Cross-posting from Strava. Yes Strava allows you to do posts now.
Whoa. Strava has the ability for everyone to “post” now. Wonderful. This is something I’ve been anticipating for quite some time.
This weeks marks the third full week since my “A” race – the Twin Cities Marathon which I ran on October 1. I should feel supremely satisfied, not only with having met my goal, but also with following my pacing strategy and having finished strongly. And I mean STRONGLY.
Twin Cities Marathon link: https://www.strava.com/activities/1210813148
That it would take a couple of weeks to recover from the marathon is something I had calculated. The last couple of weeks have been somewhat busy. Having something to take my mind off running has been a good thing. But now that I’m into my third week, I’m feeling somewhat disappointed. I still haven’t been able to put any serious effort into my runs. Whenever I try to kick it up a notch, I seem to be overcome by tiredness, and recovering from this tiredness seems to take longer than normal. By the third week, I had projected being able to get back into 40 mpw. Somehow hitting two thirds of that feels like a chore.
Perhaps I’m in a post marathon funk. The blogosphere is full of amateur and pros asking themselves “what’s next?” after a marathon. There are three common situations I see:
- The runner did not meet his/her goal; he/she reflects on the training and tries to determine what can be adjusted to meet subsequent goals.
- The runner did not meet his/her goal; he/she reflects on whether long distance running is the right pastime, and whether he/she might enjoy other activities more.
- The runner meets his/her goal, and tries to determine what his/her new goal ought to be.
While the last outcome is more desirable than the others when reminiscing about the past, no one of the above outcomes is desirable over the other when attempting to determine a path for the future. We often bring emotional baggage into goal setting particularly when we are in the shadows of a recent event. Here’s an example: just last week, my mind started rationalizing the idea that, having shed 15+ minutes off the marathon in one year, perhaps I can shed 30 more over the next two years, and then attempt to shed 8 a year for the subsequent 5. That’s right, I somehow started thinking about what it would take to run a 2:20 marathon and just broke it down into mathematical statements:
15 mins/yr * 2 yrs = 30 mins. 3h 30m – 30 m = 3h.
8 mins/yr * 5 yrs = 40 mins. 3h – 40 m = 2h 20m.
Never mind that a 2:20 marathon means 26.2 miles at under 5:30 per mile. I have yet to run a 5:30 mile. But, in my euphoric state, I was blinded by my sense of achievement and found a perfectly rational path to what I consider a near-mythical achievement. Please don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying a 2:20 marathon is impossible (duh, since people break this barrier all the time!) What I’m saying is that, perhaps that achievement requires more than just adequate training (e.g. favorable genetics). So perhaps a 2:20 (let’s just the time is a proxy for an Olympic Trial qualification) might be a pipe dream.
There are lots of things to ponder about goal setting: When am I set them? Am I being realistic? What are the assumptions that will help me succeed at this goal? What timeframe should I give myself to achieve the goal? When I snapped back from my euphoric vision of an olympic trial qualification, I veered in the extreme opposite direction. There are several “segments” around where I live where I have yet to break top-10. Perhaps if I focused myself on breaking top-10 here first, I might start thinking of bigger and better things. I have several segment-specific goals* for the year-end now. My plan for the remainder of the year is to continue churning out decent mileage, but put in enough variety in speed work, intervals, hills, and endurance runs that will help me succeed at any of these segments. Perhaps coming next spring I might shed 15 minutes from my marathon time, who knows?
Hasta la vista.
* By the way If this is something you are interested in, you can navigate to the following link: https://www.strava.com/athlete/goals