17 weeks to go
A few years ago while training for my first marathon, I often said that it felt like a part-time job. Now that I'm doing this for a second time, I see why I felt that way. If I let myself get too wrapped up in the process, the runs become less fun and feel like more a job. I'm determined not to let that happen. I cannot approach each running day with dread; I cannot made my long runs feel forced. There's part of me that likes to have my training plan all mapped out; then there's part of me that knows that setting up a full plan is a recipe for disaster. But if I break things up by 4-5 week increments, things work better. While I do have my long runs tentatively planned, I'm not forcing a running schedule on myself just yet. With 17 weeks to go until the Richmond Marathon, I'm using this week as a test week to see what I can do without written plans. In my mind I know I want to do a 10-miler mid-week, and I have a 5-mile race planned for Saturday (more on that later this week). Beyond that, I'm just going to run for the fun of running. If I go out for 3 miles and want to stop, I'll stop. If I want to run more, I'll run more.
After this week I'll know what I need to do. If I can step up my mileage just a bit without fully planning it out, I'll map out the next 4 weeks with a pretty aggressive approach. If I find myself needing some more work, I'll take a more laid-back approach and keep my mileage a little lower. I've built an awesome base, so I'm not as worried about my mileage build up this year vs. three years ago. I can comfortably run a 20-mile week right now; a few years ago I was really pushing it to do that.
So as I said a few days ago, I'm ready, and right now there's no sense of dread involved.