Lincoln Marathon Training, Week 6: Is It Time to Give Up on my 3:10 Dream?

Am I the only person in the U.S. who doesn’t care about the Super Bowl? I have it on right now, but mostly just so I’ll have an idea of when J will be home. I don’t even care about the commercials anymore, since a bunch were released early and the rest will be on the interwebs, so I can watch them anytime if I want to. Instead, I’ll blog about my training week and the mental gymnastics I’ve been doing regarding this race. Aren’t you excited?

Monday: 

AM: 9 miles with 5 at tempo. I like doing tempo runs on the treadmill, because then I have to hold that pace, and I don’t go out too fast like I do in every outdoor tempo run. And race.

PM: 45 minutes of strength training at the gym. Apparently my strategy of avoiding the gym for the first couple of weeks of January worked; I heard some of the “regulars” talking about how all the resolutioners were gone.

Tuesday: 

14 miles. I left work a smidge earlier than usual and managed to get in 5 outside miles in the beautiful weather before the sun went down and forced me onto the treadmill. I’ve missed running into the sunset, and I’m SO GLAD the days are finally getting longer.

Stopping to wait for a train makes for a good sunset photo op.
Stopping to wait for a train makes for a good sunset photo op.

I hopped off the treadmill and did a 90-second wall sit for the #NoExcuses Sweat Pink challenge. Know what’s painful? Doing a 90-second wall sit after running 14 miles.
photo 1 (20)

Wednesday:

I’ve found myself looking forward to Wednesdays during this training cycle, as they’re recovery days. Five slow, easy miles followed by core work and stretching. I took a picture to prove that I was stretching, since I hardly ever do it. But I’m really trying to make it a priority this cycle.
photo 2 (20)

Thursday: 

AM: 45 minutes strength training. Getting to the gym in the mornings is tough, but it’s so much quieter. Plus, I didn’t think I’d have time to get in my whole run before work.

PM: 12 miles. I had planned a run like Tuesday’s — outside until it got dark, then inside — but some students borrowed my classroom Chromebooks and then weren’t where they said they’d be, so I lost a chunk of time searching for them and it was dark by the time i got home and changed. Darn kids.

Friday: 

Wednesday’s twin: 5 recovery miles, core, stretching

Saturday: 

18 miles. I hated almost every step of this run. If I’m being perfectly honest, I should admit that I went into it with a bad attitude. The weather was cold and gloomy, and I was tired, and my throat was scratchy, and I was overall being a big baby. Things did not improve when I finished the first eight miles and was supposed to run the final 10 at goal pace. I could not hold my goal pace to save my life. Goal pace is 7:15; I was struggling to keep it sub-8. This went on for the entire run. My legs were tired, but that’s the point of these runs after several days of higher mileage: the fast part is supposed to feel like the last 10 miles of a marathon, not the first. But that almost makes it more frustrating that I couldn’t hold the pace.

Recycled picture from the Fall Classic, where I ran yet another 3:13.
Recycled picture from the Fall Classic, where I ran yet another 3:13.

If you’ve followed me for long, you know that goal pace runs are always hard for me. I almost always struggle to hold goal pace.  My goal for my last two marathons has been to run a 3:10 or better. Both times, I’ve run 3:13s, making a total of three 3:13 marathons. I’m wondering if it’s time to give up on the 3:10 dream. I don’t want to be a quitter, but at what point is it not quitting so much as admitting your goal is too lofty? I’m training as hard as I can — I can’t fit in anymore mileage and still, you know, have a job and friends and a happy husband.

So what do I do? Part of me thinks I have a 3:10 in me –I would’ve had it at the Fall Classic had my digestive system not rebelled. But Saturday’s run was hugely discouraging. If I can’t even hold 7:15 pace for 10 miles, how can I expect to hold it for 26.2?

Okay, rant over. But I’d appreciate any advice and your honest opinions on whether or not 3:10 is unrealistic.

Sunday

45 minutes of yoga. I tried a new-to-me video on YouTube, which was a little more challenging than my go-to routines via the Yoga Studio app. It was tough but good for me, I think.

Totals: 63 miles, about 2:45 strength/stretch.

