My Goal For Berlin Marathon

Sponsored conversation by Under Armour

This year is flying by….or running by me – rather quickly as I prefer to think…

At the beginning of this year Berlin Marathon seemed far off in the future but the time has arrived to start full on training.

As I’ve mentioned more recently the time on the clock comes second to having a great race day experience. I won’t let a time define me or the training cycle. It’s great feedback sure, but it doesn’t tell you the whole story. That doesn’t mean I don’t want to improve or that I wouldn’t love to get some of my old speed back, it’s just that I’m not willing to do that at the expense of my happiness and everything else in my life. If it happens, great, if it doesn’t, I’ll run on.

My big goal for Tokyo Marathon was to run a BQ. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t think I had that in the bag heading in to the race. I felt stronger and more fit than I had in years. It was apparent though early on in the race that it was going to be a tough day for me to run a Boston Qualifying time. Not because of the weather, though it was raining the entire time and roughly 41 degrees but because of how crowded the race course was. I decide I could stress the entire time and weave in and out of people or I could enjoy the experience, pushing when there was open space and attempting to fall in to a rhythm with the crowd when their wasn’t. Around mile 16 I miss calculated how fast I was running and believed that a BQ was far out of my reach – it wasn’t. I stopped at a bathroom and lost around a minute, which was no big deal when I thought my BQ had slipped away, but in hindsight bummed me out for a minute or two. I lost my drive for a bit in the early 20’s but wanted to finish feeling strong so I gave it all I had at the end – running an 8:18 in mile 25, an 8:14 for mile 26 and a 7:56 avg for the last .7 or so. My finish time was around 4 minutes shy of a BQ. Four minutes sounds like a lot when you look at it in minutes but when you break it down to seconds per mile, it’s not. While I would have loved to have qualified again it gave me a much needed confidence boost that if I can run that fast in an international race after having traveled alone, I can run faster on a good day at a local race OR on one of the fastest marathon courses in the world – Berlin!

I’m feeling really motivated right now, so rather than coach myself the way I did leading up to Tokyo I’ve decided I’m going to mostly follow a plan from someone else. I’m still going to coach myself just going to rely more heavily on a plan from one of the many running books I own. I am hoping this will make me accountable to not just running miles the way I want to run them but to also do the workouts I need to do to shave those 4 minutes off my recent marathon time.

Perspective is a crazy thing. When I first started running a BQ seemed like a pipe dream. I improved and dropped my marathon time down to a 3:36 qualifying for Boston for the first time 6 months after Miles was born. 3:36 was a crazy wild, super-fast-for-me time, at the time. Then I got faster and faster. Suddenly a BQ didn’t seem all that hard anymore and I ran them without even trying. After a somewhat forced slow down – that I talked about in this instagram post – BQ’s no longer felt easy to me – in fact they felt more like a pipe dream again. I don’t regret what I went through during my “slow down” – it made me a better person and I’d venture to argue better runner. I no longer define myself by a time but that doesn’t mean times aren’t still cool and fun to chase, just that I don’t think they are the be all end all that as runners we often make them.

So that’s what I’ll be doing this summer, chasing my pipe dream of running a BQ. The time I need is faster than what it was when I first started running, so even though I “only” need to be 4 minutes faster than Tokyo, I have my work cut out for me. It’s a good reminder that a BQ time is never easy and always something to be proud of.

Summers are logistically harder for me to train because my kids are home during the day. I am however going to approach training in the exact same way I did last summer and run whenever I can and try not to complain about it. I’ll adapt and create a way to train hard. I love summer and wouldn’t wish this time away with my kids for anything, so I’ll make it work somehow!

We are heading to the beach in a couple of weeks for some much loved family time and then early July is when the mileage and workouts will pick up. Berlin is in September so I’m going to have to start my really long runs sooner than I typically do for an October or November race, but I feel up to the challenge.

I trained for my last race wearing the Under Armour HOVR Infinite and those will again be one of my go-to pairs of running shoes for this race. As many of you have noticed on instagram, I often rotate shoes. I credit this to helping me stay injury free, but will only do the bulk of my training in a shoe that I truly love. I don’t have time to train in shoes I don’t like. If you don’t like a shoe, your training won’t be enjoyable. If it’s not enjoyable, it’s hard to stay motivated and if it’s hard to stay motivated it’s hard not to question why you are doing this?

I used to ask myself “why am I even doing this?” often – both in training and during races, now that feeling pops up maybe once or twice a year. It usually means I just need a day or two break. I no longer during races tell myself – ”you don’t ever have to do this again.” Instead I think to myself how cool is it that your body allows you to {and enjoys} run 26.2 miles multiple times a year!?

The Under Armour HOVR Infinite are gender specific, meaning that the women’s shoe isn’t just the sized down version of the men’s shoe – it’s designed with a woman’s biomechanical needs in mind. I like that I forget I’m wearing them while I’m running. I find the worst running shoes to be the ones that you think about while running. In my opinion a running shoe should feel like an extension of your body. Something that allows you to run comfortably for miles on end and feels just as good at the end of a 20 mile run as it did in the beginning.

Once I decided on what training plan I’m going to use I’ll share what it is in case you want to follow along and use it, as well!

One comment

  1. I don’t have kids but I have a similar goal with my fall full. I’m going to train when I can…I don’t love grinding long runs in the humidity so I’m going to do less.

    I agree about shoes feeling like an extension of your body. You shouldn’t feel like they are there.

    Anyway, looking forward to seeing how Berlin goes!

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