What’s next? That always seems to be the big question you get from people after you finish the race you have been training for. They always want to know what you have planned and how you are going to get there.
First and foremost, I want to find the fun in this sport for me again. I lost a lot of fun while I wasn’t running last year and I want to get some of that back. Just being able to go out and enjoy each run to its fullest. This last training cycle was awful for that. I struggled. I ran no further than 8.61 miles due to just mentally not being in the game. Physically I am so much more capable! But without my head in it, I won’t let myself physically show it! I feel a lot of this was due to the pressure of me making my own plan, holding myself accountable, and not having anyone else really in the know as to what I was doing.
What does this all mean? First, I am in the process of starting to work with a coach. Someone that can push me and help me find the best runner in me. Help hold me accountable and make sure I have a plan that will work for me!! He will be including strength training that I so desperately need and has already been great at communicating about how he does things and what kind of runner I am. Second, I am going to run a few small races while training. Nothing major just a 5k here or 10k there but they are ones that mean a lot to me and it always gives me a nice boost of confidence to know I can perform well at these distances. I am hoping when I run these I also improve enough to where I can make sure my goals for my next big race are realistic. I tend to doubt what I am capable of a lot. I am also going to be pacing a half marathon in July and doing a OCR in June but only for fun. Nothing that will be too hard or strenuous. These last two are specifically something I am doing so I can just have a day with friends and experience the races in a different way (non-competitively).
Now that I have the fun covered the hard work needs to come forward! I have become much better at pushing myself when I am being held accountable. BUT, I do tend to underestimate what I can do. For example, just a couple of weeks ago I had to run mile repeats. I ran them at 8:13 pace and they “felt hard“, in reality they were hard I just wasn’t mentally thinking I could do that for more than one mile. <–This was on a Tuesday. That Saturday, I ran my last 5k. I averaged 8/min miles and didn’t feel like I was pushing. So am I capable of more? Yes! I just need to believe in myself a little bit more and know that I can do hard things!!!! It is ok to run and get tired! It is supposed to be hard! But if I can run a sub-2 half on half ass training, what am I capable of if I actually do things to my full potential???
So my next goal race….The Air Force Marathon on September 17th. I have looked at this course more times that I should have already and I know what to look for. I know where the hills are, what kind of weather it usually has and how much of it is considered “boring”. My training cycle will be starting soon and I am going to run the hell out of it! I am done with excuses, done with not pushing myself and done with letting myself mentally lose! 🙂