Hello from Prague! Well, actually, hello from my back porch, where I’m writing this. But as you read it, I will have landed and hopefully be wandering around one of the world’s most beautiful cities. In case you missed the four months’ worth of weekly training posts about it, I’m in the Czech Republic for the Volkswagen Prague Marathon as part of the press team!
As you know, I’ve been training hard this winter and spring in preparation for this race. When I started, I had one singular goal: make it across the finish line with only a “normal” amount of pain – i.e. no crazy back pain, just normal marathon hurting. Simple enough, right? Well, as time went on and training went better than expected (including some big new post-surgery PRs), it occurred to me that it might be time to re-evaluate that goal.
I’ve waffled back and forth about setting a time goal. For me, running with a time goal, no matter how loose, usually is not very much fun. I tend to get hyper-focused on my watch and making my splits. Of course, I also don’t want to let anyone down (as if anyone really cares besides me what my finish time is). Then there’s the fact that I’m running a marathon in Prague, not exactly my backyard, and this is something I’ll probably never do again. I want to soak up the experience, remember every second, and have an absolute blast! That seems hard to do with a time goal.
On the other hand, I’ve really put in the work this training cycle. Both mentally and physically, I have pushed my limits past what I thought I was capable of just a few short months ago. Since my back surgery limits how much I can run and how many marathons I can do, there is a part of me that doesn’t want to “waste” this training cycle. It’s not like I’ll get another chance in a few weeks, like I used to. So to that end, I do want to push myself and see what kind of time I am capable of. But what if that ruins the race for me?
Although Allie doesn’t like to set multiple race goals, I do. And in this case, I feel like it is appropriate. After all, I do have a few goals. I want to run well and have a good time! Is that possible? I don’t know, but I’m going to try.
Without further adieu, I present my A, B, and C goals for the Prague Marathon:
A) Run under 4:30. I know for a fact that, if the weather is good and my back doesn’t have a meltdown, running under 4:30 is within my reach. I am in the best running shape I’ve been in in a really long time. I might hate every second of those last 6 miles, but I know I can do it, and I think there is still room in this time goal for me to soak in the experience. I will be challenging myself without killing myself, if that makes sense. What’s funny is that I think I’ve only run under 4:30 in my life maybe 4 times? Maybe 5? Not a lot. But I can do it in Prague if the stars align, so this is my A goal – best case scenario.
B) Set a post-back surgery PR (under 4:54). There is really no reason (again, barring some type of cataclysmic back-related event), that I should not be able to run under 4:54. Even my 20 miler, done in the 90 degree heat where I felt like I was dying, was at a pace that would have put me well under this mark. It’s looking like the weather for Prague will be in the 50s, so that’s a great sign. Still, if I know anything about my back, it’s that it is an unpredictable beast.
C) Finish upright and smiling. While this might not seem like much of a stretch, if I do have a horrible day with my back, finishing with a smile on my face will be a challenge. In this scenario, I hope that I will have not taken a single step for granted and that I will be able to recognize that regardless of how race day goes, making it through training in one piece is a huge accomplishment.
Are having fun and chasing down a PR mutually exclusive? @thetrexrunner is about to find out!CLICK TO TWEETOverall, I am feeling excited and optimistic about race day. I know these times aren’t much to get excited about for most people, but it has been a long time since my body was able to even think about running the marathon distance. I am hoping to celebrate every step of the way and cross the finish line in one piece so that I can maybe think about doing this again one day. I mean, how will you survive Monday mornings without a mind-numbingly long synopsis of every workout I did? You won’t. So I must prevail.
I haven’t seen any way to track runners on race day, but the event will be broadcast on Flotrack! And of course, I’ll update on social media throughout my trip, so make sure to follow me on Instagram for the latest!
LEAVE A COMMENT: Do you set multiple race day goals? Do you prefer to run for time or for fun?