They say, “Go big or go home.” Four days out from my goal marathon – the one I hope to go from a solid mid-packer to a sub-three marathoner, the one for which I ran multiple 80 mile weeks and way too many miles at 6:52 pace – it’s too late to go home. So, all I can do is go big.
Of course, when you go big, even when you do everything right, you might not meet your goals. But that’s ok. It’s scary to go for a big goal, especially when you announce to the entire internet what your goal is. But the fun and the learning all take place in the going big part, not in the briefest of moments when you cross the finish line.
This was the year I said I was going to take running seriously. I didn’t exactly know what that meant in terms of race times or anything. I just wanted to see what would happen if I immersed my self in running. Before this 2014, I spent several years splitting my time between running and road biking. I had no structured workouts and no real goals except to be in the 1:40 half marathon territory at the end of the season and beat my friend Daniela up a beastly local hill on Strava. That’s when I realized the fun is in the pursuit, not the race, so I had a good time even though I never made those two goals when my season ended.
It was fun to do two sports, but running has always been my favorite. I don’t know why. Maybe it is because it is a deceptively simple, yet very hard, sport. As many miles as I put on my road bike, I’d say, “I’m always a runner first.” It was time to act like it. “This is the year I’m going to be a better runner,” I said. Not knowing what that meant at the time, it didn’t stop me from building back to 20, then 30, then jumping all the way to 50 mile weeks on a treadmill during the coldest longest winter I can remember.
Then the little running voice said, “Go big or go home. This is the year to try Hanson’s Marathon Method.” Hanson’s Marathon Method is a training plan that has a reputation for being relatively high mileage of 50 and sometimes over 60 miles per week and, well to the novice I was, a grueling nearly daily schedule. When you’re looking at the Hanson’s plan as a runner whose first rule is no running on the weekends, it is intimidating. Maybe at one point you’ve also wondered, ‘normal non-pro people can actually run a 70 mile week, week after week, and not get injured?’ The voice didn’t have an answer for that, but I decided to try it and see what happened! Go big!
This summer, I attempted 10 miles a day for a week. Seven days and 70 (difficult) miles later, I realized I could hack it; it was time to start the Hanson’s plan. While I was at it, I figured I might as well train above the advanced plan and stay at 70+ miles per week. I know, right. What was I thinking?
The crazy thing is that this going big thing started to work! Amazing things happened. I jumped several lines on the pace tables within a few weeks and changed training philosophy several times. I ran a sub 3:00 target Yasso 800. Before I knew it, the old crazy big goal of a low-ish-3-hour time seemed like sandbagging. Going big in Columbus now seemed to mean to attempt a sub-3. In one season with some hard work and thousands of miles on my feet, I went from wherever the heck I was in the running pecking order to being a 3-hour marathon contender. Crazy!
The story doesn’t have an end yet. Anything can happen in Columbus. Regardless of the outcome, I worked really hard to get here and enjoyed the process. They say, “Go big or go home.” At 31, I’m too old to go home. Not to mention those whole weeks of crazy training and telling everyone my big goals thing. Nope, on Sunday, I’ll be going big and hopefully along the way I’ll inspire you to go big too. Because as Ginger reminded us in one of my favorite Salty posts, “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss you’ll land on a star.“
How do you feel about going big? All about it? Does fear of failure hold you back?