Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Let's Chat..........about Marathon Training.

SO this girl ^^^, she was something. She trained hard, she stayed focused and she crossed the finish line of her first 1/2 marathon and lived to go on to become a faster runner. (November 2012)

Have you seen her?? Because she is missing!!

2012 was the year I fell in love with running.
2013 might be the year we break up.

I'm about 1/2 way through week 9 of marathon training...........which means I'm closing in on the starting line of the biggest physical test I have yet to push myself. In some ways, it's no less important than anything I have yet accomplished- the first mile I ran without stopping, the full 60 seconds of burpees, push ups on my toes, etc..... Each time I push myself outside of my comfort zone to master something new, I'm one step closer to the best me I can be. That's the good news.

dirt roads are an amazing surface to run on. Like running on clouds.

Every marathoner is well familiar with the concept of "the wall". You're running, it's tough, you keep pushing, you're running, your mind is sharp, it's hot, the hill is growing instead of shrinking, your energy is fading...........and suddenly you find yourself willing to sell your left lung for the ability to get off the road and be done with the race. You're finished, beat, whipped.
For some, it comes at mile 8. Others- 10. Some 15, 18, 20, 22, and even 26.
(And I've heard that some don't even hit the wall during a marathon.......who are you and what do you put in your coffee-- I want some of it!!)
And others, like me, hit that wall before they even get to the starting line.

yep, that's me. I've hit the wall. Mentally and physically!! Everything in me wants to go- go- go- I've got this! This marathon is nothing, it's child's play. It's cake. (And let me tell you, I love cake.)
I say it- but I certainly don't feel it.

I know from my 1/2 marathon training that the most significant part of training is what is happening in your MIND. Your body can always, always do more than you think. It's your mind that gives out. My mental strength during training and during the race was superb, which is why my 1/2 was such a huge success for me. I knew- I KNEW I could run that race, and run it well. I missed training runs (including a long run), my mileage was off and I hit some not-so-happy bumps during training, but I was mentally on top of it all. It was tough, but I could do it.

Coming into marathon training, I was beyond psyched. The minute my 1/2 was over in November, my appetite for the full was born but I deliberately didn't rush it. I didn't want to go out and just run a marathon because I felt like it was the next step. I wanted to be ready. I wanted to be healthy and physically in good shape for the task.
They say it doesn't get easier, you just get stronger. During the past two months, it's definitely not been getting easier. If anything, it's getting harder. My miles have slowed back down (I gained a full minute of speed post- 1/2, but since beginning to train, I've lost it and am back to my pre 1/2 pace.), I actually have to take walk breaks (which is NOT typical for me) and my long runs have been a fight tooth and nail to finish.
The weather has made outside running difficult, so I've been running a significant portion of my runs on the treadmill. It's not my favorite.
I'm happy to say that I've been experiencing zero pain and my recovery is super speedy after my hard or long runs. This is a definite encouragement!
 While I'm not married to my training plan, I've tried to follow it as closely as possible. I run 4 days a week, including one long run, two days of cross training, two days of strength training and one day of rest. (Yes, that's 9 days, I do strength training on my running days with the lowest mileage.)
Thus far I've missed 2 long runs (both 12 miles) and a handful of the shorter weekly runs. My times have been slow, I've just felt off, and it's starting to get to my head.

Mentally, I'm starting to slightly panic. Can I do this?? At this point I should feel strong and confident and mostly ready to run this race. I feel anything but ready. While I'm definitely struggling physically, it's my mental insecurity that is really bothering me.

I won't quit, and I won't give up. Anything worth having is HARD work. I want to push myself. I want to embrace the rough road because it's good for me.

Marathoners-- did you experience this hiccup in your training? Did you hit a wall mentally before you even started?? How did you climb that wall?


  1. When I trained for my first marathon in March of 2011 I hit a mental wall, I actually took about a month off IN THE MIDDLE of my training. It was crazy and I was frustrated. I got worried too that I wouldn't make it and that maybe I had made a mistake. I missed a few long runs but I still go in one 20 mile run, but the entire training cycle was very rough. I did make it to marathon day, however I didn't really get to finish (long story short, it wasn't me it was course time limits, you can read about it on my blog I think I posted about it in June of 2012). My second go at marathon training I was much more motivated because I wanted redemption. Running is not easy for me and I have to work really really hard at it. But I am so glad that I stuck with it. I would say that it's ok to be frustrated, skip a run here or there but maybe reevaluate your expectation for race day. Maybe run just to finish and not have a time goal but know that you plan to run another one in the future. Training for my second marathon this past December was much better, there were a few snags along the way but over all a better experience. And race day was worlds different from the first one. Now I'm in my third marathon training cycle and it's even better than the last! I know it's frustrating but you are capable of so much more than you think. Listen to your body but don't give up!

    1. I went back and read your recap- that would have been so frustrating!! But, it made your success this year even that much sweeter!!
      Thanks for the encouragement!! :)

  2. Blah, I hit it before I got it!! I have had this nagging voice in my head FOREVER saying DO IT, TRAIN, DO IT...then the other voice saying NO, you have TWO KIDS, NO TIME TO TRAIN, DONT DO IT. First 1/2 next month and then it is SO onnnn. I hope! Ugh.

  3. Oh, honey!! I wish I had loads of advice for you! As you know, I'm in training for my first full too. When is yours and which one are you doing? I have 7 weeks left. I too run 4 days a week, including a long run. Honestly, I'm not able to get all my runs in during the week. Sometimes it's just impossible. I do struggle with missing a day, and thinking what if I'm not ready, but I just can't give those thoughts any of my time.
    You WILL be ready. You'll finish and you'll do great! Please email or facebook me anytime at all. Let's help each other do this!! :)

    1. I am running the Marathon in the Land of Oz in KC on April 20th-- which is just barely 6 weeks away. My longest run to date is only 14 miles, and it's starting to freak me out!
      Thanks so much for the encouragement! xoxo

    2. OMG, that is the same date as my first marathon too!!! I'm running the Carmel (Indiana) Marathon. My longest run has been 18, and I'm planning on going up to 20. You still have 6 weeks, you can do it!

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