My spring marathon season has come to an end, and for all the hinting I’ve done to my husband about how I’d like to run ‘just one more’ in late June/early July, he hasn’t taken the bait and given me the OK to find one. Which means my next ‘race’ (and yes, I use that term loosely in this case) is the Marathon du Medoc in September, followed by Chicago, Richmond and Philly. The fall will be a fun race season, with the chance to reconnect with so many running friends from all over. I’m very much looking forward to the cooler months and the new adventures these races will bring.
But what do I do now?
I’m currently busy with my job (which will end in mid-June), so I am looking forward to taking a bit of a breather from the rigors of marathon training as my schedule is rather busy at the moment, but I’m also scared. Yes, I said it. I’m scared that I will lose my drive and desire, not to mention my conditioning.The idea of training up to marathon distance fills me with dread; I’ve thoroughly enjoyed maintaining my endurance since my first marathon in October. I so very badly want to run a 4-hour marathon in Chicago, and I feel like I am currently on the verge of doing it. But what will happen when I cut back on my training a bit? Will I quickly be able to jump back into the training – both mentally and physically? Should I really use this time to give my legs a break from the pounding on the pavement and integrate some biking and swimming into my training? Will this time away from marathon training/maintenance help me come back stronger?
This is the first summer where I face this ‘break’ in my training, so naturally there are questions about how I will handle it.I really don’t want to lose too much of my base and conditioning, so I plan to alternate between 12 and 16 mi long runs, maybe with an 18 miler thrown in there once a month. And while I won’t be running five days a week for the next two months, I do plan to run at least three days a week plus do yoga once a week. This certainly will keep me in decent shape and looking toward the future.
I hope that this plan keeps me in shape and ready mentally for the fall races on my schedule. This is one of the rare times that living on an island is a bad thing – races are just not easily accessible, and it would be ideal if I could run a marathon every 6-8 weeks to stay in focus for my goals. Since that isn’t my reality, I’m going to see what works for me so I can grab my fall finish lines as I envision them. Four-hour marathon, here I come!
How have you taken a break from intense training? What helped you to get re-energized about your next training cycle? What is harder, the physical or mental aspect of building back up to marathon distance?