Running

New marathon training plan and goals + being comfortable with uncomfortable

Happy new year, friends! Before I go off on my running ramblings, here is a picture from my new year’s eve.

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I celebrated NYE for the first time in NYC (I know…I’ve lived here for 5+ years, and grew up only 2 hours away, and NEVER spent NYE in the city?!). I was so happy to be with my best friend in the world, Michelle, and also celebrate with my new roommates! Even though I moved in for over a month now, I’ve been travelling all over the place for the holidays, work, and vacation, and it was so nice to finally get in some quality time with the new roomies and begin settling in 🙂

Now for some tangents…

Waking up the next morning was a little rough. Not only physically (ha…), but I didn’t feel like I was in a good emotional place either. It was a new year, new start, but I still felt like I was carrying a lot of baggage from 2016…

As I was running on the treadmill the next day, something in me ignited. I no longer wanted to be in the same spot in my running. I didn’t want to just approach this running season as just getting another medal and crossing another marathon off the list; I want to achieve something more. I want to shoot for outrageous goals and not be afraid to fail (much harder said than done for me…failure is one of my least feelings).

After this very empowering, thoughtful run, I raced home and immediately began planning: reading articles, researching training plans, and thinking about what I can achieve. Now here I am, with brand new goals in mind for this season – in order from specific to big picture:

1) I’m going for a marathon PR this time instead of just running to finish.  I remember back to my first marathon, when every week felt like a miracle that I could run one more mile from the past week, and that sense of progression and achievement meant so much to me. I haven’t really felt that in my running since then because I haven’t been pushing myself. I’ve become complacent in my running, which has been fine because I was working towards other goals in life too (like my exams, focusing on work, travelling), but I think I am in a good spot to have a more focused training cycle, and shoot for PR!

2) I’d love to achieve a sub 4 marathon. This may take a few tries, but it’s been a dream of mine for a while!

3) I want a Boston Qualifier. I always had Boston in the back of my head as a distant dream…I told myself after I got my exams done or was in a more stable place in life, I would shoot for a BQ, but there’s no time like the present to start working towards a dream!

So that’s it!! I’m going for it, and I could not be more excited!! After coming to this decision, my past few days have been dedicated to putting it on motion:

Adjusted my training plan

I usually follow Hal Higdon’s novice 1 training plan. The biggest change in my training this time is that I am going to run 5 days a week instead of 4. It’s incredibly nerve-wrecking to make this change (mainly nervous for injuries and juggling the extra time commitment), but I believe my body is capable of it. I always felt like 4 days a week was a good spot for me since I could get plenty of rest days, but the days I run I always feel better/eat healthier/etc, and adding an extra day I hope will not only help me achieve my time goal, but also translate motivation to other parts of my life.

The extra day of running will be an “as you feel” run: 3-5 miles at any pace I wish, not worrying about pace. I’ll also aim for 1 speed workout, 1 tempo run, 1 easy run, and 1 long run each week. 5 runs total.

Focusing on nutrition: eating whole foods + cooking more

Cooking more is something I try to do each time I come back from home upstate…and it usually lasts approximately 72 hours…I’m not going to kid myself and say that I’m going to cook every meal for the next 4 months. With busy season for work starting, that means late nights at the office ordering food almost every day. BUT, I’ve been trying to monopolize these past few days of settling in/not-so-busy work days to eat my own food!

I basically cycle through the same 3 meals…never get sick of it. I made quinoa salad for the week!

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No more excuses – just RUN!

My new building has a gym downstairs…SCORE. I’m in the process of taking over the previous tenant’s free membership (double score!), and it’s been going slower than I thought. I tried sneaking in this morning, but got caught, which meant doing my run after work (not the biggest fan of evening runs), in the dark, cold, and RAIN!!

The old me in non-training mode would have used every excuse to push the run to the next day or flat out skip it, but I absolutely hate missing miles during training, and so, I got my butt up, put on layers upon layers, and ran those 4 tempo miles.

All I can say was…I loved it. I loved every mile. They weren’t comfortable, don’t get me wrong, but these hard runs in not-so-ideal conditions will make us so much stronger on race day, especially when we hit “the wall” or when things don’t go our way. Plus, you feel so badass after it’s done ;).

Here’s me drenched afterward 😛

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I loved Hungry Runner Girl’s article on how she became a fast runner. What really spoke to me was this:

“Do the things that make you uncomfortable.  I get really afraid to do that.  I want to just stay comfortably in my most comfortable place:)  I want my heart rate to feel comfortable and to run the routes I know I can do because I’ve done them before.  BUT that type of thinking will most definitely maintain my fitness but it does not help me to gain running fitness.  Try making uncomfortable your new comfortable.”

For the past few YEARS, almost every run has been at my comfortable 10-minute pace. It’s time to break through that and push myself if I want to see a PR happen!

If you’ve read to the end of this, thank you for hearing my crazy tangents. Most of this is fueled by a post-running high and new year reflection, but I hope this motivation will carry on as long as possible. I hope that when training starts to feel like a chore, I can look back on this and remember what I set out to achieve.

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2 thoughts on “New marathon training plan and goals + being comfortable with uncomfortable

  1. Sub four is my goal for this year too! I also used Novice 1 for my previous marathons, and this time around I’m doing a plan with a lot more mileage. Hopefully it pays off! Having a gym in the basement is the best, I really miss that about my old apartment

    Liked by 1 person

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