"Now if you are going to win any battle you have to do one thing. You have to make the mind run the body. Never let the body tell the mind what to do. The body will always give up. It is always tired in the morning, noon, and night. But the body is never tired if the mind is not tired.”

- George S. Patton, U.S. Army General, 1912 Olympian

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Can a marathon ever sneek up on you? I've known for a month or so now that the Pocatello marathon is on September 3rd. My family has been making Labor Day plans around it, so it's not like I didn't know the date. But after hitting snooze a couple of times a few mornings ago and then asking/telling myself what day it was (I find myself doing this frequently) a light went off and for whatever reason it dawned on me that September 3rd was a mere 11 days away. I proceeded to have a good workout, a good 7 miles of hills, but I knew that my training was pretty much done at that point. I've since had a decent 8-miler on Thursday and a 9 mile final tune-up run this afternoon (in the blazing heat). There's still a few shorter runs that await me between now and next weekend but nothing of any consequence. I am what I am at this point and what I am is a runner who doesn't feel like he's put in as many miles my previous 7 marathon starts.

It's not that I've been lazy, I've just been doing other things. For many weeks I was devoting a lot of time to learning to swim. I also have been doing a fair amount of cycling since I bought a bike at the beginning of the month. My long Saturday runs the past few weeks consisted of a 12-miler followed by a 10k race, a solid 20-miler, a 5k as part of a sprint triathlon, 10 miles last weekend, when other commitments prevented anything longer and then the 9 miles today. My Tuesday/Thursday runs have been shorter than normal as well, usually in the 6-8 mile range rather than the 8-10 range. But they've been more focused -- a day devoted to speed work, a day of hills etc. The total mileage hasn't been too much less, but it feels like less. Like I said though, its too late to do anything about it now. I am what I am.

Maybe it will be a good thing though, the cross-training. There's an article out there currently, and a response from Amby Burfoot from Runner's World, about whether or not cross-training is effective or not. Personally I don't really care if it's helpful or not. Until a month or so I had never done any sort of cross-training. My time to exercise and train is limited and the time I did have I was going to spend running. After 25 solid months of this, though, I can tell that I've been approaching a bit of a burnout point, so the option to cycle or swim has been good for me. I do it for fun and for variety. It also allows me to get a bit more sleep, as I can go out for a quick, hard 7 mile ride in 20 minutes or so or spend 30 minutes in the pool -- much shorter than the hour minimum I feel like I need to run to really feel like I got a good workout in.

Will less miles, more focused training runs and more cross-training have a positive effect when the gun goes off next Saturday morning or will I be hating life during the 2nd half of the race? We'll see. Here's last year's Pocatello Marathon recap.

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