Diary of a Marathon Trainee: One Mile at a Time

September 23rd, 2014 | In Running Meets Life, Training

I love marathons. I also love training for marathons, being able to periodically look back at the old you, who felt triumph at finishing the first 8-mile run that’s now the “breezy” first half of your long runs. But even though this is my third full marathon, there are a few aspects of the final weeks of training that I had forgotten about in my excitement to be training for one again.

  1. That point in time a couple weeks ago when the last hours of freedom slipped out of my life and my weeks became endless cycles of running and recovery.
  2. Having to go to bed before sunset the night before the long run. And staring at the ceiling stressing that I’m not asleep yet and how I won’t run well unless I go to sleep right NOW.
  3. Tottering on that line between too much coffee and not enough coffee, should’ve had a protein bar and really wish I hadn’t eaten that protein bar.
  4. Crawling into the shower and being immediately painfully aware of every little place I chaffed.
  5. That subtle sick feeling that creeps over me about an hour after a hard long run. It whispers Emily, go to sleep. Skip class. Shh, it’s okay.

But these things are not so bad. After all, they’re all physical issues, and marathon runners laugh in the face of physical issues. The worst part of the end of training is the nerves that are overcoming me as the race gets nearer. If I botched a run a month ago or even two weeks ago, I didn’t mind so much. I had nothing but time stretching ahead of me. But now every run feels significant: a crucial building block to the end, and a warning that it’s coming whether I’m ready or not.

So what do we do about it? I actually think a dose of stress is a healthy motivator to push through those last 5 miles when your legs are burning or to keep pace when you’re aching to slow down. Stress, or inner pressure, can be a great running buddy. When it doesn’t come in handy is in the days leading up to the next long run. Letting that anxiety go is one of my greatest challenges. I have to remind myself all the time that there’s nothing to be done about it yet.

The hours I’ve spent training for marathons have taught me as much about life as the years I’ve spent living it. I’ve changed that old saying about tomorrow’s troubles into phrasing I can intimately understand: Worrying doesn’t cover any distance. When the run comes, you will just have to do it. And the only way to do it is one mile at a time.

Written by: Emily Overcarsh

No People have left comments on this post