Portland Marathon Goal Check-in

Portland Marathon Goal Check-In

Thank you so much to everyone for all the encouraging comments on the blog and Instagram! I am so grateful for the support and kind words as I train for my first marathon.

I originally was going to post a workout today, but instead I decided to discuss more about how marathon training has been for me so far and where I feel I am in relation to my goals. I feel weird writing so much about myself, but I know that I also find it motivating and helpful when other bloggers and athletes share in detail about the ups and downs of their training. So, for today’s post, I want to do Portland Marathon goal check-in to talk about where my training is in relation to my goal, both mentally and physically.

As I’m said numerous times, I’m attempting to qualify for Boston at the Portland Marathon, which for my age means a 3:35:00 or faster marathon. So far, training seems to indicate that I’m on track. Training is no guarantee, as weather, how I’m feeling, how my stomach is behaving, and the course can make or break the race. Still, it’s comforting to see those paces in training and be hitting them while at the appropriate effort, since that means I didn’t set some wildly unachievable goal for where I’m at right now.

Marathon Long Run Tips

By no means is every run perfect though. I have experienced several easy runs where my legs are just heavy and even a 9:30 minute mile feels hard. I have some run where 90% of the time I’m convincing myself not to quit. These runs are often accompanied by doubts: what if running feels this hard on race day? What if my legs just can’t hold the pace on race day? Marathon training is challenging, both physically and mentally.

A BQ, of course, is my “A” goal. My “B” goal is to finish feeling strong and at a good pace. I am very goal-oriented, so I have to remind myself that this is only my first marathon and there is a high learning curve for that race. Still, I don’t want to let go of my goal in training just because it’s intimidating or talk myself out of it on race day just because things begin to hurt and get hard. 

I am well aware that the entire marathon could be worlds harder than I anticipate. Despite my best intentions and training, I could go out too fast, I could bonk at mile 21, I could be taunted by the thoughts of DNFing for the last 10K. It’s the marathon, and part of its allure is its difficulty. Part of the Hansons plan is that by running on tired legs, you will avoid hitting a wall on race day, so right now, I’m just trying to trust my training and not stress myself out about race day unknowns (easier said than done). 

Still, like I said with the Go! St. Louis Half where I missed my goal but still ran a PR, I’d rather set high goals and miss than never try at all. I tend to be hard on myself (no, seriously, just ask Ryan) and I’ve spent the last year worrying too much about if other people viewed my decision to leave academia and my career path there as a failure after all the time and effort invested by myself and others. Failure is what I make of it, not others, and for me, the failure here would be to get too scared to pursue a goal, not to miss the goal after giving it my all and have to try again.

Portland Marathon Goal Check-in

Achieving the mileage goal for each week has definitely boosted my confidence in my fitness and ability to run this marathon. A year ago, anything above 40 miles per week sounded unattainable to me. I spend several years running comfortably at 20-25 miles per week, so I think adapting to higher mileage was more about breaking a mental barrier than making huge gains in physical fitness. Now, I’m handling 50+ mile weeks well and am looking forward to extending my long runs more. 

I’m betting that I’ll finish the marathon in 3:32, or an 8:06min/mile average pace. My first 10K and my first half marathon were both at an 8:06min/mile average, so I think it would be just too coincidental if my first marathon was as well.

Questions of the Day:
Now it’s your turn: how are you doing on your goals for this year?
For runners who have BQ’ed: do you have any tips?

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16 Responses

  1. As I wrote about yesterday my goals for this year are going pretty well. I shared my marathon goals today, which aren’t what I had intended for the year but I think are still challenging but obtainable. Glad to hear your training is on track so far!

  2. I just started reading and it’s fun following your training. I follow the Hansons plans (with a few slight modifications) for 10Ks/half marathons and that’s how I PRed my last half… ran a 1:41:50. Plan to use it again for a half in December and try to break 1:40. I don’t do fulls ;).

    For me, more miles is better even if I have to do some of them slower- if you run 6 days a week it’s kind of inevitable! I stay around 40 mpw training for 5K-half and am faster than before and feel like I’m in better shape. I think you’ll do fine in the marathon, just focus on the journey and having fun with it and let the time you run just come!

    1. Thank you! I’m intrigued about how the Hansons half plan worked for you, it sounds like it worked quite well since you PRed! I’m looking at using that plan for one of my halves next year, since I have a similar goal to you and want to break 1:40.

  3. I went into my first marathon gunning for a BQ and ended up injured, lol. My biggest advice is don’t look at it like an A/B/C goal. Look at it like Goal 1, 2, 3. I say this so that you can accomplish as many goals as you want! Like: Goal 1 to finish, 2 to have fun and be uninjured, 3 to be under 4 hours, 4 to be under 3:45, 5 to negative split, 6 to BQ. That way you can still be accomplished!

    1. I like the way of 1, 2, 3 better than A/B/C since I was such a type A in school that anything other than an A was upsetting to me. Thank you for the tip! 🙂

  4. I haven’t totally settled on my goals for NYCM. I do have some lofty goals in mind, but haven’t decided if this summer weather permits my training to be at the level I need it to be to reach those goals. The best BQ tip I have is trust your training. I honestly didn’t believe going into my third marathon I would qualify for Boston, but I did and I was BEYOND excited. You’ve killed it this training cycle and you will absolutely reach your goals!

  5. It’s all so mental! I did BQ at my first marathon and I think it’s well within reach for you! I think it’s a fine balance between putting the pressure on so you perform your best, but don’t psych yourself out to where you get negative. I told myself that I would deal with whatever pain came my way and hit my goal anyway, and decided that nothing would stop me. It worked at the time, not sure the same strategy would work now though!

    1. Thank you! Those are some really great tips and I’ve been working hard on my mental training this cycle, so I will definitely keep your advice in mind as race day approaches. I will have to check out your marathon recaps since I’m newer to reading your blog.

  6. I just started reading and am super excited to follow your training 🙂 I love your positive outlook on everything – especially increasing your mileage! Has a half runner who hopes to do a marathon in the next year/year and a half, it is comforting to know that increasing mileage is scary for others but still attainable! 🙂
    Good luck with the rest of your training!! I am attempting to run a sub 2:00hour half in October:)

    1. Awww, thank you! Increasing mileage was intimidating but I’m just taking it one run and one week at a time – which definitely makes it more manageable! Good luck with your training, especially with meeting your goal in October – I’m excited to hear about how it goes! 🙂

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