It's been two weeks since I began contemplating whether or not the Illinois Marathon was in my grasp this Spring to run it as a Full. We haven't had a full week of school yet since the Winter break ended. Delays, cancellations, etc. The temperatures and conditions have just been that much worse than usual this winter. I remember being outdoors for every long run two winters ago while training for my first half marathon! Unfortunately, this winter sure didn't play out like I had hoped.
I've decided I'm going to scale back to the Half for the Illinois Marathon. I'm a little bummed, but feel good about the decision. I don't feel I'm getting quality long runs needed for a Full Marathon and this ugly Winter is just not letting up. I'm also just not in the mood to be on the treadmill beyond an hour lately. There just is no joy for me in that. So, altering plans, my new plan is to run the Illinois Marathon as a Half, run the Indianapolis Mini Marathon (Half) the following weekend, keep a strong base going into the Fall, and then shoot for a Full Marathon in the Fall. Fingers crossed there is no ridiculous heat wave going into October.
Runner's World coincidentally posted this today on Facebook:
On the positive, I ran two strong indoor treadmill speed runs and two outdoor easy runs last week in solid snow and ice with Yaktrax on. The first was 6 miles in an average of 10 or so degrees. I then ran 7 miles in my Yaktrax in around 16 degrees. I learned that I actually enjoy the temperatures in the teen digits. As long as there was no harsh and bitter wind, I was ok with it! My endurance was strong and I could have easily gone on into the double-digits for mileage had the roads and paths been clear - I was so happy to be outdoors! The only thing stopping me was the serious ice everywhere. After an hour of dodging the ice and the stress on my ankles, I didn't think it was wise to continue.
I've come to the understanding now that part of this sport is being able to make good decisions based on training. When I first started running, I would have, no matter what, finished out the chosen race training plan, grinding through whatever awful condition just to get it done. I'm now in a stage of refining my running abilities, working on getting to my personal next level, and I believe with that comes more precise decision making. Not that I'm in the level of BQ runners yet or elites, obviously, but I know the great runners will quickly dump a race when it's not in their own best interest.
Something else I've understood lately is that the great runners and elites will leave harsh winter locations for a month or so and go to better climates during training. They aren't putting on Yaktrax and running 18 mile runs in them dodging ice and snow. They are in Iten in Kenya, or down in Arizona, or Spain (yes, I'm following where some of them are lately!) They aren't sacrificing their training because of weather conditions; instead they are changing where they are training to get their ideal conditions. We "regular runners" just don't have that luxury.
The bottom line for me now is that I must have JOY in running. If there is no joy for me in a training cycle, then it isn't working out as I need it to. I don't have to run Full Marathons. I only do it for the challenge, yet the challenge now needs to be met with having had a good chance in training for it. Otherwise, I feel I'm short-changing my chances of having a good race. 26.2 miles is a long distance to train for and I now want that to be successful. I've already run 26.2 miles just to "finish it". Now I want to run it with more joy, strength, and skill!
A little pocket of joy when I come back from an outdoor run, being greeted by my fur babies :)
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