I'm signed up for the California International Marathon on December 2, and I dare admit my fall training hasn't been focused on this event yet. When considering my outlined 2012 goals, I met my general marathon goal at Seattle in June and I have not met my half marathon goal yet this year (2:05 or better). This left me with a decision on how to continue my fall training schedule: pump up weekly mileage as I intended and focus on the marathon, or take a less-obsessive approach to the marathon and let myself focus more on the half marathons that come first.
I should also mention that half marathons are my very favorite race, and I'm not a fan of the marathon much at all. When I signed up for CIM, the plan was to increase my mileage to more than I've even done per week and to do more 20+ mile runs than I have in the past. I wanted to be uber prepared, to see if I could feel good for the whole marathon like I do for the half marathons I enjoy so much. Maybe THEN I'd be a fan of the marathon. I'm not sure if that is realistic at all (does anyone feel good for a whole marathon?) but that's what my brain was thinking.
Well, as it gets closer to the fall schedule I've decided to let myself have fun with the upcoming half marathons - because that's what I really love - and to work on getting faster there. Don't worry, I'll still train for the marathon up to 18 or 20 miles, I just don't plan to run multiple 20+ milers or to focus on higher weekly mileage like I originally thought. It's hard to think this way, but I know I'll be a much happier person for it this fall.
As great as it is to push ourselves and to find new challenges, I believe it's important to look at the things we truly enjoy and to let ourselves focus on those when we need to. I don't absolutely have to love the marathon distance right now just because so many people I know focus on the marathon as their main goal. I can have my own goals, and that's ok. This is a simple and perhaps obvious statement, but I need to really remember it.
And going forward after CIM? I'm going to continue enjoying my half marathons and hopefully more relays! I'm letting myself off the hook on the marathon right now because that's what I need.