Goal Setting

I hadn't pinned down a definite goal for the marathon until this week. When I first started training after Fargo, I think I told myself I was going for a 2:55 or 2:56.

The dilemma was: I've been racing better than I ever have. I've surprised myself in 2 5ks, running in the 17:40s, and in the 10 mile, running a high 1:01. Did that mean that I was faster than 2:55/2:56?

The other dilemma... how do you start out? Do I start out in a 2:55 pace and then pick it up after half way if I'm feeling good? I ran a 1:49 minute negative split at Fargo, but you can't count on that fast of a second half. Even if I did, going out with a 2:55 pace meant that my maxium potential was about a 2:53.30-2:54. Again, that's assuming that I was able to negative split (which I'm almost always able to do... but you never know!!). Argh. I went back and forth. I want to race a little conservatively, but not too much so that I can't run to my potential (like what happened in the 10 mile).

I was really glad to see Dave Christopherson (the Vakava coach) at Finn Sisu on Friday when I was working. He talked to me about my goals and helped me to decide: I'm going to race a little more aggresively than I'm used to, with a goal time of 2:53.

Reasons why: In the last month, there have been 2 races where I've started out with a goal time that I thought was reasonable, but found out that I was capable of a lot more. Because of that, I wasn't able to see what I could really do. My only goal with my running now is to "see what I can do" -- and there's no way to do that if I'm racing conservatively all the time. Plus, I am in the shape of my life.

Another way Nate put it: I ran 6:08s for the 10 mile (if you count it by the Garmin distance). So, 6:36s for 20 miles *should* feel pretty easy. Then, the real racing starts. I think I believe his reasoning... but then I think to myself, 6:36s? For 26.2 miles? Wow... that's really, REALLY fast...

So, I'm mentally preparing myself for this weekend. I have to prepared to HURT, I know this will be easy. I have fond memories of Fargo because it felt so easy (and didn't hurt!), but I know I won't have that & shouldn't have that again. Not if I'm going to go for it. But, I'm good at out-hurting my competition :).

Nichole Porath

Nichole is a blogger, elite level runner, and coach. She ran professionally for Brooks for two years after qualifying for the 2012 US Olympic Marathon Trials. During that time she founded TNC endurance, where she coaches and motivationally speaks to organizations large and small. This blog details her rise to national-level racing, and continues to follow her as she gets back into racing after starting a family. Read on, friends!

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