The other day while in Northern Wisconsin I did one of my regular 7 mile runs. This run wasn’t particularly different than any other run but near the end I felt myself really struggling. I had a half mile yet to go and let’s face it, that is often when our minds start to wander and we either rally or hit Struggle Town.
These days, my runs present new and different struggles due to the pregnancy (check back later this week for an update). Despite those struggles I have been lucky to continue with my daily running. I don’t push myself like I used to but on this one I knew that my body could handle finishing those 7 miles and I didn’t want to let myself stop.
It is important for us to remember that not every day is a training run. We don’t always need to push our speed, pace, or distance. It isn’t always a competition. However, there is something that can always be gained from every session. I truly believe each daily run presents us with the opportunity to learn more about ourselves or our training.
A few years ago I ran my first marathon and unknowingly qualified for Boston. I didn’t get the opportunity to run Boston and it has been my goal to qualify again and toe the line of that big race. My goal has been to find a marathon post baby to get myself back in shape and achieve my Boston goal.
I have to admit that as my pace has slowed with pregnancy I start to question if I will ever get my speed back to where it once was. When I ran that first marathon I ran strong, but didn’t quite push myself anywhere near my limits. Yet, now that I am pregnant I wonder how the heck I will find my old pace. It seems like something from the distant past.
As I struggle with this run I realized that regardless of what my goal was on that particular day, there was something to be gained on a mental level. Whether you are doing a 5k, a marathon, or an ultra it is almost a certain fact that you will come to a point in any race where you struggle both mentally and physically. If you are pushing yourself, odds are that you will have those burning lungs and tired, heavy legs. Your mind will wander and question your ability to finish a race or to achieve a goal you have set for yourself. And it will be your job to push through that pain or those negative thoughts in order to reach your goals.
While every run doesn’t have to be your longest or your fastest, it can always be an opportunity to remind yourself of how strong you are or how far you have come as an athlete Those last minutes of my run were a real struggle, just like those last few miles of any marathon will likely be. And that was when I realized that it was my turn to act like Wilson Phillips and “Hold On.” I kid you not, when the thought came to mind, Wilson Phillips popped into my head. And that song was stuck in my mind for days as I contemplated this.
When you feel those struggles coming on or the negative thoughts pop into your head, you truly do need to hold on. By doing this during your daily runs, you will be able to fall back on those moments during races that come with some difficulties. And if all else fails you can throw on some Wilson Phillips and sing along to “Hold On.”