THE “THREE R’s” OF MARATHON TRAINING—Review, Reset and Recommit
A marathon is a long way to run. And training for a marathon is a HUGE commitment of energy, effort and time… and as we get into the ‘dog days’ of August, it may seem as though the bloom has begun to fall from the rose.
What seemed like a great idea in February, when registration for the Bank of America Chicago Marathon opened; or in May, when training first started often takes on new meaning when the alarm clock goes off at 4:30 or 5:00 on a Saturday morning with a 14, 16, 18 or even 20 mile long run ahead.
Most of us established some sort of goals at the beginning of the season – ‘to run my first marathon’, ‘to improve my finish time’, ‘to raise money for a favorite charity’, or one of a hundred other important reasons motivating us to mark the calendar on October 9, 2016, - Marathon Day!
Review the goals you established at the beginning of the season. (Hopefully, you wrote down those goals before your first training mile was ever logged.) Studies show that goals are most likely to be met when they are specific, measurable, achievable and realistic. And when they are written down!
How do the goals you set stack up?
Were they realistic and achievable? Are they still realistic and achievable – or has ‘life’ gotten in the way to the point where goals need to be revised?
Take time this week to review your training season so far; and to review your goals in light of your progress to date–in terms of your aggregate mileage; the number of days you’ve been able to train; your overall physical and mental well-being; and in terms of funds raised for your favorite charity.
This is the perfect time to review our goals and to evaluate whether we are on pace to achieve them.
Reset your goals, if necessary. Perhaps the goals you set were too idealistic. If this is your ‘first ever’ marathon, it may be that you just didn’t have the experience to set more “realistic” goals. That’s okay–sometimes we need to take ‘one step back’ in order to take ‘two steps forward’ to improve our performance. That’s the purpose of cutback weeks in training and long runs, and it’s true of the goals we set at the beginning of the season. If ‘life got in the way’ or training has not progressed as well as we predicted, reset the goals to be achievable and realistic in the context of our life and training. Keep the training experience and the goals positive.
Or, perhaps our initial goals were not aggressive enough. For many of us, training and/or fundraising has progressed better than we hoped. Maybe the challenge was not set high enough and we can aim for a more aggressive goal, one that is more realistic and still achievable. Don’t hold back, take stock of how your training and fundraising has developed and set a more aggressive goal if warranted.
Moving the bar a little higher stirs the soul.
Recommit to your training; to achieving your goals; and to yourself. We have invested a great deal of ourselves getting to this point. Recommit to what got us here, whether it is fundraising for our charity, setting a new marathon record for ourselves or successfully completing our first marathon.
After reviewing what has gone before, and resetting our goals (either more or less aggressively)—now is the time to recommit to finishing the task at hand.
The goals may have changed, but the rewards are still great. And attainable.
Don’t stop now.
“Good form will carry you through”®