With another marathon season complete, it’s time to look back and see what went right and what went wrong. It was a disappointing season since my goal was to set a PR or maintain my average times from last season. I accomplished neither goal. The charts below go back about 4 years and although I fell short of my goals this year, overall it wasn’t a bad year relative to the other seasons. My average marathon time was 3:25, which slipped about 8 minutes from last year — but I still ran all 3 marathons under 3:30.
So what went wrong this season?
1. Injury: I had a few nagging injuries – Achilles tendon, nasty blisters, and plantar fasciitis. Although none of these injuries were bad enough to prevent me from training, it brought some inconsistency and I could never push the limits since I didn’t want to make my injuries any worse. With the exception of the mild plantar fasciitis, I’m pretty much over the injuries and feel I’m my fitness steadily improving.
2. Extra Pounds: Although I consider myself fairly lean, I was carrying around a few extra pounds compared to last season. I’m sure this had some effect in slowing me down.
3. Shoes: I experimented with different shoes during this training cycle and believe may have been the major contributor to my injuries. Not sure why I felt I needed to do this since the Newton and Nike Free brands were working for me the past couple of years. I’m back to the Newtons and Nike Frees and plan to stick with them.
4. Lack of motivation: I didn’t have the same drive to train as hard as I have in previous marathon seasons. I think two things contributed to this. First, with the injuries disrupting my training schedule, I wasn’t able to maintain the consistency I needed to see improvements from week to week. It was always one step forward and one step back, so it felt like I wasn’t moving forward. Second, I scheduled my marathons too close together (3 marathons in less than 5 months) and by the third marathon, I was literally just going through the motions.
I guess the good thing of having an off year is I can look forward to seeing some improvements next marathon season. Although I am getting older, I don’t think that was a major contributor to my slowing down. I feel that if train smartly and have a little more discipline, I still have a few years to go before I plateau. And although looking back and reflecting on my marathon times every year is fun, the primary purpose of this running journey of mine is to stay healthy and be grateful that I’m able to get out there enjoy this wonderful sport.