"If you’ve raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses? If you stumble in safe country, how will you manage in thickets by the Jordan?" (Jeremiah 12:5). Our journey is intended to be more than simply "stumbling" through the days while the world "wears us out.” We are made to experience the thrill of "running with horses” and to navigate life amongst the "thickets." The RWH blog focuses on both the spiritual race of which Jeremiah speaks, and the physical act of running that I absolutely love. In short, it's where "the miles meet the Message" to provide insight, perspective & encouragement that might enable you & I to successfully run either of the races set before us. May our course be purposeful and may we be passionate in our pursuit of the abundant life He desires for us.
Thursday, May 26, 2011
It's not 100% 'mental', just 99.9%!
Fast forward to post-marathon running. I have yet to hit that no good wall. In fact, I am more and more a believer that it might just be a result of poor preparation and / or poor race day management. BUT ....... I do believe running a marathon is a mental challenge that you have to be ready to undertake when you sign up. And I'm not talking about race day. As I am now within 4 weeks of kicking off another official training cycle, I am starting to recall the challenges from my previous experiences and those that fill the pages of any good marathon 'how to' manual.
First, consider that the 18 week journey that lies before you, will likely require 89 runs and between 600 - 700 miles. For a first timer that can seem like a daunting task in and of itself. Plus, as each run builds on the previous one, there is little room for missing a single workout. Now, think about the 100 +/- actual exercise events during those 126 days, (remember that one of the days off is a rest day, while the other should be cross training), and that's a mountain of sweaty clothes, day upon day of multiple showers and a tanker truck full of Powerade and GU!
If you can work through those non-running logistics, you will face the running ones. I've always said the most surprising part of marathon training is that the running really didn't take a lot of time, but that's only because many workouts started at 5:00 a.m. and some treadmill runs started near midnight. And I can't tell you how many times I said, "no dessert tonight, long run tomorrow" (that's a killer!). I also always found myself thinking several workouts ahead in order to be at the right place with the right gear, especially during travel. Starting to get the picture?
The good news is that ANYONE can manage the physical demands of training your body for distance running. My goodness, think about the Biggest Loser participants completing a marathon. The trick really is managing the mental demands of maintaining discipline around training and flexibility around your schedule. The good news to that is, as with most of our behavior, it quickly becomes habit after a few weeks. Do that and you will have a great experience. Do that and you will win the mental game. Do that and you might even get to the finish and say to yourself, "WOW, I guess they forgot to put the wall out on the course today!
Make it a great day!