Marathon Training 101: How To Actively Chase Your Goal

Marathon Training 101: How To Actively Chase Your Goal

We are at the beginning of a new training season! For some of you, it’s the first time you’ve ever been able to say that, undoubtedly illiciting a questioning look from those around you. "What are you training for?"

“I’m training for the LA Marathon!” you giddily retort, unable to keep a lid on your enthusiasm. 

All of the excitement of chasing your dream will have you floating from conversation to conversation, bragging about your new diet and training regimen, feeling more energetic enthusiasm than ever. It doesn’t matter whether you’re training for your first marathon, your first Boston Marathon qualifying time (your “BQ”), or if you just want to enjoy a fun race on March 15th, 2015, the energy you feel is probably spurring what we refer to as the "Honeymoon phase," a phase of excitement and newness that, unfortunately, can be wrought with some inherent danger.

It's a danger that comes naturally when we face our fears, doubts and apprehensions. We're prone to daydreaming when we chase after items on our bucket list or when we try to improve on previous efforts - like we do in marathon running. You might sit around, imagining yourself at the finish line with a foil blanket wrapped around your salty, sweaty body, exhausted, but wearing that marathon finisher’s medallion proudly - you've just cashed in a winning lottery ticket! 

These moments of daydreaming, while important, can also distract us from staying present and in the moment. This is crucial when it comes to achieving your goals - you have to stay present and in the moment!

“Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare.”
– Japanese Proverb

Day dreaming isn’t the only thing that takes us out of the moment. I’ve heard literally hundreds of stories of PR’s (Personal Record, or best time at a given distance) that occurred at 2011’s LA Marathon (Monsoon-athon), in spite of that year’s zany rainy weather. It’s impossible not to compare this experience to a previous one, but try not to!

Here’s a little secret: the past doesn’t matter and neither does what you think or feel about the future.

The only thing that truly counts is what you do right now, in the present moment. Some days, that will mean drinking your NutriBlast and getting your run in. Other days, it will mean rest, or cross training, or running easier than you want to (to recover from a sickness, injury, or aches-and-pains from all the hard training). Ultimately, only you will know what is right in the present moment. When you don’t, you can always reach out to your coaches. The more time you spend in the present, the more connected you are to the realities of your training and not the day dreams and fantasies (and sometimes nightmares) that can only exist in our heads.

Take a moment to ask yourself this simple question: What can I do right now? The answer should always be a simple, action-based step.

Don’t get too far ahead of yourselves during this program. And if you’re feeling aches-and-pains now, don’t worry! We still have more than 4 months to train. Get those imbalances corrected early! This doesn’t mean you can’t daydream a little, just don’t live there for too long. Remain present and do what you know there is to do.

Happy Blasting and happy running!

UltraMarathoner and Running Coach

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