I had a different view for this last marathon. It was not one of participant but one of coach and supporter. It was a view that I enjoyed too.
All throughout her pregnancy with Marshall, Lindsey talked about how bad she wanted to race again and that she wanted me to put the plan together for her to do that…I happily agreed.
Prior to that, Lindsey always put together her own plans…and she was good at it with multiple BQ’s to show. There is something to be said for having someone else do all the planning, worrying, analyzing, tweaking, prep work, etc. It frees the athlete to just focus on running. SHAMELESS PLUG: Did you know we can coach you to?
Here are my thoughts on Lindsey’s training, race, and the future for her running.
Entering the Shamrock marathon training cycle, by the time race rolled around, it was going to be over two years since Lindsey had competitively raced a marathon. With some speculation and educated guess work, we jointly decided on a goal: break 3:15 with a stretch goal of 3:10. Based on what I knew of Lindsey and her running both of these were realistic and attainable.
I put together her most aggressive training plan to date, both in terms of total mileage and the quality of runs she was doing. With this training cycle the shift focused from logging miles with one weekly tempo/speed session to doing that plus marathon paced long runs, fast finish long runs, progression paced long runs…you get the idea. I am firm believer that if you want to truly get a break through and make progress in your marathon running…the long run has to be ran at pace more frequently. Those runs train your mind and body to actually become efficient at that speed.
Not all of Lindsey’s long runs were done with marathon pace work…we wanted to be careful to avoid burnout and over training but I would say 12 out of the 16 long runs had at least some component of MPR in them.
Lindsey executed her training plan beautifully. She stayed in the moment focusing on the work that needed to be done on any particular day or during a micro cycle. While at the same time, was aware enough to know that Shamrock was the long term goal so a bad workout here or there was not going to mean much. It is that constant training stress, recovery, and adaption over the life of a training cycle that are going to make the difference…not some mythical workout or a bad run.
From my standpoint, this is where I like to believe that I offered a lot of my benefit: the mind. Without the right mind set and outlook the best training plan and race prep can be wasted on a bad mindset. With proper training and preparation, the body achieves what the mind believes.
The last big change that we made to Lindsey’s training was to develop a race plan. If Lindsey is honest with you and herself, she would admit that in prior races she did not have the best race day planning. A lot of it was run on feel…often accelerating too early in the race only to struggle home. Now there is a lot to be said for knowing your body well enough to feel your way through a race but the marathon is such a long race that if you do not have a proper plan of attack it will chew you up and spit you out the other side. To succeed in the marathon, is to plan how to race it.
When I look back at all of this, Lindsey was ready to race and I could not be more proud of the dedication and spirit she showed in getting herself ready for this marathon. There was no way she could fail.
I will leave the majority of the race review to the racer, but I will say a couple of things.
All race plans need to be adjusted depending on race circumstances and conditions and be comfortable rolling with the punches.
This was particularly true for Lindsey on race day. Going into the race, we knew most likely that Virginia Beach was going to have some wind: 1) because of how the course is designed and 2) it is on the freaking ocean.
Lindsey did a great job adjusting to the conditions of the day, working with the wind when it was in her favor and trying to conserve energy when it made sense. She executed a great race on a tough day to race in my opinion. That wind was brutal!
She raced to her full potential on race day and I could not be more happy and proud of her first, and foremost, as a husband, but secondly as a coach. We laid out a plan together, developed a strategy, and she executed it like a BOSS!
The stretch goal of 3:10 was missed and given the right conditions, I have no doubt she would have crushed it…but that’s why you race. You never know what you are going to encounter. She raced to her potential and that’s all I can ask for.
With any big moment or goal in life, once you reach it I think there is a tendency to kind of fall into a funk or going striving after your next goal right away. Sometimes I think that is fine but I would like Lindsey to take a step back and enjoy this marathon PR and sit on it for a while. Enjoy it. You earned it!
In the short term, Lindsey and I have been discussing shifting the focus to shorter distances and a triathlon or two. This will provide a nice break from marathon training and something fresh to focus on so that when she returns to the marathon it will be fun and something to look forward to.
In my opinion, to properly train, prepare, and race a marathon to your full potential you have two…maybe three you in a year. They are hard. They take a lot out of you. Enjoy the break and find something else to focus on.
My next step is to slowly convince Lindsey she can break 3:00…only time will tell. (She’ll do it!)
Have you raced recently? What distance? How did it go? What did you do with your downtime afterward?