You’ve come up to Flagstaff to train like an elite runner, and that’s exactly what you’re doing physically. But mentally, pro runners set massive goals. Matt Llano said he was fit enough to run 2:08-2:10, and people thought he was crazy. And sure, he ran 2:12, which is kind of a “shoot for the moon and you’ll land among the stars” scenario. But landing among the stars is far better than floundering around on planet earth looking up at the sky and just wondering

Former pro runner, Sarah Crouch, in Running the Dream

I’ve started reading Matt Fitzgerald’s Running the Dream for the second time over the last couple of days. It tells the story of an ‘average joe’ runner who joins an elite professional running team and lives and breathes the pro lifestyle for a summer ahead of the Chicago Marathon, where he aims to set a PB at the ripe young age of 46 – a seemingly impossible task.

‘Average Joe’ runner in this instance is still a guy whose previous marathon was a 2:49 and holds a marathon PB at 2:41 (albeit set some 9 years earlier), which equates to an average pace of 3:49/km. So… pretty quick in any case.

But listening to this story (audiobooks, ftw!) got me thinking about my own running and if I could at least apply some of the principles that Matt got to apply with the NAZ Elite team to my own training, especially given I’ve never run a marathon and my half marathon PB pace is around the 6:12/km mark, a much slower ‘average joe’, if you will.

For reasons I will get into later, today was my last day at my current job and I have a few weeks before I start my new job – pretty much a perfect time to put this plan into action. I have already started to treat this year as a ‘season’, of which I’m currently in my ‘preseason’ (replete with ‘preseason’ races to get the body ready for racing and everything that goes along with it). My next ‘preseason’ race is March 16th, down on the Central Coast – so I have two weeks to ‘run like a pro’.

That will also include diet. It’s very much time to get real about my diet. Whilst on the whole my diet is ‘ok’, especially by modern standards, it’s not anywhere near the ideal ‘runners’ diet. Still far too much junk food (nightly ice-creams have been my kryptonite since giving up booze – which is another story for later), and a lot of work to do. I realise that subcutaneous fat is the most difficult to lose, but that’s no comfort for my spare tyre when I’m hardly giving 100% to the cause.

So with that in mind, tomorrow’s plan is… a rest day!

Hey, even the pros have rest days. It’s just where my training calendar happens to fall, to be honest. Running picks up again on Saturday and Sunday with a couple of ‘easy’ runs.

What tomorrow does give me is a chance to study, research and plan. And the dawn of a new phase of how I look at running.

Today is:

  • 60 days sober
  • my last day in retail
  • 16 days until my last ‘preseason’ race
  • 5 weeks until my first ‘in-season’ race
  • 18 weeks until my ‘A’ race – the Lakes 50k trail race
  • 28 weeks until the Sydney Marathon
  • zero regrets, lots of gratitude
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