I was talking with some friends of mine while running, and the topic of blame came up. When you don't do well in a race, do you tend to blame other things--like the weather or the course, or do you "own up" to the failure? I think I do some of both.
I definitely can find reasons to blame myself if I don't do well. The task of training rested on my shoulders over the last 10 weeks. I did many things well, but I see lots of things I didn't do so well either. Over the past few days, I've had a running list in my head of all of the things I don't think I did right this time around during training. I guess this is the list I will pull from to get my excuses if I don't do well next week!
1. Lack of hill training. My training program called for 6 hill workouts, and I did a grand total of 2 of them. And the course I am running has two sections of big uphills. I don't think that is smart. One of the only workouts that I skipped this time around was 7xhills, but it was when Rick was out of town so I felt like I had an excuse.
2. Shortened training schedule. I started training with only 10 weeks to go until the marathon, so I just omitted the first 7 weeks of training. I wasn't doing nothing, but I wasn't doing the quality workouts that the plan called for either. On bad days I question whether not doing those 7 weeks will come back to haunt me.
3. Running roughly 10 less miles per week than called for by the program. I could not run on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so I settled for doing workouts on the elliptical machine. That cut my mileage by roughly 10 miles a week. And that made my highest mileage week only in the 40's. That seems like too little to me, but I know that most of the rest of the runs were good, quality miles.
4. Not running a single 20-miler all the way through. I mentioned this a couple of posts back. I really think allowing myself to stop in these runs could be a problem for me race day. I haven't forced myself to push through a long run.
5. Eating issues during the run. I have struggled with being able to eat on runs and having similar fuel to race day to train with (I actually don't know what is on the course--they just sent us a change--and I don't know what I will carry yet or when I will plan to eat it.) So race day, I will be winging it and hoping my stomach doesn't revolt. I've developed a pickier stomach more recently and have had to force things down in races and runs. A smarter strategy would have been to test different foods/drinks out during my long runs. I failed to do that.
I feel better just sharing these things. No training plan is perfect, but I do see these flaws in mine. I like to think I am really tough and disciplined, but some days I question whether I really am disciplined enough to be a marathoner. I would like to follow a training program all the way through and also practice race day fueling more next time I train. I think this would help me feel more prepared and quiet some of these pre-race nerves.