by Dathan Ritzenhein | Sep 08, 2012 |
Now that I am back to full marathon training, I remember how tiring it can be! After having a month of lower volume and tons of speed work, my body forgot what it is like to slog out the big miles and grind through super long workouts and long runs. Thankfully, I really feel like I have hit my stride again and the last weeks have gone great!
After a brief visit in Michigan to see our families, we headed back up to Park City. The altitude is definitely important as a training tool, but it is also the training camp environment that helps me focus completely on training and the upcoming Chicago Marathon. Spending those first few weeks in Michigan was good for me because I was able to decompress from the Olympics and reflect on how far I had come in just one year, but by the time I left I was itching to get back to the monotonous routine.
So far, I have hit my workouts and I think that is because after coming off a whole summer of track, the speed feels easy when I am doing longer workouts. That has been a blessing for this marathon cycle; I never see the workouts as unattainable. Sometimes the distance seems staggering when you see 24 miles for a long run or 15 miles for a tempo run, but I get out and get it done, and have not had any workouts I haven’t been pleased with.
There have been some challenges of course with only having nine weeks between the Olympics and Chicago but the year of training behind me has given me a lot of confidence for the race. I have had my share of beatings from previous marathons so I have so much respect for the event. When I think of some athletes who seem to have mastered the marathon, the common denominator is that they respect the event and they know what they are capable of. I have that respect but I still don’t feel that I know what I can do. I do, however, believe I will be more prepared for this marathon than any other.
To get the most out of this short nine weeks I have had to really focus on hitting the workouts and extra long runs. One thing I had not done much in previous marathon training cycles is spend those extra miles on workout days and long runs, this time I have really emphasized those aspects. When I am out there for hours at a time, it not only gives me that time on my feet to physically prepare, but also helps me mentally to prepare for that inevitable moment in the marathon when it gets so hard that you crack or keep going.
The marathon has so many elements to prepare for. I think that is one reason I always want to come back for more. There is always something to change in your preparation and I am still trying to discover what I am capable of. I guess I just love the challenge.