This coming week is a cutback week (all the way back to 55 miles…). I’m looking forward to it.

Do you think I can run a 3:10?

What seemingly impossible goals have you reached? Tell me some inspiring stories, please!

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19 thoughts on “Lincoln Marathon Training, Week 6: Is It Time to Give Up on my 3:10 Dream?”

  1. You know what? I’ve found that some weeks things just don’t come together….and sometimes that happens a few weeks in a row. But that doesn’t meant you’re not capable of what you set out for. It means that life and work and (intentionally) tired legs are making it hard. You’ve already been putting all the hard work for this one, it would be a shame to call it before even running. Give it your all as if it is going to be the last time you try this on race day, and see what you can pull out. And hopefully you’ll have one of those runs that are just absolutely incredible and feel so easy and light and wonderful and everything will just turn around!

    And then once you kill this marathon with a sub-3:10, come run trail ultras with me ;).

  2. two thoughts:
    a) heck no, you’re not the only one who doesn’t care about the superbowl. I’m in Germany and my German dormmates knew more about the thing than I did.
    b) I would not let one long run this early in your cycle determine how you’ll be able to run on race day. You’ve got a huge work and run load and you’re bound to not always have a good day on the day that you want to run long. You seem to be doing a good job making sure that you have enough easy days of running. Make sure they really are easy!
    That being said, I think three minutes is reasonable to ask for a marathon PR. Have you tried doing any marathon predictor workouts, just to give you another idea? You could do it right after the down week of running…

  3. You CAN and WILL run a 3:10 marathon! Do NOT give up on your dream!!!!! When I was training for my marathon last year, I had lots of runs where I thought I would never even finish the marathon (which I technically didn’t due to IT issues!). I ran some small local races and my confidence soared because I was in the midst of the running community! You will be able to do it! You are a rock star! Running 12+ miles during the week, after your job? SUPER STAR!!!! You got this.

    I do have a question though….is it “normal” to run 14 miles, 12 miles, and 18 miles all in one week? To me that seems very high for training. I know you have a ton of experience with running a marathon, so maybe it just seems high to me because I’m a newbie…?

  4. I think it’s important to remember that with marathons (and really with any run), there is a LOT of luck involved. There are so many factors that you can’t control, so failing to meet your goal by just three minutes could mean that you were trained perfectly but that it just wasn’t your day. Three minutes is a pretty small margin and could be accounted for by one big event (a bathroom stop) or a lot of little ones (a headwind that slowed you down 10 seconds per mile for half the course plus some hills on another few miles to account for 60 more seconds). I know it might sound crazy, but I think the solution is to run more races to give yourself a better chance of succeeding and minimize the luck factor.

  5. I don’t think you should give up on your dream. I remember your last 3:13 and your digestive issues… I agree, you prob would have done it that day!

    You say you can run anymore miles in the week… One thing I notice when I read your training- you run A LOT. I mean, you are running mileage I was running at the peak of my training for my 50 miler. I know everyone is different, and while a 55 mile cut back week may work for you, have you ever tried giving your legs more recovery time? It may make it easier to hit your paces.

    1. I’ve thought about more recovery time, but the point of this plan is to not run on recovered legs. It’s supposed to prepare you for the last part of the race… which is where I always tend to slow down. I think it’s mental as much as physical.

  6. You are going to run a 3:10 because you want it badly! I know you are an awesome runner and eventually, you will make your goal. Your legs are exhausted right now.

    Also, I could not care less about the Super Bowl. I just like chicken wings.

  7. I say that if you want that 3:10 goal badly enough, you will make it happen. You are absolutely capable of achieving that goal. I never ever EVER thought I would run a sub 3:30 marathon and then somehow managed to do two back-to-back this past year. It was all about switching up my training and believing that I had it in me. I think you have it in you. Pick a course that caters to you and go for it!!!

  8. I don’t know the first thing about running. I will run if something is chasing me and that is about it. What I do know, is that you aren’t a bookmark (ha ha, get it?) I believe that you can do it. You inspire me all the time. I can’t give you any advice other than the guy from Waterboy played by Rob Schneider, “YOU CAN DO IT!”

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