You read that right. 6 marathons in 23 months. The moment I stepped across the finish line in Tokyo- my thoughts were- GOOD GOD, I'm glad that's over & also- I'm TIRED. Not just tired from this marathon, but tired from everything marathon. I need a break.
On further evaluation on where my thoughts & feelings on the marathon were, I thought back to how many marathons I had done since I had taken a year off dealing with my stomach/health issues. I've done 6. In less than 2 years. I think thinking of it in concrete terms with real numbers like that made me realize how INSANE that was. Just too much for one little body. And the fact that 3 of them have been pretty rough- means that emotionally/mentally it's taken an even greater toll. Kinda like being in the ring & taking punch after punch. Only so many knockouts before you're like- hey, ya know what- I need a quick second.
So that's what I'm gonna do. Take that quick second- from the marathon. Not from running. ;-) I'm always thinking in terms of marathon training, and when is my next race, and planning my life around these huge events so I already had Chicago Marathon this October on my race calendar. But you know what, I don't think that's such a great idea right now. For whatever reason, I've been having a rough season and I think my body & mind would like a mini-break from early morning 20 milers & from marathon pressure. Don't get me wrong. I LOVE THE MARATHON. It's the best & worst thing to happen to me. Ha. There is something so magical when it all goes right & something so cruel when things go wrong that make it very addictive for me. It is this elusive crazy goal race that takes everything you have mind, body & spirit to really succeed- and that is so appealing (evidently a little too appealing to me). But in order to give the marathon the best of me (and not the most tired of me), I need a break to come back fresh. To not remember how truly long that race is. (Will any break be long enough to forget how long a marathon really is??!)
I think deciding to opt out of a fall marathon (a tough decision that I have already second guessed like 30 times) and just focusing on half marathons for the remainder of the year actually makes me REALLY excited to get back to running and be relieved of the full marathon pressure for some time. I feel like halves are so much more controlled and there is a lot less that can go wrong in a half. With marathons, anything that goes wrong is cumulative- it all builds on each other in a tragic comedy type of way. Oh your stomach is refusing to cooperate at mile 16 of Berlin- you're not just dealing with major stomach pain- now you've affected your ability to fuel & hydrate for the remainder of the race because who wants to play the "can I keep this down?!" game with 10 miles left of a race. Spoiler alert: you usually lose. Haha. The cumulative craziness of a marathon. ;-)
There are some pro's & coaches out there who actually recommend that you start at shorter distances and eventually work your way up to the marathon. That it's not THE best idea to jump straight into the marathon. You know, I started running and then 2 months later ran LA Marathon and have pretty much been on the marathon track since. I've never done a half as a goal race. I used all the other distances as a means to a (marathon) end. I'm gonna switch things up for a bit- and I'm gonna focus on the shorter distances for awhile. Let my brain take a break from the stress/pressure of the marathon. Let my body get some time to recover and recup from the stresses of the distance.
I'm actually really pumped about this. I haven't ever done half marathon specific training - or ever tapered for a half (all of my half PR's are with heavy mileage with a 20 miler done the week before)- so definitely excited to just change things up for a bit. I'm looking forward to hitting up some 5k's and 10k's in the lead up to start getting me into half racing shape.
Since Tokyo Marathon (2/28), I did a full week off, the second week post-race I ran twice (a grand total of 7 miles for the week ;-) and this week (3rd week out), I did 30 miles. I'll probably go to track and probably get a tempo in this week. Or not. I'm willing to play it by ear. But I'm really happy to be getting back after it.
To shorter distances & longer days- things that make my heart really happy right now! Go out & get in a great run today.