There are times when we need to make our goals long-term, instead of something that merely quenches our thirst for short term satisfaction. I know that long-term goal setting is more difficult, but in the end it can be the right solution for us to achieve our goals. Training for marathon is a task I feel should be planned far in advance.
For example, I really wanted to run the Marine Corps Marathon this year, but decided not to. My experience in training for this particular marathon illustrates the types of events that require advance planning.
Planning for the unexpected
I injured my knee in 2010 and had a 15 month layoff from running before I had arthroscopic knee surgery in May 2011. At that time I had ballooned to around 200 pounds and was using a cane to help me get around. So I was having a tough time walking, much less running and had a very full plate as a Special Education teacher.
After the arthroscopic knee surgery, I decided to resign my teaching position and try retirement. I needed to lose a lot of weight to let the knee heal and, consequently, I didn’t really start running again until October 2011.
Since I reignited my training, I have lost 50 pounds, logged between 40 and 60 miles a week and regained long lost confidence.
However, when I attempted to increase my training this summer, to the higher mileage and faster paced training necessary, to run a sub 3:30 marathon, my body told me it wasn’t ready - yet.
Dealing with race day anxiety
I also needed to work on my race day anxiety issues, which caused me to give up racing for almost 25 years, because it had become too stressful to step-up to the starting line.
I have raced in several low-key races this year and a big test of my progress, with race day anxiety, will be when I travel to a much larger race later this month. I have definitely made great progress on this issue and am looking forward to racing a lot more over the next year, which is a huge change in attitude from before.
The key for me, in reducing this anxiety, has been focusing on consistency of my schedule.
Training smarter over time
It takes time to develop a mileage base, learn what equipment works for you, get to the weight you want to be at and develop the positive mind-set that you can and will complete your goal.
Therefore, I have used and am using 2012 to establish my baseline. During 2013 I plan to increase my training intensity and fine tune the running gear I will be using on October 27, 2013.
The reality is that this decision to have a two-year training plan, will help me prepare better and move forward towards successfully completing my goal.
Was I disappointed about delaying this goal? Absolutely, but I would have been more disappointed has I run the Marine Corps Marathon this year and fell well short of my time goal.
At times it might take a little longer to achieve our goals, but it definitely does not mean that we should give up on them.
How do you feel when you push a goal off into the future? We can have a discussion on different approaches to reducing any negative emotions associated with these decisions.
Editor's Note: Harold Shaw is a grandfather, retired US Coast Guard officer and a runner. He posts updates on his training for the 2013 Marine Corps Marathon every Tuesday at Real Health. He welcomes a lively conversation in the comments section.
How helpful did you find this post?