Coaches Corner: The Roller Coaster of the Marathon Season

by Mat Nark

Nark1MarchUSE.jpgEach year I work with beginner to veteran marathoners as they enter into their next marathon season. Whether in search of a Boston qualifier, a PR, or to just finish, it's going to be a long grind. It takes patience, consistency, and the ability to adapt to the unforeseen circumstances that will occur. Programs will last anywhere from twelve to eighteen weeks, depending on experience and the goals of the athlete.  In the northeast you can settle for the fact that you will be building your base in the heat of summer or in the ice and snow of winter. The fact remains that you will face your share of adversity in all of your marathon campaigns. Many of which you will have absolutely no control over and be forced to make the best of in order to conquer your marathon goals.

Each week you will spend between six and fifteen hours of your life grinding it out on the roads, trails, or treadmills. This doesn't account for prep time, fueling, refueling, strength, rehab, or recovery time.  The commitment here is real and it takes a special athlete to manage everything that life will throw in your way.  There is work, family, friends, sickness, injury, and the weather all to be accounted for. Then there are the completely unforeseen life tragedies that will come our way and leave us wondering if it's all worth it. Below is a collection of quotes on how the adversity of the marathon season has affected these prospective spring marathoners.

Nark2MarUSE.jpgDiane Harris: "I have faced the largest adversity that I've ever seen in this training block. Between my travel schedule and awful weather there have been moments that I've just wanted to give up completely.  But by keeping in contact with my coach to adjust workouts and having a super-strong running support system it has helped to keep me focused on the goal." #Bostonbound2018

Ariane Hendrix:  "I have to remember that one bad run, race, or injury does not determine the entire season.  We have had terrible fires out here in California this winter and many days where I just couldn't run outside. I have to remember to keep fighting because in the end it will all be worth it!"

Adrienne Ruscika: "I remind myself that comparing myself to others or even my past self when coming back from injury is completely unnecessary and detrimental to my current training. Everyone is different and every training cycle is going to be different. What matters is being smart, putting in the hard work, and working on mental toughness so that I can execute on race day."

Kim McGregor Law: "As I get older I have had to reevaluate some of my goals, and as a runner I have found that having a good plan, working smarter, listening to my body is the key.  I can still have big goals and patience will get me there!"

Christine Carbonetti: "Learning that not every run should be at medium to medium hard pace has been very beneficial in my training. This was especially true in my last training cycle for Philly. Keep the easy runs EASY so that you can perform and hit your paces on your hard days."

Jessica VanKirk: "Every season is completely different and I never know what to expect. This season has been particularly tough for me, but I’m trying to remember that I want to be a lifelong runner not a once in a lifetime runner.  I have to allow my body time to heal from injury and I will run again stronger and faster than before. My friend told me that I’ve encountered a few speed bumps, which led me on a detour.  I will make it to my original destination, it may just take a little longer than expected."

Mike Routhier:  "Just because you have been a runner for more than 20 plus years, doesn’t mean anything.  I’m glad that I finally decided to try something new and get the perspective of training through the guidance and support of someone else. This has been hard for me since I had always done my own training plans and have always been in absolute control."

Michelle Davis: "It seems impossible until it's done. It seems unthinkable until you find yourself doing it. ♥ marathon training"

Zach Hill: “Winter Marathon Training: Just... git... er... done!!!”

Mat Nark: McMillan Certified Run Coach, Kettlebell Expert, Over 20,000 hrs. of experience

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