I didn’t really intend to go on another 2-hour treadmill run Friday, but the weather was crappier than expected and I didn’t want to risk falling on ice this close to the marathon. So I just went nice and slow, around a 12-minute-per-mile pace, logging 10 miles while watching “Iron Man 2.”
Then on Saturday I followed that up with a 5-mile indoor lap run, and that’s about it, really. The rest of this week I’m going to take it easy, just running enough to stay loose while I focus on mental preparation.
On both runs I tried focusing not on my intended duration or destination, but on what a small piece of the larger whole I was working on. It’s amazing what a difference it makes to say, “I’m just going to run the first 2 hours of the marathon” rather than, “I’m going to chain myself to this treadmill for 2 hours.” It went much more quickly than 2 previous efforts – perhaps because “Iron Man 2” has way more action than “The Great Gatsby” and better villains than “Iron Man 3.”
On past shorter lap runs I’ve sometimes struggled because I expected them to be so easy that I never got dialed in mentally. On Saturday, even as I counted off 40 laps from 1809 to 1849, I kept casting my mind forward. “It takes a while to get through the 19th century,” I told myself. “And then the 20th century will take even longer, but it gets more familiar the farther I go.”
One thing I DID NOT DO was dwell on how crappy I felt at times, and how it might feel to struggle at such an early point in Sunday’s race. Here’s what I came up with for that:
“The first 50 laps are for working the kinks out. Any struggles I have during that part of the race DO NOT MEAN I’m already tired and struggling – it just means I haven’t gotten loose yet.”
Sound plausible? That’s my story, and I’m sticking with it. (I hope!)