As my marathon training has started getting more serious, I’ve been thinking.
The last run I did (17k – just over 10 miles) was not enjoyable in any way. It was a battle from about 3k onwards. But I realised during it that sometimes you will have these kinds of runs. You’ve just got to get it done.
It’s strange because I ran home from work a few days previous (7.5 miles) and felt great – strong and fit. But at the weekend when I was due to run for 2 hours (without caring about distance or speed), I just knew it was going to be a bad one. The inner chimp on my shoulder telling me to stay in bed because it’s cold and stick on another episode of Game of Thrones. ‘You don’t need this’ is what it was telling me. ‘There’s always another day to run’.
The problem is, if you listen to your inner chimp then those days wasted turn into weeks quicker than you can say marathon.
So, battling my own dilemma, I put my shoes on and went for it. Carpe Diem and all.
What I learnt is you simply can’t enjoy every run. There will always be days when you just feel sluggish or a little niggle is affecting you. But, in those moments of doubt, you need to remember that these runs are all about getting the job done.
It won’t be enjoyable and it won’t be your PB, but they are the miles you need to embrace if you want to achieve and smash your goals. Mine being the Brighton Marathon in a few months time means these are the runs I cannot bail on. I’d be bailing on myself. On my goals.
And, trust me, if you conquer your own demons you’ll be psychologically in a much stronger place when it comes to race day. Who’s song was it ‘when the going gets tough, the tough get going‘?… Possibly the wisest words ever said by Boyzone.
The tough runs are the most valuable
Those tough runs are the most valuable to your training. The ability to conquer your mind will help you get around that marathon. You can’t only run in ideal conditions every time. That won’t get you to the finish line.
For me, when I pass the 18-20 mile mark in Brighton, I will remember every single step of those painful runs and have confidence in myself to not give up. Just like last weekend, I’ll get the job done.
Running has never come easily to me. Each extra mile is hard work. Do I run out of love? Absolutely not. But I want to challenge myself and I want to run a marathon.
And the beauty of it is the more unenjoyable runs you do, the more you’ll enjoy it.