Posted by: David Stewart | September 30, 2010

Not bringing my "A" game: treating a marathon as a training run

I’m running a marathon this weekend. If you’re wondering, yes it’s a 26.2 mile run. I’m not sure I can call it a "race" for me.

This race is in St. George, Utah. My family claims that during a cross-country road trip when I was five years old, I had a terrible ear infection which required us to find a doctor in St. George to address it. That may be true – I have no memory of it.

I originally signed up for St. George in 2009 since it’s well known as a fast course with a high percentage of Boston qualifiers. However, in order to actually get into the race, you need to win a lottery. In 2009, no such luck. So I signed up for the California International Marathon instead that year, and qualified with a 3:29:40 finish.

So I don’t need a qualifying time, but I thought I would want to run St. George someday anyway, and you can actually win the lottery and get in the race on the third try, so I decided to try to get in again. And this year, I was able to win an entry in the 2010 race.

The original goal I had for this race was to improve my best marathon time to 3:20. But I strained my hamstrings in June which knocked down my training, and then in August I injured my ankles, which knocked out about three weeks of running.

So by the time I was running again, it seemed unlikely that I could run a very good race by October 2 in St. George.

But the St. George marathon doesn’t allow you to take an injury deferral. So, I was out the cost of the marathon and had already paid for my flights.

So I definitely don’t have my "A" game for the race – I ran a 21 mile training run three weeks ago, but have had no speed training, low volume and poor core training.

My coach recommended I just treat this as a long training run. Don’t kill myself for a sub-par result. If I get to some point and don’t feel good, give myself permission to just stop running. (Better known as a "DNF" for "did not finish").

So don’t treat it as life or death to do well or even finish. Enjoy the run and the scenery.

But I’m not very good at doing anything "just for fun." It will be a huge challenge to keep myself under control and enjoy it.

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