What Training and Running a Marathon Taught Me about Running and Myself
It’s already been just shy of a week and a half since my first, full marathon and I am still riding those endorphins. Maybe since it’s 26.2 miles, the endorphins last for 26.2 days? Just a guess… 😉 As I was thinking about my marathon and what I’ve learned through training and actually running the race, it struck me that I hadn’t taken time to write out all my thoughts and get them down on paper – eh, the internet. Hopefully you guys don’t mind me babbling a little bit, because I have a sneaking suspicion that that is how this post is going to flow.
The first lesson I’ve learned that comes to mind when I think about the marathon, is that chasing after a big goal, whether that be a marathon, half marathon or anything else, takes consistency and patience. I am the world’s greatest ‘let me start something and dive right in, but not continue,’ type of person and I really don’t like that about myself. Yes, I am more likely to jump on something that others may think about for a while, but I find myself giving up too early and simply starting too many too many things and spreading myself too thin. I knew that when I signed up for this marathon, it was real and I needed to stick to my training plan, do the work (even when it was hard) and persevere. The training plan I chose was an 18 week plan (which is about four and a half months!) As I continued to stick with the plan and have patience with the process (you don’t run 26.2 miles overnight!) I was amazed at how much growth and change I saw not only in my body, but in my belief and my mental toughness. Patience in training + consistency = game changer.
Secondly, I learned, as a mom, to not let the training plan run my life. Yes, I needed to be consistent and just do it, even though sometimes that nine miles of stroller running in the brutal heat or five am wake-up calls to get a mid-week long run in before the family woke up. But, I also learned to balance the fact, that I can’t let my training plan or my ideal time I wanted to get out the door and run, run my day and control any of my attitude. It is simply, just a run and if I can’t get out the door when I wanted to, it had to be okay. My son or my husband or whatever the cause the for the delay, was and is more important than my early morning miles. I didn’t want to make excuses, but I also had to balance the fact that sometimes life just happens and I need to surrender what I can’t control (which is about 97.5% of life) to Jesus, who is in control and rest in that.
Similarly, I learned that when injuries come, the worst things to do are: 1. Freak out. 2. Run through the pain. Thankfully, I had already learned not to run through serious pain before and didn’t this training cycle. It was amazing to see the difference in my recovery and I only missed one full week of training as opposed to a season of training (which was my last injury.) Rest does wonders, people. Also, my worrier side of my loves to stress about every single ache or pain that comes with serious training and it really does me no good. Stress doesn’t add any benefit to ones life and I found, when I let go of my desire to stress/worry about a possible or real injury, I healed faster and found others things to enjoy while taking time off running. The mind is an amazing and powerful thing!
Lastly, I learned that we are capable of so much more than we believe. When I signed up for my marathon, there was obviously at least a little belief in me, that I could do it. However, to be honest, part of me was overwhelmed thinking of running twenty six point two miles in one stretch; especially since I was, at the time, only running around 1-3 miles at a time. However, I learned, through the weeks of training, and stretching, and growing, and changing, that with Jesus strength and a little belief, it really is more mental blocks that we put up for ourselves, rather than incapability. As I watched myself run 10 miles, then a half marathon (which I had done before), then 16 (more than I had ever gone at that point) and upwards toward the marathon, something clicked and I knew that I could do really, whatever I set my mind to. With that change in my mindset, I was able to walk into the race, with cautious confidence. I was confident I could do it and run my best and just enjoy the race, for the sake of enjoying it – and cautious because I ultimately didn’t know how every.single.part of the race would end up going.
Now that I’ve finished a marathon and completed that goal (a goal of mine for a long time), I am now convinced that through Jesus strength, I could do anything I set my mind to, as long as I am consistent, persevere, not stress about it, rest when I need to, and just enjoy the process. My ultimate, big running goal is Boston and I know it will take a lot of work. But, I am willing to give it the work and the time.
However, Boston isn’t in the near to immediate future. But, I can’t wait to see what’s up ahead for me this next training cycle. I am looking to break my half marathon PR and hopefully, another marathon in the spring!
I hope you guys have a great Tuesday! Catch you tomorrow!
Questions of the Day
- What is a goal you are currently chasing down?
- Do you have a favorite racing distance?
- What’s your best running/racing experience?