This is going to sound crazy, especially if you have read a lot of my posts and know that my philosophy is, “If you run, you are a runner.” It doesn’t matter how far or how fast you go. You are a runner.
As many of you know, I had a baby eight months ago. Since then I have been on a comeback to get myself back in physical and running shape. I decided last fall to sign up for two marathons, one in May in the Poconos and the other in June in Duluth, Minnesota.
When I started my training plan back in February, I was a little nervous. Would my speed come back? How would my body handle the miles? Had I done enough base mileage before starting my training? I was worried that I was setting myself up for failure.
I have a friend who is a great running coach and a great runner. In fact, she set up my training plan (yes, running coaches seek out other running coaches for help). One thing I remembered her telling me years ago was, not to worry about my pace on my runs. “You will naturally start to get faster during your training.”
The first time I followed her plan, I did worry about my paces. They didn’t seem to be getting any faster. Maybe I wasn’t doing the plan correctly. But it all came together on race day, and I started noticing it before then too…..
This week marked my 12th week of marathon training. Something awesome started to happen at the end of last week, just like the last time. I was out for a speed work session, running against the wind, and yet I felt strong. I felt fast. I felt like my legs were working just the way they should.
This is exactly what happened to me last time too. I got to a point in the training where things started to come together and I “felt like a runner.” Sure I have always been a runner. Something was just working for me and it felt great.
I truly believe that this is what happens when you listen to your body, follow a solid plan, and take care of yourself. Don’t worry about your pacing, let the plan do that for you. Take breaks or rest days when your body is calling for them. Adjust when needed. Fuel and hydrate throughout. And then let the pieces fall into place when they are supposed to.
That isn’t to say that you won’t have days where your body feels like lead, or you won’t feel slow and sluggish. Training is supposed to make you feel all of those crazy things. But keep moving along, and you will start to see the puzzle come together.