Over the last couple of months, I've been trying to decide what I'd like to accomplish this year in running. The unwavering nausea at mile 19 at MDI that caused me to walk a good portion of the last 6 miles had me swearing off marathons for a few years. Then, like the pain of childbirth, the discomfort of the marathon was forgotten a short while later. Well, not forgotten, but now it doesn't seem that bad. I survived, right? So I got into my head that I'd like to tackle the marathon again in 2014. I was even as crazy to think that I would want to do the Maine Coast Marathon in May and then Sugarloaf two weeks later. I also won an entry into MDI this year, so I could be doing that in October.
Then I really got to thinking. What was the main thing that I was missing last year? It can be summed up in one word.
Last year, I didn't follow any training plan. I loosely followed one for MDI, and even then was only able to do one 20 mile run. As far as mileage in 2013, I averaged about 41 miles PER MONTH and in the first 7 months of the year only averaged just over 30 miles per month. In July, when I should have been preparing to start training for MDI, I took 19 days off in a row. Now that I look back over my training log, it's no wonder my fall marathon was such a sufferfest.
Next month will mark three years since my return to running. From February 2011 until the Maine Marathon in September 2012, I followed the Run Less, Run Faster training plans. I started with the 5K and worked my way through the 10K, the half marathon, and the marathon plans. I averaged about 61 miles per month in 2012. Still not a lot compared to some, but the RLRF plans are designed around running fewer miles.
That all stopped last year.
One of the reasons was that we bought a fixer-upper house and I was dealing with getting that ready to move in. I didn't want to commit to a training plan when I wouldn't necessarily be able to follow it. I mentally needed a break from the structure of a written plan. So 2013 became the year of whatever. I'd run when I wanted. I'd run as far as I wanted.
The problem was that I still wanted to compete. I still wanted to perform well. I still wanted to PR.
And I did for the most part. But running less than 10 miles is very different from 26.2. I think that I carried over some fitness from the previous two years to result in some pretty solid race performances early in last year. I ran a great time at the Sugarloaf 15K in May and got a 2-second 5K PR in June. (The latter was the first time in my life that I actually ran to the point of dry heaves at the finish. TMI? Sorry about that. But it could be the result of not being fit enough to run that time.)
Anyway, last night as I was drifting off to sleep I realized what I have to do.
I need to rebuild my fitness. I need to rebuild my strength. I need to rebuild my mileage base to be able to accomplish my running goals. So that is what I'll be doing in 2014. I won't be running a marathon and I'm finally okay with that.