Keeping it simple this time

When I was asked to write a Mill Race Marathon runner diary for The Republic, I jumped at the opportunity. I am the type of person that enjoys giving away the advice that was so generously given to me.

When I first started running in 2013, I was clueless on how to train for a marathon. During the next few years I made a lot of friends that have helped me become the runner I am today.

If you read the article published June 26, I mentioned that I have been battling the disease of alcoholism for the past eight years. Currently, I feel like I am finally getting the help I have always wanted. I entered a treatment center to get the support I desperately needed. This has allowed me to focus with a clear mind and approach my training with a completely different mindset than I was used to.

Growing up, I always had my elders tell me to keep things simple. When it comes to life and my running, I must keep it simple and not complicate it. I have not been able to train at the level I have wanted over the past couple months because my life has been hectic. Running was put on the back burner for a while. I am about a month behind in my training right now and have two and half months to get in top-notch shape.

I’m logging about 40 to 50 miles a week. I would like to see that number grow close to 70 to 80 miles per week by the end of the month. It is extremely important for me — and for you, if you’re running a race — to gradually build mileage and not jump up in mileage. Jumping up in mileage all of a sudden can result in injury.

Sometimes the best reward in running is staying healthy and making it to race day in one piece. If you are planning on running Sept. 24, I challenge you to train smart and listen to your body.

A lot of runners believe “no pain, no gain” is the best motto. I could not disagree more.

Recovery is part of the training process, and it keeps us from overtraining. I am guilty of not listening to my body when it’s telling me to skip a run because I am as stubborn as they come. Instead of writing my training plan out months in advance, now I set weekly goals and adjust them as needed as the week progresses.

Something I have learned from past experiences is to set two goals. Your primary goal is the one you will be working towards leading up to race day. Whether that be running a personal best, qualifying for Boston, breaking five hours, or just finishing, having a goal keeps you motivated.

Your secondary goal should be your backup plan in case race-day conditions aren’t ideal. Indiana weather can be unpredictable and throw you off your game plan on race day.

Finding a healthy balance between life and running can be difficult at times. I’m at the point in my training that building a solid foundation is crucial. Logging miles and spending time on my feet is the most important part early on. As the month progresses, I will fine-tune my plan and incorporate speed workouts as well as marathon paced long runs.

For now, I am going to enjoy the training process and all the challenges that go along with it. I suppose you could say I will be keeping it simple.

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Ryan O'Leary is sports editor for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at or 317-736-2715.