Be sure to always keep your main goal in mind, writes Meb Keflezighi.
As runners, we all have our bad days, especially when getting ready for a marathon. Sometimes they happen in training and other times it’s in a tuneup race. But when you have a bad day, it’s important to keep the main goal in focus and keep pushing forward.
When I’m training for a marathon, I’m thinking about two things: staying healthy and racking up the miles. I want to run as many miles as I can without crossing that fine line and stepping into injury. Those are the two key components to good training, whether you’re running 30 miles a week or 100.
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The biggest challenge I face is injury. Any runner who is training for a marathon is always walking that fine line. When we’re healthy and feeling good, we always want to do more. It’s hard to hold back. But it’s important to remind ourselves to conserve energy and stay healthy. It’s important to have confidence in your training.
If things are going smoother than you anticipated in training, back off the mileage and test yourself with a shorter race and see how fast you can run a half marathon, 10 miles or maybe a 10K. It doesn’t hurt to test yourself out with a race or a hard effort in training and it can be great for your confidence.
As runners, we put a lot of pressure on ourselves. I put a lot of extra pressure on myself because I’m a competitor by nature. I’m going to be even more of a target for my opposition at the New York City Marathon in November because of what I did in Boston and people are not going to let me go. So how will I handle that? When I’m doing tempo runs I visualize myself on First Avenue. When I see a hill during a long run, I think about Central Park and I ask myself, “You’ve already run 24 miles, how are you going to be able to execute this hill?” So, when it comes to race day, I feel comfortable in my surroundings and let my fitness dictate how fast I’m going to go.
The marathon is all about patience. When you have a bad day, don’t let it knock you off track. Keep your main goal in focus, stay healthy and gain confidence through consistent training. Imagine the excitement of the last few miles of the race at the end of your long runs and let that carry you to the finish line.
About The Author:
Meb Keflezighi is the only runner in history to win both the New York City Marathon and Boston Marathon and earn an Olympic medal. This is the first installment of his new “Marathon Meb” column for Competitor. Follow along each month in the magazine and also find regular training tips and inspiration at competitor.com/runmeb.