The Mental Battle
Luckily this was slated as a stepback week with 24.5 miles and included a long run of a half marathon with the Big D Half Marathon in Dallas (see my previous post about using races as training runs!). However, I was unrealistic about my ability to get this done. I didn’t feel great after last Saturday’s trail 25K – not sore really at all, more feeling sick and exhausted. I didn’t run Monday or Tuesday because of this, then did a run of 3.5 miles on Wednesday where I had no energy. I proceeded to spend the next 3 days supervising packet pickup for the primary pickup location for Big D Marathon race packets, which meant 36 hours on my feet, low back pain, and long days, and resulted in no runs Thursday, Friday, and Saturday
Sunday I went ahead and did a pretty good job of treating the half marathon as a training run (no racing, even in the last tenth of a mile!). Since I had done 15.5 miles on trail the previous weekend, I came home from that half marathon and, with stiffening legs, went out and did another 3 miles to bring the total to 16 miles.
Plan: 24.5 miles. Actual: 20.3 miles.
Sunday’s 16 miles were done in one of the worst running weather days I can remember for only being April. 80 to 85 degrees with full sun – it was a scorcher with not being acclimated to these temperatures yet. Those were hard miles to get done and scared me a little…maybe a lot.
After conversations on Twitter Sunday as I worked through getting in the miles, it’s become so obvious to me how mentally defeated I am about the marathon distance.
While I think some newer runners don’t respect the distance enough, I have moved beyond respecting it to flat out fearing the distance of a full marathon.
Therefore, new goal! The way I work on physically preparing myself for the marathon, I need to invest time, energy, and thought into mentally preparing myself as well. I will focus on reframing the negative self-talk into positive messages.
Here’s an example…
Original thought: “My gosh, it was so hard to do 16 in this heat today. How will I ever go 10 more miles?”
New thought: “Wow, even just completing these long runs between now and race day in the Texas heat will make me so strong. And then the beautiful temperate San Francisco race day weather will make running the same distances feel much easier.”
Hopefully as my long runs increase, so will these attempts at boosting my self-confidence about the task at hand!
Midweek runs of 3, 6, 3, 3. Saturday will be a short run as there’s a group social run in the morning for a new running club, North Texas Runners, in my area. Long run of 15 miles (no race planned). Total miles: 30.
Libby Jones has been running for 5 years, is a self-described “serial half-marathoner”, but has never attempted the marathon distance. She is also an active part of the Dallas-Fort Worth running community. She is the Founder and Race Director of the New Year’s Day Half Marathon in Allen, Texas; the Executive Race Director for Heels and Hills, a non-profit geared towards getting women fit and active; the North Texas State Representative for the Road Runners Club of America; past Dallas Running Club President & 2008 RRCA Scott Hamilton National Outstanding Club President Award Winner; and an RRCA-certified running coach. She’s also a wife to Steve and a mother to Marissa (3 yrs) and Sophie (3 1/2 months). Read her blog “The Active Joe” and follow her on Twitter @libbyruns