Chicago marathon day is drawing closer, and my long runs are getting really long. As in over three hours long! Finishing is a confidence booster to be sure! Sometimes the pre-run jitters can creep in with these long distances though, and its easy to let them get the best of me. I try to remember that every run gets me one step closer to my goal.
This past weekend an 18 mile training run was on the schedule. To be honest, I dreaded it all week. As the day got closer the apprehension only worsened. I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to finish or that it would take forever! Last weeks run of only 12 miles was tougher than it should have been, and was still fresh in my mind.
I decided to prepare for this training run the way I would prepare for a race. I was really mindful of hydration and increased carbs the day before. Light snacks were packed in my running belt in case I needed them. Everything I needed for my run was laid out and ready before I turned in.
That morning I awoke to a sky that threatened rain. I had flashbacks of a half marathon I had previously run in the pouring rain, and blisters! Not something I wanted to repeat for sure. Body glide, check.
Driving to the starting point of the run I had to make peace with my fears. Today I was going to run 18 miles. It might be the worst experience of my life. Regardless I was determined to finish this run. If nothing else, sheer stubbornness would get me through.
The course was unfamiliar to me. I was thankful I didn’t know in advance how hilly it was! As I started the run, and the first few miles passed by I realized I was feeling really good. The weather a perfect 60 degrees, and that rain I feared? No more than a sprinkle every once in a while.
I just settled in at a comfortable pace, taking my time. “It’s not a sprint, its a marathon” I kept repeating to myself. The countryside I was running through was really beautiful, and that lifted my spirits as well. I had to pause a few times to photograph some particularly lovely scenes. I actually loved the ups and downs of the course, something I wouldn’t have expected.
I also tried something new. Usually I will listen to a music playlist while I run, sometimes an audio book. This time I tried a running podcast called Running for Real. It was recommended by a running group on facebook. I really enjoyed listening to the interviews with different guests from the running world, covering all sorts of topics interesting to runners. Listening to the podcast was really helpful to me during this run. It allowed me get into the running zone but didn’t detract from enjoying my surroundings. I will definitely try listening to podcasts on long runs in the future!
As I ran on, little by little the miles ticked by. By the time I had reached the half way point the fear was fading away, and quickly being replaced with elation. I was getting closer to my goal with every step, and I felt so strong, and capable! And I carried that feeling with me to mile 18. Knowing that I had more gas in the tank and I could have continued to run longer was inspiring! I guess there is no better confidence booster one month before my marathon than that.
I would like to think that I will go into my next long run with less trepidation. It was such a relief to not only finish the run, but to enjoy it. It’s easy to lose sight of why you enjoy running during a long training cycle. Marathon training is a journey and you never know what’s coming on the road ahead.
You just have to embrace it, and believe that whether its a great run, or a miserable one, you have what it takes to finish it! I am now one step closer to the marathon, and one run more prepared. I guess that’s what training for this race is all about.
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Keep Roaming! – Tina