Training and what an individual needs is extremely specific. Over the years I’ve come to appreciate that benefits of being consistent with a coach and the people you train with. For one thing how you as an individual react to different types of workloads, stress, mental situations isn’t something you can just write down and give to somebody. It takes a while for a coach and you to establish trust and a mutual understanding. There is no “right” answer for all of us, even all of us training for the same race. With Team Rogue for example, we have a general macro that we’re all using for our training but it’s the individual minor tweaks to our training and race plans that we all athletes have a responsibility to figure out. That is the best thing about the weekly “happy office” hours with Steve. Each of us has an opportunity to talk to him about our specific goals and plans and to listen in to what Steve tells everybody else, and moreover how he differs in advice from one person to another. It takes effort to do this so we can perform and reach our potential as individuals. I think it’s worth the effort, otherwise why not just go online and download some generic macro?
This principle of what is “right” applies to our decisions week to week during our training. Do we run easy? Do we run hard? Do we close? Do we take time off when we’re felling sick or do we push through it when we’re off? It’s evident in every group that our personalities tend to drive these decisions, it’s how each of us is wired. About a week and a half ago I started feeling sick and took a couple of days off from running. Then thought I’d try to run 16 miles last Saturday. After 8 miles into it I decided to stop. I could have run 16 but for me the potential gain versus the risk of getting sicker wasn’t worth it. This week was more of the same, ran one day and that was it. That ended with relatively strong and easy 15 miles yesterday and 8 today. Others might have tried to run 4 or 6 miles every day this week. What’s the right thing to do? For me, using the time as a mental and physical break is ideal. I have to balance my work, personal and running lives and if I’m having issues with my health, forcing my runs doesn’t help it and tends to stress me out with everything else. For others knowing they kept running just a bit and pushing through the illness is what they need mentally.
With marathon training consistency and longevity of training seem like the most important things. As long as all your decisions put together let you train for a few years consistently you can be confident you’re doing the “right” thing. So listen to yourself, and your body. Look at your macro and last two years of training and results and see which decisions were “right” or “wrong” for you. Stick with the “right” ones and try something different with the ones you’d question after reflection. See how that goes after the season, reflect, adjust, put your shoes on and keep on running.