Training for Tuesday Kickoff!


When Alyssa and I first started talking about this link-up just a few weeks ago, this was not the post I thought I'd be writing. I thought I'd be sharing the ins and outs of training for my 3rd marathon (that's counting in my life, and this year), the Richmond Marathon. I thought I'd be talking about getting up to 18 miles, and how I thought I'd break 4:30.

I've been training for this race since early July. I completely underestimated how much summer training would be involved for a November marathon, but despite that, I've somehow managed to hit all my goal distances and paces. Just meeting this goals hasn't been enough, though. My heart just hasn't been in this training cycle, even from the beginning. Truthfully, it's been a long time coming, but after my long run this past weekend, I made a decision:

I dropped to the half marathon. 

I've been following a training plan but something just hasn't been clicking. I've run half marathon+ distances every weekend for the last 2 months, but to be honest, I've been struggling to get much further past that point. The thought of running another 10+ miles on top of what I've been running every weekend just doesn't sound fun to me right now. Two weekends ago I ran 17 miles, and the weekend after I was supposed to run 18. That's when when the wheels came off. I was already mentally struggling with the idea of my long runs, and that day, thinking about running for 3 hours through the mountains, I just couldn't take it anymore. And I panicked. I've never backed down on a goal halfway through training for it. It felt...wrong. I thought I was just being emotional and I needed to tough it out. I did end up running 3 miles in the morning and another 10 at night, but I wasn't confident about running the full. I told myself I'd take the week to evaluate and make a decision, since I was a week ahead of my training schedule and the race transfer date was approaching.

At the beginning of last week, I was pretty sure I was going to run the full. I had just had a bad run and needed to shake it off. Everyone bonks sometimes. Until 11.5 miles into my 13-mile run last week, I was still planning to run the full. Then, all of a sudden, I had a moment of clarity. I was happy to drop down to the half. There is something really magical and special about the marathon. One thing I am confident about is that I am not done with marathoning. Maybe I'm done with it this year, or this decade, or until I'm done with school, or until I move somewhere flatter, but I'm not done forever. I'm excited to revisit the beast that is the marathon when the time is right - I think I'll know when the time comes. But it's been over a year since the last time I focused on any distance under 26.2, and honestly, I'm kind of happy to get off the marathon train for now.

One thing that was important to Alyssa and me for this linkup was to share that ALL goals are good and worthy, so I felt like it was important to practice what I preach and put this out there. I don't know why, but this was a hard lesson for me to learn. I don't know at what point my brain got hard-wired into thinking the only thing I could do from this point forward is run marathons. To be totally honest with you, I'm still having a little trouble accepting it. I know my heart isn't really into committing to training, but I still felt a little sadness clicking the "Transfer" button. But I know it's the right thing to do. I don't need to run super long distances to feel good or validated. This is better for my schedule. It will allow me to add in speed work and even race some shorter distances. I'll be able to run some of my favorite fall races. I'm excited to have different goals (mainly speedy goals!) to work toward. I'm excited to not be so tired and hungry all the time.  I'm excited to not constantly worry how I can perfectly schedule my time so I can get in all of my runs and my school commitments. I'm excited to have my weekends back and not have them completely revolve around running. I'm excited to have a little more balance in my life.

So! Now that the marathon is off the table, I'm super thrilled to kick off this first edition with Training for Tuesday with the goals I've decided to work on: PR's all around! It has been a year and a half since the last time I trained for and raced a half marathon. I've put in a lot of miles in that time, and that has naturally led me to some unexpected PR's, but I'm excited to see what I can really do if I train specifically for shorter distances.

5k (Goal race: TBD - hopefully November or December. Anyone got a good 5k in southwest VA, Virginia Beach, or Raleigh that I should run?!))
  • Realistic Goal: beat my official PR by over a minute (under 26:00)
  • Reach Goal: beat my unofficial PR (under 25:27)
  • Crazy Goal: sub-8 minute pace (under 24:49) *please note this would require taking 13 seconds per mile off my unofficial time and running a pace with a 7 on the front for the first time in my life!
10k (Goal Race: Wicked 10k, October 25)
  • Realistic Goal: beat my official PR by over a minute (under 54:00)
  • Reach Goal: beat my unofficial PR (under 52:42)
  • Crazy Goal: under 52:00
Half Marathon (Goal Races: Hokie Half, October 12; City of Oaks Half, November 2; Richmond Half, November 15)
  • Realistic Goal: beat my official PR under 2:09:59)
  • Reach Goal: under 2:00:00
  • Crazy Goals:
    • Sub-9 minute pace (under 1:57:46)
    • 45 minutes faster than my first half (under 1:57:21)
I already had two halfs scheduled as part of my marathon training, and now dropping to the half for Richmond gives me a total of three chances to shoot for one or all of my half marathon goals. Those races will also qualify me for Half Fanatics for the second time - maybe I'll even join this time since I might actually feel like it's true. I'm most excited about the half and shooting for my first (official) sub-2. It's been an elusive goal for such a long time and one that I never in a million years thought was attainable (even moreso than a marathon, I think). Even back when I didn't know if I'd ever be able to run a full 5k, let alone any longer distance, I think deep down I always knew I could get through any distance given enough time. That's why I attempted a marathon in the first place - I knew it wouldn't be fast, but I knew I could get it done. Speed has always been another, completely different story. It's why my 10k PR race is one of proudest running moments. As a girl who started out with a 38 minute 5k, there was no part of me that ever though I could be a fast runner (and yes, 8-9 minute miles is fast to me).

