I can’t stop thinking about something I read from Hansons Marathon Method author Luke Humphrey on the Hansons coaching site. He said that when he had major breakthroughs in races, he wasn’t obsessed with his goal time. Here’s the full article (not sure if everyone can access this; I’m a paying member of the coaching site), and here’s the quote.
I never obsessed with running a certain time. I thought about it, for sure. However, I focused more on the process of training and learning to train at a new level much more than training for the certain pace. When I was all about the outcome, I put way too much pressure on myself. If I didn’t hit that pace I was a failure and all that work was for naught. In reality, the hard work we are doing will carry over if things don’t work out immediately. When I was truly proud of running a great race based on race plan execution, the times typically came with that. When I freaked out because a few splits were off in a workout, that carried over to the race and typically ended in extreme disappointment.
Interesting, right? When I wrote about my goals for this training cycle, I struggled a bit to explain how I was approaching goals this time. This quote captures where I’ve been in the past (feeling like a failure if I didn’t hit a time goal) and where I’d like to be. I’m motivated to do my best in training to help me improve as a runner, not just to hit a certain time.
But I think it’s hard to get to the place Humphrey describes. When I worked with Coach Melissa last year, she built up my confidence every single day. By the end of that training cycle, I had no doubt in my mind that I could hit my time goal. I struggle with lack of confidence, which cripples me on race day, so to go into my first marathon truly believing I could hit my goal was a huge mental win for me, no matter how my race turned out.
I want to be in that good mental place again going into this marathon. It will be harder because I don’t have a coach giving me daily motivation and encouragement over 18 weeks. I’ll have to do that myself this time. But how do I go about making myself believe I can hit a time goal without being obsessed over the time goal?
My plan is to focus on dedicating myself to training, working hard, and, on race day, running a great race. None of those are dependent on running a certain time. Doing those three things should result in hitting my goal time but, if not, I’ll still be proud of myself if I do my best in training and in the race.