy and proud when I crossed the finish line of my 17th half marathon.

Now let’s talk about my plans for 2014 and my approach to training.

I’ve been running consistently since February, and my general approach has been quite simple: Don’t be an idiot. I’ve gradually built up my weekly mileage to 20-25 miles/week, and I’ve paid close attention to my left shin. In the past, if my shin hurt, I sucked it up and ran through it. Super smart, I know. Now, if it feels a little off, I’ll take the day off or do an easy run on a soft surface.

My shin is doing much better, but it still isn’t 100 percent. Since I haven’t been able to rehab this injury on my own, I decided to reach out for help (something I struggle with) and started seeing a sports chiropractor.

I’ve only had two sessions so I can’t speak to the treatment’s effectiveness, but it gives me peace of mind to have an official diagnosis and a treatment plan. He also told me that my gluts are very weak, which is causing my other muscles to pick up the slack and puts me at risk of more injuries. So I’ll be working on that as well.

Reaching out for help makes me uncomfortable. But after six marathons and three failed sub 4 attempts, I’ve accepted that I need professional help to reach my goals and take my running to the next level.

So I’m excited to announce that I hired a running coach!

I’ve thought about hiring a coach for several months, but I was always too nervous to pull the trigger. Now that I’ve coached myself through six marathons and stressed out countless trying to figure out the best way to train, I am thrilled to hand over the control and let someone more knowledgeable and experienced guide my training.

I only have one goal this year: To finish with a 3 on the clock at the Portland Marathon. Ideally, Dad and I would both finish sub 3:55 so he can get his BQ and I would get an eight-minute PR.

Portland is an awesome race and has a lot of sentimental value, which is why Dad and I decided made it our goal race. Dad ran his first marathon at Portland 15ish years ago, and this will be his 11th Portland Marathon.

Training begins May 5; I can’t wait!

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6 thoughts on “Training Update

  1. Eleven is the correct total. It doesn’t seem possible that I’ve been throwing myself at that course (and that damned bridge!) for so long now. It is the appropriate place to get that BQ, with my running partner at my side. Thanks for all the encouragement and inspiration and love.

  2. Hi Megan – As a fellow “I’m sick of the 4’s” runner, I check out your blog now and again and have found it to be inspiring and motivating. I am curious about how you went about selecting a coach and what your work together is like. Do you meet in person or is the relationship virtual? I’m also curious about price expectations. I live in San Francisco and have often considered private coaching here. Thanks for your blog! -Tracy

    • Hi, Tracy – thanks for the comment! I’ve followed my coach’s blog for a couple years, so when I decided to take the plunge and hire a coach, it was a no brainer. A big reason I chose her over other coaches is that I could relate to her. She’s been where we are (struggling to break 4 hours) and has since qualified for and run the Boston Marathon.

      Her name is Kristy and you can check out her blog here: http://runthelongroadcoaching.com/

      As for pricing and how it works, it’s $80/month and it’s totally online. After I filled out a questionnaire, we had a phone call to go over my experience/goals/fitness level. Based on this information, she put together the first part of my training plan and we had another phone call to go over the training schedule.

      I wear a Garmin when I run and upload all of my data online, which is how she tracks my training. She then checks in with me throughout the week (usually mid week and on the weekend).

      She’s really responsive, friendly and knowledgeable. I also like that she delivers the plan in 3-4 week increments and adapts it based on how I’m progressing.

      I highly recommend checking out her coaching services — so far I’ve been really impressed!

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