Help from Hal

This morning I decided to consult my coach Hal about how I have been feeling. Basically I have been tired for a couple of weeks and my motivation has been waning. I still am very motivated for the races and I will succeed, but getting out there daily has really been a struggle. I don’t want it to be a struggle. I want to enjoy myself and feel myself getting stronger and better. Instead I feel tired and sore and weak.

First of all Hal reminded me that I am NOT an experienced runner. I am new, a novice. I have never run a marathon before yet I decided to use his “Intermediate 1” training plan. This plan is for someone who has already run at least 1 marathon and is hoping to improve his or her finish time. Hal addresses this – he said that people following his program rarely have issues, if they do it is due to one of three things:

  1. Not enough base mileage before starting the program.
  2. First-timers who use the Intermediate program instead of the Novice program
  3. People who run their long runs at or close to race pace rather than slower

So, I probably am a good candidate for point 1 – yes, I worked really hard for a few months getting my mileage up, and I have been working out hard and doing a good bit of running all year, but if I was really honest I could agree that my base wasn’t that great.

Point 2 is truly my problem. I had no business with the Intermediate plan. NONE.  Here and now I am revising the rest of my training. Starting with week 8 I am going to the Novice plan. The Novice plan will still get me to the finish line, but in a more gradual way. The biggest difference is that I eliminate the Saturday long tempo run. The key is still the long runs – I will still have to put in a heck of a lot of miles, increasing to peak at 20 miles a couple of weeks before the race.

Point 3 is a little bit of a concern. I do have to admit that on my last 9 and 11 mile runs I was trying to run close to race pace. From now on I stick to the slow pace.

Another thing I have to do is stop dwelling on the 26.2 miles. I am focusing too much on all the long runs. I need to just start taking it one day at a time, one race at a time. On December 12th I have my first half marathon. Right now I need to focus on it and do well. I am so concerned with the marathon that I practically forget about the half. One thing at a time.

“To get to the finish line, you’ll have to try lots of different paths.”
– Amby Burfoot


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