Now it's your turn! Party time!

1. Write a blog post about whatever fitness-related goal you're working toward. It can be ANYTHING. No goal is too big or too small. You might write about...
- A race or triathlon you're currently in training for, like Alyssa and I
- Your weightlifting goal of any kind
- Your goal to establish a workout or fitness routine, like hit the gym 3 times a week or start going to weekly yoga classes
- A goal to touch your toes by X date
- Your goal to be able to run a mile without stopping (FYI: It wasn't long ago that Alyssa and I both started out with this as a goal!)
- A time or distance personal record (PR) with running, swimming, biking, anything!
- Your goal to tone those calves and quads
- Headstand, handstand, crow pose, or whatever pose or asana currently alludes you
- Anything else you can think of!
2. Link up your post with Alyssa and I below

3. Add the button to your post or your sidebar and/or link back to either Alyssa or I in your linked
post so your readers can find similar posts and we can all connect!

4. We'd love to create a community of ass-kickers here, so hop around to other linked blogs and read about the goals others in our little family are working toward. A few words of support, advice, encouragement, or even commiseration can go a very long way. Spread the love and build your community of cheerleaders and motivators!

5. Go out there and keep being awesome!

We'll be back for around round on October 28! Check in with us and let us know how you're doing!


  1. I completely understand your thought process through the whole changing from the full to the half (even though I have never done a full) and it sounds like you made the best decision, and it's not like marathons are gone forever now (and that is really awesome you can actually transfer!).
    I love your realistic / reach / crazy goals. I am pretty sure you will meet the reach or crazy for all of them ;)

  2. Oh girl. You know I totally get it. I felt like a huge failure when I dropped to the half marathon for December, but we have to listen to our bodies, and well...we have plenty of time. You're going to rock the $hizzzz out of that half, too!

  3. Girlfriend, I applaud you! I truly can't imagine EVER running a full marathon. I'm excited to hopefully be signing up for my second half marathon soon...and actually train this time!! Last time I was horrible and didn't do well at all! So this time I want to kill it!!!! ;) excited to be linking up!!

  4. First I have to say I enjoy your posts so much! Always writing from the heart :)
    Last year I also dropped from the marathon to a half marathon. I only stuck it out for about 8 weeks of marathon training and got up to 15 miles. Marathons and training for them really are a BEAST - there's just so much that goes into it. And then trying to work towards a goal besides just finishing it adds even more. I think that's why I love half marathons so much. You can still have a life outside of training! I think with your 3 half marathons coming up, you will definitely get your official sub 2 hours :)

  5. So many things. First, again, proud of you for doing what's best even though that voice in your head (I know it well!) can be naggy and try to make you feel bad about changing a goal. Second, 8-9 minutes is fast to me too! Third, I love that you have reach and crazy goals. I call mine "stretch goals" and "super-stretch goals" :) damn we are too a line in some ways, haha. And last, I love that you said you know you can run any distance. I feel the same, and have for a few months. It might not always be pretty, and it might not happen the first time every time, but I do feel like the marathon isn't a matter of if I can, but of when I feel like that's the next thing I want to go for.
    Anyway, I am so super pumped for your upcoming races. I wish I were able to do more this fall! I'm definitely looking into a 5 or 10k (I've never run an official 10k!) before the end of the year after the half, ya know, for fun :)

  6. This is amazing :) You're my workout inspiration!

  7. I love your honesty in this post Tracy! I think it could have been so easy for you to make up excuses for why you wanted to drop down to a half but knowing yourself and how much to push yourself (emotionally) is so important-- not to mention all of your training itself is such an accomplishment!