There’s something about marathon training that teaches you a lot, both about yourself and also about the human psyche. Perhaps it’s the necessity of having hours with only your own thoughts as you pound the pavement (almost by definition of training for a marathon), but I’ve been thinking a lot about what marathon training is teaching me about myself and others who do the same. Here are a few of the things. No doubt I’ll learn more as my training picks up for the next four weeks.
I can run
It’s an on-going joke with my boyfriend that as soon as I get into running, I injure myself, and that anything above a 5k might as well be a marathon. It’s been pretty awesome to realise that a lot of that fear of running far is in my head. Sure, injuries are physical, but the fear that we so often get after an injury/accident can be significantly more debilitating than the injury itself. Three years on from my chronic IT band pain I was still apprehensive about running further than 10km for fear of being set back years. But with the right amount of rest, the right shoes and right training plan, I have (touch wood) really impressed myself with not only the fact that I CAN run far (I recently did my first 10k race and half marathon), but that I’m finally allowing myself to enjoy it, and I think that’s something to be celebrated.
I’m lazier than I thought
I say this partly in jest. It is perfectly normal to put off tasks that, let’s face it, are not necessarily as appealing as sitting in bed watching prison break. Procrastination can sometimes get to the point where it’s actually too late to do something anymore, and you end up not doing it because you’ve put it off for so long and the moment has passed. People ask me how I stay so motivated and the reality is, I am not always motivated. I have discipline and enjoyment, and both these things have always been enough to get me to the gym or to boxing on time. However, with running it’s different. Running is not something I naturally love every second of, so it takes that little bit more energy to get myself outside in the cold (and often dark) outdoors to do my training for the day. BUT what I have discovered is that my discipline is very much in check. I haven’t missed a training day (although I have postponed a couple to fit with my schedule) and I am proud of that. As Adrienne says ‘you can do hard things’, and it’s blooming cool to realise that I can.
People who constantly run marathons are somewhere between sadists and gods
Marathon training is really, really hard. It’s not just that each run is difficult (although lots of them are), it’s also that you have to consistently push yourself harder, and there’s not really any possibility of settling into a routine during training. People who frequently put themselves through this baffle me, and I have continuing respect (and a little fear) for them all. And yet the sense of community when you find someone else who is also running a marathon is also incredible, so I can see how people become addicted. Pushing physical boundaries alongside thousands of other people has to be one of the most incredible experiences ever, and I’m excited to be a part of that, no matter how painful it is getting there.
I would love to hear what you learned as part of your training! Whether it’s for a marathon, cross-fit competition or your first 5k – it’s all valid!