Fresh off a solo marathon in Athens, my sights are now set on New York City. Seven weeks between marathons might sound like a very short window for adequate recovery time, but with clear and realistic intentions, it’s certainly obtainable. To not only complete these runs, but run them well and finish strong, it’s paramount to have differing yet complimentary goals. There’s a stark contrast between chasing a PR and running to simply cross the finish line. Having raced back to back marathons in the past, I know all too well how the body and mind can break down from trying to maintain a high level of intensity. Variability within a training plan is a crucial element, as it allows time for the body to physically recovery and relaxes the mental grip on calculating mileage, times and splits and anxiety of performance.
I ran Athens casually, without a steadfast time goal, and more as my own personal experiment. In this relaxed approach, I recovered quite well (of course, a week of yin yoga on Santorini helped with that), and returned to running a week later feeling strong and refreshed. My goal for NYC has a bit more form, in that I have a time goal in mind, but I also need to have some ease around that, as I consider the conditions of the day. The logistics of this race are such that I’ll be in transport and/or standing in a corral for 5+ hours, so I intend to cut myself a little slack. I’ll do my best to rely on the crowd support to carry me through the five burroughs and hopefully that’ll shave off some minutes and a produce a respectable time.
In the meantime, strong mid-distance runs and steady long runs of 12-18 miles are on tap for the coming weeks, and my yoga and meditation practices continue to be the glue to my training and life. Yin poses every day are essential, and I incorporate 3-4 days of active yoga, along with plenty of sleep to find physical, emotional and mental harmony.
Sitting daily in meditation is truly the backbone of my training. Without the time to be with my thoughts, I wouldn’t be able to have a clear vision of my goals, or be fully in tune with the reasons why I’m setting those goals. Meditation allows me to be with things as they are – what I create in my mind, what is reality, and how to navigate in this process. In bringing meditation into my physical practices, I find more freedom around the rigid structure of a training plan. The mileage gets checked off, and the time on the mat is carved out, but there is a relaxation around those tasks, creating an overall ease and tranquility no matter what arises or what the outcome may be.