So in one of the most epic fails of my blogging, here I am officially a week out from the marathon and haven't really spoken about how/why I choose a running coach!
My goals for a 4 hour marathon pretty much existed from the time that I began training last fall for ING Miami (my first marathon). All those pace prediction calculators had me dead set on getting as close to 4 hours as possible.
As that marathon blew up (humidity, heat...that whole training in winter then running a marathon in a different climate) and I finished in 4:33 after a great half time I realized that I had quite a bit of work to do to get near that goal.
Then enter an insane spring which included running races most weekends, multiple half marathons and another full and an ultra marathon.
And, missing my spring goal of a 1:50 half marathon by a mile - in fact I didn't run a single half marathon in under 2 hours all spring (most were training runs after the first epic fail at the Allstate 13.1 New York).
I knew immediately after running the first marathon that I had lost a significant amount of speed (in the fall I ran 3 or 4 half marathons under 2 hours - my first of the season in 1:54 and my final in 1:53 so I had a pretty consistent fall race season).
As I trained during the spring, I had the mentality of just getting through it mixed with having fun, but that I needed to step back after and readjust my training and expectations to really RACE a marathon. I knew that meant focusing on a goal and not running a race every weekend. I ran the NJ Marathon in 4:26 kind of not really taking it seriously and my final race of the season was the Dirty German 50K which was hands down one of the most awesome experiences of my running career to date.
Around that time I stumbled upon the instagram of Coach Karen! (Twitter too!) I saw that she was local to me, one heck of a speedy runner and started emailing with her about my goals and possibly taking me on as a client.
We finally met face to face to discuss where I was at and my goals and I was sold. I love her holistic approach to training and health in general.
With making the ING Hartford marathon my goal 4 hours or bust marathon - we had a lot of work to do and pretty much had to start right away.
This was my only downfall, I never really got a "down time" from training. I have pretty much been in a consistent training cycle for 2+ years.
What I love?
Taking the guess work out of what I need to do. In March I also started a new job which entailed a LOT of work. I love it but the hours were insane and still can be. 4am wake ups have become way too normal in my life as have 10-12 hour work days...and weekends.
I am not the person that needs the motivation to do my workout BUT I live for accountability - and if you tell me I am to run xx amount of miles in xx:xx I WILL run that come hell or high water. I hate disappointing myself and others so I approached training as a non negotiable. Reporting back my workouts has been perfect.
We had planned to meet for track work in person, but again my work schedule kept hindering that so we were only able to do two together. Which I am sad about but it's just a fact of life.
I love my google doc and anxiously awaiting new workouts (especially speed work, I seriously LOVE it now!) to be entered.
I love that if I have an off day or for instance am sick (aka when I lost a week of training with the flu) she can readjust everything and tailor it to what is going on real time. In the past I would have just been afraid to sway from my plan and would barrel on through - not always for the best.
What I do know? That no matter what happens with Hartford, training with Karen has made me a MUCH stronger runner. And SMARTER.
I typically run 5 times per week with my schedule - but am running same/more mileage than before when I was running 6-7. Cross training is a non negotiable as is a rest day. And let me tell you - I embrace the heck out of rest days now! The quality of running is so much better. The balance is finally there. There is a WHY behind every workout I do.
I already have told Karen that I want to keep her on (umm forever basically) for my spring goals but apparently I should really just focus on Hartford at this point ;-)
She is so wise. And I fully trust in the training.
So basically, love Karen, love this training cycle (although so ready to race) and this was the best decision I could have made to help me achieve my goals.
A final side note: ONE WEEK UNTIL HARTFORD!!!! Just. Wow.