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Tokyo Marathon Training – Halfway There!

I’ve now completed 9 of the 18 weeks of my marathon training program–I’m halfway there! I’ve been breaking down each week of training, so you know exactly how much I’m running, and sometimes have an idea about my physical, mental, and emotional state, as well as how many near bathroom emergencies I’ve experienced. Now, I want to take a minute to reflect on the past 9 weeks and how things are going:

  1. Physically Over the past month, my mileage has increased…and remained high. During past marathon training, I managed two 40+ mile weeks per training cycle, but they were not consecutive. Now, every week is 40+ miles, and I feel surprisingly good. I wake up a bit sore or stiff every morning, but not in pain. I’ve had a few tweaks–there were two times when the front of my shins hurt, and I thought that I was getting shin splints. Then, this past week my right shoe was laced too tightly and I felt pain on the top of my foot. I loosened my shoelace, iced my leg/foot, and the next day it felt fine. There were also a few times when my right IT band made its presence known a bit. This has been my problem area in the past–whenever I’d up my mileage, my right IT band would not be happy. I’m going to credit spin and yoga for helping keep me injury-free. For one–yoga means I’m actually stretching! And spin classes require me to use my leg muscles differently than when I run. Both of these are very helpful. Not only am I staying injury-free, but…

  2. Mentally Remaining injury-free means that I am freaking out significantly less about running 26.2 miles on March 1, 2020. Because while my time goal is A 4:15 B sub-4:31/run a PR, the ultimate goals are to finish under the cut-off time and have an amazing experience. There are only so many things that I can control about race day…mainly, my body’s condition when I roll up to the start line. The healthier I am physically, the healthier I will be, mentally. I’d like to stress that I do not enjoy every single run I complete, and there have been a few internal hissy fits. While I don’t always feel better after a run, I feel mentally stronger…or, first I feel exhausted, and then eventually I feel mentally stronger. I will never be the fastest runner out there, but one thing I really pride myself on is my mental game. I know with 100% certainty that when the going gets tough, I can stick it out. This has been extremely helpful in my day-to-day life in London, because although I don’t think I’m miserable, I do not want to be here, and I feel lonely a lot of the time. Marathon training gives me a goal to focus on and work towards while I’m in London…and after I return to Israel, I’ll only have two weeks before I fly to Tokyo! I’d also like to note that so far, my long runs have gone well! They are very evenly-paced and I feel physically and mentally strong throughout. What’s more, I recently noticed a shift where I no longer dread/am intimidated by a 10 mile run. I also have returned to running frequently enough that I know approximately how long my easy-paced runs will take (around 10:00min/mi). A good sign!

  3. Effort in training Not every run is supposed to be at hard effort…and I am succeeding in that! I made sure to give my speed workouts my all and really push the pace. I run my easy runs at easy pace, and my long runs at a controlled, steady pace…where I feel like a metronome–locked into a set pace, that I can keep running forever.

  4. Room for improvement The one area where I need improvement is my tempo runs. I’ve taken to doing these runs on Tuesdays…where I definitely get in the distance (and then some) at an acceptable pace…but it’s split across two runs. My goal here on out is to not do these runs on Tuesdays (when I attend We Are Runners workouts), and instead complete the run all at once. I still have a mental block about long runs and need to psych myself up for them. And that’s okay! But completing that 10-12mi run all at once will make me much better prepared for the marathon. Also I should probably stop post-run fueling with junk food. This probably won’t improve much…what can I say, I love salt and vinegar Pringles! But…at least I’m aware of it?

  5. Teamwork…or not I miss running as part of a team, and to be honest, I’m a little surprised that solo training hasn’t driven me bonkers yet. I’ve just tried to focus on each individual day, and schedule my runs according to what’s going on in my life/the weather/etc. By taking my training one day at a time and being flexible with my schedule, I believe that I am setting myself up for success, and I really hope this is evident on March 1!

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