Tuesday, September 23, 2008


I’m sure 90% of my concerns lately have been half mental – or however that Yogi Berra quote goes.

I’m always amazed at how much an injury can set you back on the mental-side of things. I am probably in better shape than I’ve been letting on. Seriously, if you look at my training since Boston, I’ve had 18 weeks between 45 and 83 miles. It has to take longer than 2 weeks of reduced mileage to lose that kind of fitness. If not, then we would be a lot more vigilant when it came to even the most minor injury.

In any case, I need to work on doing whatever it takes to stay fit, physically and – more importantly – mentally, when I’m injured in the future. Again, these marathons are too few and far between to be squandering my chances by being lazy. Injuries happen, so it’s best to have a strategy for dealing with them – other than sitting around waiting for them to heal.

I was thinking about my race plan some more and I think some of the anxiety has to deal with always being within reach of a widely used benchmark. It seems like whether I’m in great shape or not so great shape, the 3-hour barrier is always staring me in the face. What if I had a marathon PR like 2:54 or 3:06, would there be as much anxiety?

Does everyone else have a marathon time that creates similar feelings? I suppose any time that gets you to the next 10-minute barrier is a pretty big one. Five-minute barriers probably aren’t as big. And I imagine 3:30 would be a tough one too. Not only is it the crossover into a significant 30-minute barrier, it’s also right around 8:00 pace. Run 8:00 pace and you’ve broken 3:30.

Last night I ran an 8 mile progression run, starting at 8:40 pace and dropping down to 7:03 pace. Right now, somewhere in that 7:10 – 7:20 range seems doable for 26.2. But then again, the treadmill always seems harder to me.

Finally, thanks to Eric for sending this article on Dara Torres.

Quote of the day;

“When you look at her passion and her preparation, I think all athletes could take something from that. After what she’s done, how can you not look in the mirror and say, ‘Are you doing enough?’” – Brian Bruney, NY Yankees pitcher referring to Dara Torres


Anonymous said...

I'm all for running smart, but there is a time and place for playing it safe. Like when you're working in a cubicle. If you're not going to challenge yourself and set an aggressive goal then you might as well go for a Sunday stroll in the park. As Fam would say - run recklessly. Didn't work out so good in Bejing but his spectacular performance in Providence was awesome to behold.


Kurt said...

Dude I hear you. I know Sonya is also feeling that way right now. The age old question of do I go for it or take the safe road. The funny thing is that sometime the safe road does not even work out. You will do fine. Go to the start line knowing you are a vet in these things. Take that confindence and roll with it.

Thomas said...

As someone who has broken 3:30 and is hoping to be breaking 3:00 I think I know a bit about that.

Breaking 3:30 was easy, even though running 8:00 pace for a marathon seemed totally ridiculous at first. But I managed it the first time I targeted that time when I lowered my PB from 3:55 to 3:28.

Breaking 3:00 is much harder (well, duh!), and while I'm still reasonably confident that I will manage to break it within a year, it's a much more daunting task and requires much harder training. I can definitely sympathize with the idea that the "3-hour barrier is always staring me in the face".