At some point in training there is a moment (or 100) when you question if you can achieve your goal. It’s the middle of a long run that isn’t going well; it’s after a speed work session that bombed; it’s at mile 22 of the race. The good news is that it happens to everyone. It’s one of the mental tools we need on race day; to know we have persevered and can do this no matter how hard it feels. To know that everyone around us has been through those moments too and is now pushing on together.
TIPS TO OVERCOME
After talking to some amazing athletes and listening to some inspiring speakers I am going to remember the following on race day when the negative voices appear:
Take One step: I’ll be taking a note from Meghann who just finished Miami 70.3 -- “Just five more minutes”. I can do anything for 5 minutes. Need an even smaller thought when you find yourself wondering if you can’t…just take one more step. Don’t focus on the hundreds that will follow, but simply that one next step.
Think Gratitude: During my long runs, I often spend some time running through all of the things that I am thankful for in life. It lifts the spirit, which pulls up a body that is slumping from fatigue and since one of the things I am always grateful for is running it reminds me to be grateful for the chance to run that race and be in that moment.
Get all Tony Robbins: Cheesy? Sure!! But he is one of the best at reminding us to say things that will change our state…for example “Everyday in every way I am getting strong and stronger”. Try that while running and see if you don’t pick up your pace!
Remember the training: At mile 23 when I want to cry because Florida didn’t have any hills, I will remember all those hours I spent running the bridges. I will remember pushing through speed work sessions that I would have shied away from in the past. I will remember that those felt tough too, but I did them and survived.
If none of that works, then I’ll just remember one of my favorite race day signs “Smile. You signed up for this!”
NYC MARATHON GOALS
**The original post was written before Sandy…now I’m not sure what my goal is as the entire experience seems a bit surreal. I wanted to share this anyways because I think the feelings and emotions are still useful to anyone attempting a new goal.**
Going in to NYC I’m nervous. Excited for the experience, but nervous about my goals. In this round of training, I did something I had not in any of the previous six:
- I did speed work every single week.
- I did my tempo run at MP every single week.
- I cross trained consistently building better stability and overcoming weaknesses.
- I avoided injury.
It feels like with all of this in my pocket, I should be on track to easily hit my goal of a sub 4 hour marathon. But what I’m also carrying around is a stomach parasite that has been keeping my body from absorbing protein, zapping me of energy and preventing me from doing as many weekly miles as I hoped. This in combo with the hormone imbalance is what has created the concern that my training isn’t enough.
BUT…there is my problem. That single word. Thus on marathon day, I’ll be using every word except that one. I did the training. I am strong. I am a runner. I am successful. I am…a sub 4 hour marathon runner.
When I let go of the fear of failing the goal is there and within my reach: a sub 4 hour finish and a smile.
The smile is every bit as import as the PR. Running fuels me in a way that nothing else ever has and it’s important to me to remember that regardless of the clock.
I am grateful to all of those who have supported me along the way to race day. I might put in the miles on the road, but the training is never done alone.