Sun 29 Jan 2012
There comes a point during my marathon training when I become “running tough”. It typically happens when my long run exceeds 15 miles. It’s that point when running the first six miles of a long run is easy and effortless. I don’t count the miles, I’m just running. My body knows what to do and my mind accepts the fact that I can run—a long way.
But it took a concerted effort to get there. My body wasn’t in condition, but worse yet, my mind wasn’t either. In the beginning of my training, when I was moving from an 11 mile run to a 12 mile run, to a 13 mile run, etc., I felt fear when I started my long run. My mind was telling me I would be hurting before I stopped. If it was hot, my mind would tell me that I might feel nauseous as I neared the final miles.
Even though I have completed 13 marathons, I must overcome the barriers my mind is throwing in front of me, every time I train. It’s like my mind is moving in two directions, one side is saying, “You’ve been here before, you know you can do this.” But the other side is saying, “Yeah, but it hurts and you’re going to get really tired.” Every time I finish that long run, I always, always think—well, that wasn’t so bad.
Isn’t this true of anything we strive for, especially if it is something we haven’t done before—and especially if we are middle-age? We all have had challenges to overcome, and it was hard. If we are presented with a new or repeat challenge, either we can allow our mind to convince us that it will be or was hard or we can concentrate on our ability to overcome instead.
It’s like training for a marathon, especially if you ran one before. If the negative thoughts win, you won’t stick with the training. If the positive thoughts win, you will complete another marathon and maybe run it faster than you ever thought you could.
It is amazing. I ran 17 miles yesterday and my follow-up run today was 10. I started my Garmin thinking, okay, it’s ONLY 10. Yep, I was tired from yesterday, but I got through the first 6, no sweat (pun intended) before I started counting the miles. It really is incredible what we can do if we just push forward and do it.
It is 11 weeks to Boston and my training is on track. My weekly mileage was 53 including a circuit weight-lifting class and a hot yoga class. I posted a 17 mile run on Saturday followed-up by a 10 mile run on Sunday.