Warning: this post contains no Iceland content!
Last May, it seemed like a bit of a laugh to sign up for a marathon in April 2012. Having always sworn I would never do one as it was just too hard, I got carried away as my friend had just signed up for one and it would give me something NEW to train for rather than following the same old training schedule for the same old half marathons. Believe it or not these things sell out so quickly that you really do have to fight to get into them and sign up way before you have any intention of actually doing it! I wouldn’t have to start any training until December, which was a good long time away. I had the bliss of being in denial about the whole thing for months.
I kept in the back of my mind, “I don’t actually HAVE to do this…it’s a big time commitment and if I just don’t feel like it or the training is too hard, I can just stop.” That was the only way for me to cope with the thought of having to really raise my game.
Fast forward to now and my last few months have involved:
- Long runs that take forever and bring pains in all kinds of weird places
- Experimenting to find food and drink that I can not only keep down but actually fuels me around my runs and helps with my recovery afterwards. OK, so it’s hardcore athlete type stuff I can only buy online…
- All these weird products I never had to worry about before – I’m now finding that they’re really useful! Who knew there was such a thing as Bodyglide?
- Finding out that I must be doing something right as I still don’t get any “real” injuries, but just annoying yet painful ones like leg cramp, chafing (never knew what all the fuss was about before on the running forums) and having a stomach that doesn’t like to run after eating just about anything. Nothing bad enough to require an ambulance!
Probably the hardest part now is the long run on the weekend – not only have they got so long that they take up half my day, but they completely wipe me out for the rest of the weekend and I really don’t feel like doing anything else.
In case you’re wondering why I do all this, I do love running, it kind of sorts out the rest of your life in terms of taking away your stress and giving you thinking time and it’s by far the best exercise I’ve found. It’s just all a bit time consuming right now. 🙂
It’s been a good excuse to buy myself treats along the way too and no, they aren’t all food related! My latest buy are these Union Jack trainers – as we’ve got the Olympics this year we are allowed to be patriotic in the UK for once.
Now the race is less than 5 weeks away and I’ve had a bit of a revelation in the last week. I actually feel confident now that I CAN do this. My training has gone really well lately. My mileage is higher than ever so in theory I would have thought I’d be at my worst and really not enjoying the runs. Although my legs definitely feel “worked” (and I spend most of the day yawning) my runs have all come together all of a sudden and everything just feels normal.
I’m still going to aim for a particular time goal at the race, although I think it will be a tight one. It’s manageable based on my training times, but will involve pushing myself the whole way. I know in reality on the day I will just have to do whatever feels right but having a goal does help.
I’m writing this post partly to encourage and remind myself of these positive thoughts in case it all starts getting hard again in the next weeks– you really have to appreciate your good runs when you have them as they can be few and far between! I still find it scary to think about the actual race as running is unfortunately quite unpredictable and even if you’ve followed your plan and eaten the right things and everything else it can still go wrong on the day. But this is the most positive I have felt about it for a while and I’m glad I’ve stuck with it. It will certainly influence how I do any more training for shorter races in the future and I will be less afraid of pushing myself.
Any running advice or stories always welcome!