It’s very hard in the beginning to understand that the whole idea is not to beat the other runners. Eventually you learn that the competition is against the little voice inside you that wants you to quit.”
–George Sheehan, running author
As some of you may know, I am training for my first marathon. My husband and I are running the Marine Corps Marathon on October 26. It is week 5 and it has been challenging. The training plan I am following includes 5 days of running, 1 day of cross training and 1 day of rest. Oh how I look forward to that day of rest.
My experience so far has been mostly positive. My biggest struggle is running long two days in a row. Sunday is the long run day. Long run days at this point are between 12-14 miles. Last week the scheduled run was 14 miles. I knew that 14 was an aggressive goal so I was shooting for 11. I had done a 6 mile run on Saturday and I was still feeling a little tired from that. It didn’t help that we had just gotten home from a 10 day trip to visit my family which is another blog post all in itself. My mental state going into the run on Sunday was extremely positive. I had just started running with music again and was enjoying the distraction, I felt well hydrated and I the weather was great.
We meet with a group on Sunday mornings at 6:30am for these long runs. It has been great for my training to have a plan and have a set date to meet with a group. My biggest struggle (this is where the mental part comes into play) is that I am one of the slowest runners so I am usually last and running alone. It sort of defeats the purpose of meeting the group if I am running alone for all of those miles but it does make me commit to do them. Last Sunday was particularly difficult. Although, I went into my planned run of 11 miles with a great mindset, I quickly lost it because once again I found myself last and alone. This is where the importance of being mentally strong comes into play. When I was coaching the No Boundaries group a few months ago, I ran with two people who were always last and made a point to tell me that they were always last. My response to them and I believe this wholeheartedly is that it didn’t matter that they were last. What mattered is that they were out there moving their bodies and not home on the couch. I thought about this a lot when I was on my run last Sunday. I know in my heart that it doesn’t matter if I am last. I woke up at 5:30am on a Sunday in the summer and got my butt out of bed to go run 11 miles. Needless to say, I didn’t make the 11 miles. I ran 9 and stopped. Long story short but I have a nagging hamstring injury that I didn’t want to aggravate. I probably could have finished the 11 but I didn’t. I was disappointed in myself that I didn’t make it the whole way but I tried to focus on the positive and that I had run 9 miles before a lot of people were even out of bed.
My attitude this week is all positive! I am focusing on each day and not thinking about all of the miles that lie ahead. I went for my scheduled 3 mile run today and really enjoyed it. The feeling of running is amazing. Putting one foot in front of the other and getting from point A to point B under your own power is pretty cool. I also noticed things in nature that were absolutely beautiful.
I have 13 weeks left before race day and I am going to really try to have a positive attitude about the training. Here is what I would like to get out of this experience.
I want to finish the marathon training and the marathon and not get injured
I want to enjoy the entire marathon experience from the expo to the finish line. My kids and some of my extended family will be there to spectate so I am looking forward sharing this experience with them as well.
If you have any inspirational quotes or words of wisdom to get me through the long runs, I would love to hear from you!