I’ve always wanted to run a marathon. I’ve never been much of a long distance runner myself, but I thought finishing a marathon is a worthwhile goal. If nothing else, it proves to me that I can do it!
So I started running just as everybody was making their new year resolution to lose weight/get fit. But I’ve been down this path before. Almost ten years ago, I made a pact with a friend who lived 500 miles from me that we would train for the Boston marathon “together”. By together, I meant we would call each other and keep each other accountable to train everyday. Well, she made it, and sadly I didn’t. But I learned valuable lessons from my failure. I am applying what I learned to give myself a better odd of succeeding this time around.
Just what did I learn? A few things:
- Routinize it. I am very much a creature of habit. While it’s true that I am an adrenaline junkie, I really like my life to fit a routine otherwise. So to minimize the chance of failing again this time around, I run everyday! It hasn’t rain yet, but I am mentally prepared to run in the rain!
- Stick to a plan. The first day I started running, I committed myself to run three miles. I didn’t quite finish the three miles that day, but I forced myself to walk the rest of the distance. By committing to a distance, I did not have any excuse to stop short of my goal. And the surprising thing was, I was running 3 miles straight in a week’s time whereas it probably would have taken much longer to reach that goal if I had not committed to it, run or walk.
- Identify and defeat the giant. Although I have never been a long distance runner, I’ve been relatively fit most of my life. It became painfully obvious to me after the first day of running that my challenge is not physical — it’s mental! So now when I find myself wanting to stop short of my goal, I concentrate on the internal conversation I have with myself and talk myself out of quitting.
So far, by doing all three, I’ve been able to increase my distance to five miles. I am sure there will be more barriers ahead as I extend my distance. I will certainly blog about them as they come! Meanwhile, I would love to hear from those who have successfully completed a marathon. If you have great tips to share, please add them to the comment section!