I had my long run on Sunday. I've gotten my attire, shoes, hydration, nutrition, etc. all pretty much worked out so now it's pacing and the mental stuff I'm still working on.
Sunday was a good test for those.
I started slow... and then kept going slow... and just didn't seem to get any faster... and then needed a pee break much earlier than I usually do... so by the time I was an hour in I was seriously behind where I expected to be by then. But still had way too much in front of me to really think about trying to run much faster.
Normally this wouldn't be much of an issue but we had brunch plans with my parents and I had already left the house later than originally planned. And despite having brought my phone I couldn't get in touch with The Dude to let him know I was running late. So, really, it was excellent practice for the marathon - what do I do when there is a time limit (real or mental) and it's looking bad for meeting it?
I was running without headphones so I had plenty of opportunity to watch my thoughts. And I noticed that when I didn't think about the time, I felt "in the flow". It was a beautiful day, I was running through my great city, with lots of varied scenery and people to admire, I could enjoy myself.
When I thought about the time, things felt effortful. I hurt more. I saw less of what was around me.
Friends, I think the lesson here is clear.
But to be honest, I'm not sure I'm ready to completely let go of time goals for the marathon. I want to be ready. I really do. Especially since I'd like to do ultras and trail marathons in the future, and the only way to do that is to move into this different mindset.
So. What to do now? I'll keep running without headphones. I thought about not running with my Garmin at all, but I like how it keeps track of the run/walk intervals. But I can turn off the lap function so it's not quite as easy to obsess over speed. I've got another long run and signed up to do it with a pace group, but I don't need to stay with them. So I guess I have another chance to practice not caring about my speed.
Because I did not have fun with my first marathon and I would like to this time. And I know what I need to do for that... Now I just need to convince myself that's what I really want to do as well.