I have noticed over the past week or so that my runs have become increasingly harder. The first mile starts out OK, and I feel exhilarated. The second mile I start to feel winded, and my arches hurt a bit (Like a huge needle pocking the middle of my foot, that has persisted since my teens. Not to worry though, it only lasts a few seconds and then doesn’t come back until my next run.). Along comes the third mile and I start to think of making the next corner and heading home. Inevitably mile four comes along and I start to feel good and am ready to run all day. Then around mile eight I am ready to stop again.
I have been asking many friends for their input on this, and have received some very positive feedback. Thanks to all that have tolerated my many questions, and still manage to give me great ideas and answers.
It seems that I am not different from most runners. As the weekly mileage climbs at or above 30 we all seem to experience the same sorts of mental and physical mutiny from our bodies. Mentally we start to think of shortcuts, or perhaps even think of stopping. At each crossroad we think that if we only take the next turn we can simply cut todays run a bit short. Some have said that when they experience this they try to turn it around a bit and think in a little different way. As an example they may tell themselves that they still feel OK and will wait until the next crossroad to make the turn home, or start walking. Then they repeat the same thing at the next crossroad, and it seems to keep them going.
I have read Hal Higdon’s book Marathon, and in it he also states that 30 miles seems to be a point in weekly mileage that causes troubles for runners. Most of what he referred to was related to injuries and such, but he did make small references to mental aspects as well.
Another ideas that friends spoke of are to read marathon related books for motivation, and to renew the inner drive that we all feel when we start training. There are many out there, and as I find them I will post them here for you all to benefit from. I personally think that this will help since I constantly felt motivated while reading the book I spoke about earlier. I am not a fast reader, and it took me awhile to finish the book at a mere chapter or two per day. But it was enough to get me this far, and now I simply need something new for my mind to chew on.
Printing out my training program and posting it by my computer monitor is also a good idea. Then each day I can mark off (with some highlighter or something see through) the miles I recently ran. This will allow me to keep track of what I have done, as well as look forward to my next run. Many marathon veterans say that they used to do this, and it worked. (I wonder why they “used to do it”, and what do they do now?)
Other ideas include running with a buddy, and/or involving others in your training so they push you a little. Making sure your sleep and nutrition levels are where they should be for marathon training was another. There is also the feeling that once my body gets used to the mileage I will also feel better, and each of my shorter runs will carry less stress.
So, based on the feedback and my own thoughts on the subject I now know that I simply need to drive on. I will heed the advice given, and will also continue to do the best I can. For now my mind will stay in control of my body and I will run farther and faster until I reach my goals.