Stay Focused!!

I just realized a couple of days ago that I only have TWO WEEKS until taper! In "marathon speak," that means I've only got two weeks until I start reducing my mileage and letting my body recover from all I've put it through. For the last four months, the marathon has been this race far in the future, and suddenly training is almost over.

Realizing I only have two weeks until taper put this Saturday's half marathon into perspective. It's not going to be a race-race, it's going to have to be a tempo training run. This is the time to FOCUS on the big picture, i.e., the marathon. I have only done one 20-miler, and I've only had two weeks with 35+ miles. I need this week and next to be high mileage, long run weeks. So, instead of mini-tapering for the half-marathon,I've actually put in 22 miles so far this week and plan to run 13.1 + 3 on Saturday. Having a strong 16-mile run is more important than trying to beat my 2:09 PR from three weeks ago. Running 38 miles this week instead of 20 or 25 will be more beneficial in the long run.

With that said, I do have some goals for Saturday. I'd like to run a smart race with even or negative splits (2nd half faster than first half). I'd like to keep my pace between 10 or 10:05 and 10:20. I'd like to average about 10:15 for the race overall. And I'd like to beat last year's time of 2:15:41. Then I'd like for the extra 3 I do at the end not to hurt (very much).

My plan is to finish the race, then jog back out onto the course to find a spot to encourage those from my half-marathon training group who are still out there. At the end, if anyone is struggling, I'll run that last mile or two with them if they need me to. Doing that a few times should get me the extra 3 miles.

Then next week, it's another 38-40 mile week with my last 20-miler on Friday the 13th. (Also another reason not to race this weekend--it would make the 20-miler THAT MUCH HARDER. And trust me, they are hard enough!) Then it's taper and I can have my life back.

I want to wish all of my half-marathon and Couch to 5K group members good luck on Saturday! They all made so much progress in such a short time. Some of them absolutely blew me away---going from walking to running 13.1 miles in 14 weeks without injury, embracing fuel belts and Garmins and Gu's as a "normal" part of their lives, talking about their splits, and already signing up for their next races.... I feel like such a proud momma!

Here are several my "Pitt Crew" about four weeks into their journey to become lean, mean, half-marathon running machines: (I'm on bottom right in a jacket--it was chilly post race!)


Hoping you have a pain-free race day! How fun to encourage your running group!