Happy Monday! A little recap from my weekend and the lesson I learned:
Isn’t it frustrating running a 15 miler that feels ten times harder than your 18 miler the week before? That’s what happened to me this past weekend. Granted, I spent the first part of the week dealing with a doozy of a stomach bug that completely knocked me out. That certainly didn’t help matters. But either way, this past weekend’s 15 miler was just plain difficult.
The frustrating part was that the week before I braced myself for a tough 18 miler. I hadn’t done a run that far in awhile and 3 weeks into marathon training, I assumed I was going to struggle. But I rocked it! And I felt like a rockstar! Every mile seemed to fly by and I felt strong. Even when I ran home into the wind for the second half, I found that my conversation pace was faster and easier than I had expected.
So when I went into the fall back week, I left home thinking that it was awesome to think of it as an “easy” fifteen. Before I hit mile 10, things started to suck. My shoulder started to burn (go figure) and my glutes were screaming. I felt depleted (might have had to do with said stomach bug).
In the last two miles I found myself digging deep. The running coach in me was urging myself along. That was when it hit me. If this was race day, I would have to dig deep and keep going. Chances are I will feel like this at some point during race day.
Not every run is easy and marathon training is meant to push you to the brink. Most long runs have a point where you question yourself, your body, or your sanity. Sometimes you question all of those at the same time! Yet each run, pushes your body and makes you stronger. And those rough training runs teach you a very important lesson.
If you didn’t have terrible runs at some point during training you wouldn’t get the chance to push yourself past those rough spots. On race day when you hit a moment of struggle, you can remind yourself that you have been there before and you have gotten through it. Those awful runs and horrible moments teach us that we are strong and in fact, they make us stronger. Now you know that you can survive and on race day, survive you will!
On the flip side, if your training went off without a hitch and you got to race day and were met with some adversity, it would be easy to question your ability to continue. You might not know how your body would handle this moment. By dealing with this during training you are better prepared.
Keep in mind that at some point it is okay to stop or hang up the shoes during a run. You should never push yourself past a major injury, or to the brink of dehydration. You need to play it smart and know when it might be wise to take a break. Walking is always an option. Yet, there will be times when you must trust your body and let your mind take over. Remind yourself that when your body says it must quit, your body (and you) are much, much stronger.
Always remember that every mile in running is different. No two miles are ever the same. Just when you think you will have to stop and hang up your shoes, another mile sneaks up that makes you feel like you could take on the world. I have had runs that start out feeling so great I want to add on an extra five, only to quit a mile later. And I have had runs that started out so awful and depressing, I thought I would never make it. But sometimes, those runs and those races end up being the ones we remember the most and we the ones we love the most.