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Marathon non-training

I probably should be blogging today about the amazing Memorial Day weekend we had as a family. Playground with friends, bike ride, first Farmer's Market of the summer, grilling steaks, playdate at the zoo with one of my son's classmates, trip to the nature center where we saw a fox, coyote, owl, hawk, drinks on the patio with neighbors. How the bunnies are sneaking into our side yard and eating my lettuce. 4 gorgeous days of sunshine.

Or maybe I should be talking, instead, about being alone with the kids next week again. Or our trip to Minnesota we're excited about (50 mile bike ride and my first Twins game). But I don't feel like posting about any of it today.

Nope.

Today is about running. Which I've been doing very little of lately--I've been entirely bike focused. But--oddly...wrongly?--I'm fairly confident in my usual methods and preparation. Or, at least, I know what works for me so I'm not scrambling around searching for a training plan. In a month, I just start following my normal routine. It works. It's like an old shoe by now. I can push myself harder if I want to be better. But the routine is always there. Tried and true. I never understand the athletes constantly tinkering with new coaches, new gear, new methods. Did you set a personal best? Yes? Lather, rinse, repeat. Do it again.

The devil is in the details, of course. I have to work in--I think, still not signed up--a sprint triathlon ramp-up towards early August. My cycling base and what little running I've been doing are enough to put me comfortably into my 16 week cycle for the marathon. The main concern is going to be working in swimming these first few weeks.  But my performance in the triathlon is not my primary goal. It's my first sprint so nothing to worry about comparing it to. No question in my mind I can finish since I've already done the next distance up.

Then it gets trickier.

Columbus is a fairly flat, uncrowded, well-supported race. Which I could probably produce a personal best on. Time will tell. That's sort of where I'm at a month out. The questions for me involve how many days of cross training on the bike I keep. Am I staying active with the Cycle Club? Riding with the Tri Club? There's my obvious weekend long run. But then as far as my personal training schedule goes, I've never been a fan of track work--I see no need for the marathon. My faster training is usually race-paced or slightly faster. It's a half mile of this pace then a half mile of that pace.

It's like having a puzzle and knowing all the pieces are there, but trying to put it together. Start with the corners? Work on pieces of the same color? I know my nutrition plan works. I know about how many miles per week and how many rest days I need to hit my 26.2. I know how much of my race day performance revolves around execution of taper, fueling, getting my race morning and first few miles right, etc..

So in the back of my head for about the next 20 weeks is going to be trying to decide what my goal number is. Trying to gauge where my training is at, compare it to past race training, and secretly in my heart-of-hearts what I'm capable of come October.

Sitting here a month out from the start of my training plan I have two numbers in my head...one is what I think I can run if I have a fantastic summer and push myself a bit. The second is what I think I probably will run if I just "get everything right." I'll let you know which number ends up being closer to reality.


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