I have written about this before (here and here) but now that I am training for a race but don’t have a time goal for my next marathon, I have a bit of a different perspective.
In case you missed it, I am currently training for the New York City Marathon. I’m actually fundraising for a fantastic organization, Team for Kids, and if you are interested in learning more or donating (thank you!) you can do so here. I’m running NYCM as a part of my goal to run all the Marathon World Majors. As such, I’m not running it for a goal time.
Not chasing a goal time in a marathon is unfamiliar for me. It’s made me really hone in on my mental game. Since I’m mostly training to have a strong race, not a PR it means that I have to constantly remind myself that the work in training is worth it because it really is fundamentals. I was a bit worried that I’d slack off when I was not training for a time goal. But so far, I have really been enjoying this training cycle.
If you know me at all, you know I’m a huge Alabama football fan. I’ve been watching this training days series on ESPN and one of the things Coach Saban says repeatedly is “what is your breaking point?” I think this is applicable to so many things, including running. I have hit a breaking point in each marathon training cycle and in each marathon I have ever run.
I am hopeful that because my head is not so focused on a particular time, the lack of pressure that comes along with it will allow me to really increase my mental strength and go into the race feeling good and feeling strong. I am frequently working on my mental strength but I know that the mental side of running is something I can always be working on. I think I have come a long way, but still sometimes have to deal with self doubt.
I am excited to see how having a better mindset translates into race day. Even without a specific time goal, I think I will have a much more enjoyable experience and hopefully I will be able to take that and translate it into a better race when I am actually racing for a goal time.
Tell me, how do you deal with the mental side of running? Side note: I’m reading Kara Goucher’s new book Strong and I highly recommend it if you are trying to work on your mental game.