Fall marathon season is fully upon us. I love seeing everyone’s photos of the beautiful marathons they are completing. Fall races are the absolute best. Spending all summer sweating out those miles to train makes the cooler fall air seem that much more refreshing. I see people posting about “_____ number of days until the ________ marathon.” Every time I see a post like that or a photo of someone with their early-fall finisher’s medal, I get a little “ping” of jealousy.

I want to be running a fall marathon, but I’m not. After running The Bayshore Marathon in May, I decided to take the fall off from marathon running. This decision was made for many reasons, but mostly because I wanted to give myself some adequate rest before I start training for my first Ultra marathon, to take place in April 2018.

This is Why I'm Grumpy - Run Leelananu
The start of the 2016 Chicago Marathon. This picture makes me feel all the feels.

Normally after completing a marathon, I take about two weeks to a month of engaging in active recovery. After that, it is time to hop back into the next training cycle. Since I haven’t been training for any thing in particular all summer, I feel very odd. Training gives me a sense of purpose with my running. It is easier for me to skip a run or a workout when my alarm goes off at 4:15AM if I don’t have to for training purposes.

This break is also nice in a way. I am listening to my body more. During training, if I have to do a speed workout, I do a speed workout. No question about it. Now, if I plan to do a speed workout and my body feels worn out or unable to complete the workout, I ease back and do a recovery run. Maybe taking this season off of marathon training is a good thing, despite how hard it feels. I am learning to be more forgiving of myself when I need rest. I am becoming more aware of my body’s needs. This time has allowed me to complete more strength and cross-training. Heck, my garden is thriving because I don’t spend my evenings completing long runs.

This is Why I'm Grumpy - Run Leelananu
My husband and I the night before 2016 Chicago Marathon. There’s nothing like those race-eve jitters!

Still, even with all the benefits that I pointed out above, I cannot wait to dive back into a training schedule. It makes me feel like I am part of something bigger. I feel a better sense of community within the running world when I am in training. Slowly, I am counting down the days to this winter, when I can finally start training for that ultra. At least I know I’ll be well-rested.

Good luck to everyone running a fall marathon! Enjoy every second of it.

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