I am still floating around with a post-marathon glow on my face. While the rest of my life has resumed its regular schedule, I’m stuck replaying the race in my head. I just can’t stop thinking about it. 3:14:54. Did I really do that? I did! I did!
Someone asked me in the office how did I make such a gigantic improvement in my marathon time. I kind of wondered that myself. So here’s the best I could come up with: Six tips that made CIM successful for me.
1. I *actually* tapered.
And no, it was not a six-day taper, y’all. I spent the last 2.5 weeks dramatically cutting my mileage. I loathed it. I felt bloated and short-tempered, but I can’t deny it. The rest helped.
2. I thought like a 7:20 min/mile runner.
Call it the “fake it ’til ya make it” method of training. During my runs I’d often wonder what a “fast” runner would look like and what I might look like if I were a fast runner. Obviously, there’s probably more to training than imagining yourself running your goal time, but I think it helped.
3. I created a 3:15 = 7:28 min/mile Post-It Note.
And I stuck it on my computer. Very high-tech, I know. When I first looked up the min/mile I would need to run to finish at 3:15 I suffered severe sticker shock. The idea of 7:28/mile seemed a teeny tiny bit fast. Maybe looking at it 8 hours a day for a few weeks made it seem not so crazy.
4. I went to track practice.-
Yeah, who knew! Those things really work.
5. I said nice things to my legs
Before long runs. After long runs. Even in the shower. “Legs,” I said, “You’ve got a big race ahead of you, but I think you’re going to be great. So just do what you do best.” Then I took them for a massage. I’m pretty sure they liked that.
6. I bought a new pair of running shoes three weeks out.
As if I needed an excuse to buy a pair of running shoes, but I hate that flat feeling – definitely not helpful when you’re trying to feel like a gazelle. So I splurged on a pair of running shoes specifically for this marathon. Then I wore them on several long runs to break them in. Good plan, yo!
And finally… somewhere along the road, running became really fun. No, OK… it’s not like I was filled with glee as I huffed and puffed my way up a gigantic hill at 5 AM. And I do have to constantly battle against my inherently lazy nature, but I guess, I don’t know… I found that I like running more than I did and that feeling myself improve over the last months is ridiculously addictive.
It also doesn’t hurt to have wonderful and inspiring runner friends, runner bloggers and non-runner friends. Thanks for everybody’s kind words, encouragement and support!