Peak Weeks of Eugene Training + A Reevaluation of Goals

The peak weeks are finally over and I'm about to enter my taper. It's been a HUGE challenge to push through these last couple weeks and I'm excited to say goodbye to them. I frequently have athletes ask me to up their mileage (bc number and comparison thanks to social media) and I'm no different. But why? I asked my coach to get me to 70 miles at my peak this cycle. Previous cycles I'd held some pretty decent 65 mile weeks, so what was 5 more miles added to the bunch? The real question for me should've been, you just had 2 great training cycles - can you handle more miles and do you want too?

Maybe last cycle or during Boston's cycle in early 2016, 70+ mile weeks would have been fine, but the reality is, my life is way busier now than it ever has been because I'm essentially working a full time gig and a part time gig with my coaching. That leaves so little time for the hours you need for the actual running part of training and the essential things you need to do (think strength, stretching, foam rolling, etc) to be a better runner while you're loading on those miles. I fought through 3 weeks of high mileage, but I got in maybe 2 strength sessions and zero foam rolling or self-care.

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Clearly, I'm not quitting this far into my training cycle even if I don't feel ready to go after my initial time goal. The race is planned and travel is booked. I may not be confident in my finish time, but I am PREPARED to run a marathon in a little less than 3 weeks. This cycle has really changed my mentality of "what's next" for me, which is really a point I get to in every cycle. But this time it feels different because I feel like I will not survive another training cycle unless I make some changes. As I shared in a previous post about my goals for 2018, I want to run a sub 3 hour marathon this year. But it's hard to tackle big goals when they conflict with each other. My other huge goal is to take my coaching full time. That means bringing on a lot more athletes and dedicating more time to them and their goals to create a successful business. That means less time for me (and training for my goals) because technically, I haven't hit a point to go full time and still NEED to show up to my full time day job. The marathon is not going anywhere, so maybe I need to readjust and chase that sub 3 goal in 2019.

This is LIFE. And it has seasons. I see this a lot in coaching where athletes come to me with big ideas and goals. I'm a DREAMER and I LOVE this. I want to be that person who supports you and the difficult and challenging running goals you have. More than anything, I want you to succeed! But, the reality is as a coach, I can also be a dream taker. I have to tell you sometimes, you can't do that because it's not safe or healthy, you're going to get hurt, there isn't enough time to train for that race, maybe it is not your season for this distance. Sometimes, your running goals don't fit with the season of life you're in. WHY would you want to run a marathon under prepared? Sometimes things happen - you get sick, you can only run 2 days/week, your job is extremely demanding. What's wrong with dedicating a season of your life to the 5K, which requires more intense workouts, but less miles than a marathon? There's a lot of glory surrounding the MARATHON. It's hard and brutal and rips you to shreds mentally and physically - and that's what it does when you are well prepared for it. Imagine what it does to your soul and your love of running when you aren't prepared. 

While I'm prepared and I've got a couple of my highest mileage weeks ever under my belt, I'm nervous and exhausted in a way I've never felt before and I feel like it's time for me to be my own dream taker. I'm still staying positive for Eugene that the taper will renew my spirit and a 3:05-3:10 will be mine. I just know I can't continue down this path with this distance because it just isn't healthy for me right now. And that has to be okay because this is the season I'm in. I haven't made any decisions yet, and I also realize I'm at the point in marathon training where I'm saying a lot of bullshit, so we'll see what actually manifests over the next few months.

J