Posted by: Joe English | September 16, 2009

Training — Reflections on a marathon experience

Coach Joe English

Coach Joe English

I wrote a note to many of my training teams today that I wanted to share with you. The folks receiving this message would be in various stages of their training, but are getting close to being ready to run events this Fall. I hope you’ll find some benefit in the reflections that I shared with them as well:

“This past weekend I ran my first competitive marathon in more than two years and it brought back many memories and sensations that I thought would be good to share with you. Over the past two years, I have in fact run a number of marathons, but bringing back the competitive element has helped me put myself back in your shoes — to the extent that it added back in the pressure and nerves that haven’t been there for awhile.

So, here are a few of the things that I remember feeling that I wanted to share with you:

Tapering is tough — I say it a lot, but that taper period (the part of the season when we wind down our training and recover for the race) is still mentally the toughest part of the season. I had the same sensation that so many of you will talk to me about: you will feel like you have “forgotten how to run”. I recall thinking to myself that I had just run 22 miles 3 weeks before the race and that I had raced 17 1/2 miles two weeks before the race, but I still wondered if it would “come back to me”. Of course it does. The training is there and this is part of the recovery process, but even for a person that has been racing marathons for 20 years I still had this sensation. You will too when we get to the end of the season.

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