I’m eight weeks into my training with eight weeks until race day. I’ve stuck to my plan and my workouts have been solid, my runs strong, and so far no injuries. So where did my motivation go?
Despite perfect running weather and a light schedule the previous week, I could barely pull myself out of bed most mornings. Looking back on my training I realized I was doing the same runs on the same courses with little variation week to week. I decided to mix things up.
On Friday I ran Vista del Valle road, a fire trail that follows the upper reaches of the Hollywood Hills. I set out without a distance, pace, or goal time. Instead I relaxed and tried not to think about running.
After climbing four miles I could see across the LA basin all the way to the Pacific Ocean. I’m usually tired after so much uphill running but my legs and lungs felt fine once the trail leveled.
To the east lay Sierra Madre and Pasadena. If I took the opposite direction I would reach the Hollywood Sign but I wanted to run a loop instead of an out and back. Part of the reason was to keep my surroundings unique.
There is only one trail higher up than Vista del Valle and I caught a glimpse of it when I passed by a footbridge, a nice landmark to find when I return.
Mission accomplished. Vista del Valle was one of my favorite runs during my marathon training cycle. I set out to enjoy myself instead of focusing on training and the strategy worked. I did not realize how much I climbed until later. Instead I lost myself in the hills and returned refreshed and ready for week nine.