Good morning. I conquered a 16-mile run last weekend. (The new longest run of my life.) Regular readers know, this is my first time training for a marathon. I knew the mental part of training would be hard, but I don’t think it’s possible to truly grapple with it until you’re in it. The physical challenge is easy enough to predict. Of course running for hours is grueling. Running for 20 minutes teaches you that. But the mind stuff? That gets exponentially tougher with increased time/distance. (You know, for me at least.)
It was so easy to write down the distances to create a training plan. Super easy – fun even – to add them to my Google calendar and to map out routes on Strava. But the night before I was slated to run 16 miles, I was in a state of disbelief. My 15-mile run was TOUGH even though it was entirely flat. The idea that I was going to run 16-miles in the Berkshires with no bathrooms and tons of hills seemed, quite frankly, preposterous.
On Saturday, the morning of the run, I woke up with no desire to get out the door. But I did, of course, get out the door. I committed to running the first miles at a very slow pace and that was very necessary since the first 3+ miles were straight up hill. I stopped a ton those first 3 miles.
But somewhere around mile 4 my route sloped downward and I started to sing along to Hamilton (yeah, that’s back in my running tune-age) and things started to feel doable. Some time around mile 8 my body felt physically fine but I was just really bored. I knew I could keep running but I wasn’t excited about the idea. I thought having some sugar might put it a little pep in my step and so I had a PowerBar Simple Fruit Gel (it has caffeine!).
That helped for a little bit. Then my feet started to hurt, and there wasn’t much I could do. So I just kept putting on songs that I liked, singing aloud when I had the energy and trying to appreciate my pretty running route. And then, eventually I was done.
I’m not prepared to end this anecdote with any major life lesson, but I think you’re picking up what I’m gently putting down: You can do hard stuff.
Here’s a complete look at week 11 of marathon training:
Tuesday: Slept through running class (whoops) and ran 3 miles by myself. I think racing the day after a 15-mile run was probably dumb. I was so burnt out that this 3-mile jaunt was a total slog.
Wednesday: Physical therapy
Thursday: 8-mile run. I ran over the Queensboro Bridge for the first time (mile 16 of the NYC marathon)
Saturday: 16-mile run, described above
Sunday: 5.2 mile bike ride (to lunch)
How do you motivate for an intimidating run?