Training for a goal as big and as distant as a marathon is a real challenge—not just for the actual work of training, but for managing your mind, body and emotions during the time required to get ready. Everyone has a certain amount of respect, even fear, for the concept of running 26.2 miles. But not everyone is aware, when they submit that registration form, of the true commitment they are making.
Even Veterans Aren't Immune
Once you've trained for and completed a marathon, you have a basic idea of what comprises a marathon "journey." But even then, your perspective is twisted by the actual race itself. In other words, all that time you spent training has been wrapped into a single day. Looking back after the race, it's really hard to discern what was good, bad or inconsequential to your performance.
Tracking: The Power of Daily Measurements
The best way to build a comprehensive picture of the sheer work your marathon requires is to track your training. You can be as detailed as you want; personal preference will dictate what's important, and your commitment will determine what you actually track. Whatever you do, track something. Once you start tracking your workouts and rest, you'll not only be creating your personal roadmap to a marathon, you'll also unlock some serious hidden potential.
Track For Consistency
Get into a routine with your tracking. This is the first step toward building a set of daily habits or rituals around your running. Once you begin logging your daily mileage, or your time spent running, you will begin to build some momentum.
You'll see that you've run four of the six days this week, and that last week you ran five days, and that if you can put in an easy 5-miler this week, you'll top last week's totals ? and so you head out to run.
Or maybe you are building up to a bigger race later in the year, and want to kick off your training with a personal running challenge: 15 runs in 15 days, for example. Time to break out the training log!
Track For Motivation
Collecting information about your running can keep you inspired, and nothing is better than being inspired by your own actions. You might find out that you are three runs short of a personal best for a month, or that another 20 miles this month could put your annual total to 500 miles.
You might look back at this time last year and see you entered a fun race; maybe you'll head back to see if you can set a new personal best. The possibilities are endless!