It is hard to believe that Sunday morning I will be running my second half-marathon. When I first started training in February, the month of May seemed so far away. Now here we are, only days to go before the Flying Pig.
Am I nervous? You could say so, but to be honest I am not sure what I am nervous about. Up until the last couple of weeks, I stuck to my training schedule much better than I did the first time I ran a half. The longest run I completed was 10 miles so I know I can finish those 13.1, but it is just the anxiety that leads up to that starting line that is the hardest part to deal with.
I feel like I have also done a great job of listening to my body. I have rested when I felt run down and I have pushed myself into believing that I can do this. Here are a few other things I have learned from half-marathon training:
1) You are your own worst enemy.
Sounds a little cryptic, I know. However, the truth is that at those times when I doubted my capabilities, I was the only one who did. My husband, family, and friends never doubted my ability to train and finish the race, but it was me who told myself I couldn’t do it sometimes. It was my own self-doubt that told me to quit, to not sign up for the race, or to push myself to the edge or I won’t finish. Luckily, I am blessed to have those around me to encourage me during those darker times. It is true that no marathon is ran alone, but it is also ‘ran’ by the supporters around us.
2) Training with a partner is fun!
I used to think that I only liked to run alone, that way I could control my pace and my schedule. However, training with my husband has been an incredible experience that I will never forget. It taught me that I can run faster than I originally thought possible, and it reminded me that running can be fun and doesn’t have to be all business. I looked forward to these runs more than ever, because I knew it would be quality time I got to spend with Tim. Training with a partner also taught me to be a little more flexible since we both had to be available. I used to be very rigid with my work out schedule, but this time I had to share that schedule with my husband. If we couldn’t run in the morning, then we would run at night. If we didn’t run Monday, we would run Tuesday, etc. etc. It was good for me to have more flexibility and to relinquish some control.
3) Running doesn’t have to be your life.
This is a personal experience, and I am obviously not a trainer so take this with a grain of salt. So many half-marathon training plans consisted of running at least 5 days a week, and running 20-30 miles a week. I knew right off the bat that one of these programs were not going to be right for me. I wanted to run the half-marathon, but I didn’t want running to take over my life. I also know that my body is more apt to get sick or injured if I didn’t give it the proper amount of rest. Because of this, I created my own plan where I only ran a maximum of three days a week. This may not be right for everyone, but it worked out great for me.
4) Listen to your body.
To go along with the above, make sure that you are listening to your body while training. If your knees, ankles, calves are hurting, then rest them! Use some ice, stretch extra, get in proper nutrition, etc. If you feel yourself getting sick, make sure you get extra sleep, skip a day of exercise, take a vitamin supplement (like Amazing Grass). Do whatever you have to do to not get sick! Training can take months and months. It is better to miss a day of running than to get sick, or get injured, which can take you out of the running game completely.
5) Cherish every run.
You may read this and think, yah right! Trust me, this was tough for me too. There were so many times when I would dread going for a run, or would be on my first mile and wish I was on my last. However, I tried to be very conscious about enjoying my runs and be thankful for the ability to run. So many people would love to run or train for a half, and I didn’t want to take my chance for granted. Of course there were moments when I didn’t want to run anymore, but I would say a couple prayers, put on a favorite running outfit, and listen to Pandora during my runs. Good music always keeps me pumped up and gives me a reason to look forward to my runs when no other pep-talk would work.
There we have it. Just a few of the many things I have learned about training. At this point, I am only running one more time before Sunday (maybe a 2 or 3 mile run), and then it is time to run 13.1. Thank you for all of your support and encouragement up to this point! I don’t know what will come after the run, but as of right now all I know is that a half-marathon is waiting for me!
1) What are some tips, tricks, thoughts that you learned while training for an athletic event?
2) Anything you would like to add to my above list?
3) Do you like running with a partner, or by yourself?
4) How do you cherish your runs?