My day started with a 4:30am wake-up call in Charlotte, NC. I took an early-morning flight home to Rochester, where I was greeted by stiff winds and temperatures in the lower 40s. I went straight to the office and worked most of the afternoon (no time for lunch), then headed for home with six miles on the training plan – only to find this scene awaiting me.
As tempting as it was to curl up in front of the fire, I changed into my running clothes, headed out the door and got six miles in. I was at the stage of the plan where I was no longer just running. This was clearly Training.
The overall time commitment
As training mileage increases (in my case from 15 miles/week to close to 40 miles/week), the time devoted to pounding the pavement increases. I had expected that the training programs would be difficult physically, but I wasn’t fully prepared for the amount of time I would need to devote to running, especially in the last 2-3 months before a marathon. It precludes most other hobbies (and in some cases, sleep).
Most training plans require an increasing number of miles over the last 8-12 weeks until the race. To skip a scheduled run in favor of sitting in front of the fire would bring instant gratification but would put me off schedule and potentially derail the training plan.
I’m not really a big fan of running. As I embark on the long runs in a marathon training plan (16 miles… 18 miles… 20 miles…) I find myself increasingly bored. I typically listen to podcasts and I’ve tried audiobooks, but after about 90 minutes I start counting down the time until I finish (although I did find this neat secret message painted by a utility crew in our neighborhood to help encourage me).
Fear of injury
My number one goal since starting running, my prime directive, has been to avoid injury. I’ve had a couple of issues pop up (IT Band pain and plantar fasciitis) caused by either running too fast or too far. Each put me on the sideline for a week or two. I can’t afford that to happen toward the end of a training plan, so I often focus during a training run on sticking to the plan and avoiding the temptation to do more than the plan calls for.
I know that if I follow the Training Plan, I’ll be successful in completing whatever race is ahead. But toward the end of a training plan, I usually look forward to being done with Training and going back to just Running for fitness and fun.