Hello and happy Monday! It truly is a happy Monday for me as I have the day off from work and no major committments. This is a rare occasion so I am soaking it all in.
Today, I am super excited because it marks the first day of marathon training. Yes, I am going to (hopefully) achieve my dream of running a marathon. I say hopefully, because injuries, life, etc. happen. But, with my fingers crossed, I will be running the Richmond marathon come November.
Running a marathon has been a dream of mine since my first 5k when I was 10 years old. I felt so accomplished after my first 5k race that I told myself that one day I would run a marathon. And now seems like the right time to do it.
Why now? Well, there are many reasons why I feel like the timing is right.
For one, I am at a place mentally and physically, where I feel like I can train to do my best.
Last year, when I trained for my last half marathon, I was NOT nourishing my body the way I should have been nourishing it. Yes, I finished the half and actually did pretty well, but my body and mind felt absolutely DESTROYED afterward. Because I was not feeding myself enough, I was tired, irritable, and struggled through all of my training runs. Looking back, it makes sense why I felt so horrible and didn’t want to run. Running had become a miserable and painful experience, not a fulfilling and fun one, like it had always been.
After a lot of self-searching, I took a LOT of time off from all exercise. I increased my food intake exponentially, not only in amount but variety. I put time and effort towards not only healing my body, but also healing my mind, and reclaiming a healthy attitude towards my body. I can honestly say that I love my body and am constantly astounded by the amazing capabilities it has. I am so thankful for my body now, and am not consciously trying to change it.
During my break from exercise, running was not a priority at all. Even when I started exercising more regularly again, it still wasn’t. But for about 2 months now, my love for running has been rekindled. The old feeling of itching to go out on the roads and trails on a sunny day, the feeling of breathing hard as I push my body, widening my stride as I glide down a hill, stopping to walk when I’m tired…these are the feelings that have returned to me when I run. I’ve been finding myself enjoying being outside for longer than usual, soaking in the endorphins. Running has become my freedom: not an activity I have to do, but an activity that I get to do and enjoy.
So, I’m feeling ready to take on the 26.2. Yes, it is a long way to run. But I think my body is ready for the challenge, as well as my mind. I’m going to hold myself accountable though, during my training. I will be making sure I eat MORE, not less. I’m not one to count calories anymore, but on long run days, I am aware that my hunger is not necessarily the best marker of my caloric needs. Many runners have suppressed appetite after long runs. I realize that during training, I will need to eat more than I’m sometimes hungry for, or more than I “think I need.”
I am going to take days off if I need to. It is way better to show up on race day a little undertrained than overtrained and injured.
Sleep and relationships will always come ahead of running. Yes, running is a love of mine, but I don’t ever want it to get in the way of other things that are important to me. Friends, family, fun outings…these will win over an extra run or cross-training session. And sleep, my greatest friend and ally. Rest is super important to me, and I will prioritize it.
My plan is one of lower mileage, and lasts longer than most, at 22 weeks. Looking at it, I was doubting myself thinking, “Maybe I need to have higher mileage…” and “maybe I should just do a 16 week program…” But right now, looking at this plan, it looks like something I can stick to, for the long haul. I’m very open to adjustments and switching things around if need be. Basically, I don’t want this to become stressful. I want to have fun and enjoy the training cycle.
In the end, I am doing this because I want to give myself a challenge. I want something fun to look forward to. I love working towards goals and the feeling of accomplishment. It is not about my finishing time, or how well-paced my runs are. For me, it’s about realizing the dream that 10 year old me set out to do, and loving myself and learning about myself in the process.
Linking up with Julia for Mental Health Monday. Thanks for letting us all sound our thoughts on all aspects of mental health! I truly believe that there is a connection between mental health and physical health, and approaching exercise (and goals) with a healthy mindset.
Have you ever run a marathon? What was your favorite/least favorite part of training?
Did you have any major goals when you were little? Have you achieved any of them?