Mindfulness: When it all clicks into place

“You just have to decide you’re going to do it, and then do it.”

Discussing marathon plans over dinner with a friend, she described this as the mentality of her sister-in-law, a relatively under-prepared runner who nonetheless ran a marathon and absolutely loved it. Her longest training run had been 14 miles, and whilst the marathon itself was a struggle, she came out the other side feeling accomplished, and saidΒ she’d happily do it again.

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How I long for that feeling of security.

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I’ve only had one week of uninterrupted training, even though I started my plan two weeks late. My cold has developed into a chesty cough, meaning that I’ve only been able to get in two gentle runs a week; any more, and I can’t really breathe.Β I’d kill for that kind of epiphany, theΒ I can do this lightbulb moment, but for now, it’s just not happening. So I guess the best I can do is rest up, and hope to be back training soon.

I guess my question is, do you ever get that kind of moment? Six months ago, I would have told you that I could train for a far-off marathon; meaning that I thought myself capable of a 12-week training season, followed by race day itself. But as it creeps ever closer, and ever more training days fall to the wayside, I’m not so sure. Self-doubt is creeping in no matter what I do.

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I’m not entirely sure what the point of this post is; I guess it’s some kind of confessional. I am a runner, and a blogger, and account on not doing much of the former, I’ve also been slacking on the latter. I feel like a bit of a fraud really, but at least bearing my soul to the internet makes me feel a little less guilty.

How do you cope with the mental side of running? Do you ever have huge freak-outs?

Lots of love,

Pippa

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17 thoughts on “Mindfulness: When it all clicks into place

  1. I have huge freak outs all the time. I had a MELT DOWN complete with sobbing on Tuesday triggered by having to abort my planned run due to too much pain in my stupid nose. Granted, the melt down had other contributing factors but the inability to execute my planned run was a big part.

    If you’re sick then heal first and run later. Pushing yourself when you’re sick is only going to drag it out. It’s not in my normal personality to that, so I get that it’s hard. I’m normally a PUSH PUSH PUSH type.

    I was never really sure I could run a marathon until I did. Maybe you won’t have that moment where you are sure you can do it. I am sure you can. The piece you may have to let go of is doing it with a particular time goal. Finishing may have to be enough this time. Putting pressure on yourself to get all the proper training in has a lot more to do with finishing at a particular pace than finishing at all for a person who already has a base of athleticism. I suggest that train when and how you can. Take the pressure off of yourself and enjoy the process rather than only looking at the end goal. If you do that, you win no matter what happens on race day.

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    1. Thank you!! I think I really needed to hear that- that it’s okay not to be sure you can do it. Hopefully the pieces will fall into place. And after all, I only want to finish. I used to have a time goal, but when I had to start training 2 weeks late, I knew I had to take it easy and just focus on the journey. Also all my runner friends keep telling me to just enjoy the first marathon, and not stress out about time goals. Thank you again!

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  2. 12 weeks away, you still have enough time to rebound. Just take it easy on yourself until you feel better again, and then train hard again!
    Also, no need to feel like a fraud when not doing much running or blogging. Runners take breaks too, and blogging is- while we do it for others, mainly for ourselves and we need breaks from ourselves sometimes too.

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    1. It’s actually only 10 weeks away! But I think I can rebound, provided I get this cough sorted asap. Bloody doctors in the UK are useless though so it’s really hard to get an appointment! Think I’m just gonna take it easy and try not to stress out too much. Training is meant to be a journey and I can’t enjoy the journey if I’m stressing the whole time!

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  3. i signed up for back to back half marathons for new years eve and at the time i was thinking it was no big deal but as the race came closer i just kept thinking there was no way i was going to be able to do it. what was i thinking, its basically a marathon and i havent run more than 14 miles. i ended up hiring a running coach, which i think has immensely helped my confidence. ive had tons of issues but i feel more confident for my upcooming half marathon this time then i have in the past. i know coaches can be expensive but for me its worth it.

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    1. I think a coach could be worth it for me for the mental side of it alone- sadly I can’t afford one, but I just need to remember that that’s part of the journey. Even if that means buying myself extra running kit or splurging a little more on food- anything to take a little bit away from the mental stress of it all. In off season, I can be super-organized and food prep and do laundry on time, but I think in training I need to take it a bit easier on myself!

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      1. yes dont beat yourself up! i think every runner struggles with the mental block and everyone has their own way of coping with it, you’ll find yours πŸ™‚ maybe its a cupcake after that long run, and if it is you better post delicious looking pictures!

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  4. my half marathon training has been going a similar way. Lots of skipped workouts and i’ve spent the whole winter so far with one cold after another. I do think it’s normal to doubt yourself though, especially with setbacks, but don’t forget that everybody has setbacks, and even if it ends up like your friends sister, remember she still did it in the end, and I bet she had her doubts too!!

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      1. Everyones running journey is very individual, but i’m sure once you cross the finish line you’ll feel the same accomplishment she did πŸ™‚

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  5. GIRL. This post is me to a T. I’m training for my first marathon, and on Saturday, I had my longest run yet. 10 miles. It ended up being 27 degrees here in Ohio, so this was done on the treadmill. It was so, so, SO bad. Normally, I run a little under 10 minute miles. My average pace on this run was 11:24. There were times I watched my time sink to over 13 minutes per mile. My legs hurt, my lungs hurt, everything hurt. This was my own fault- I did speedwork the day before, and didn’t take the rest day I was supposed to take (it was our anniversary weekend and I didn’t want to deal with running 10 miles right before traveling), but nevertheless, I burst into tears when I got to the car. YES, I have freakouts. You are not alone!

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    1. This makes me feel better! I had to do a 20 miler inside (on a nice track, not a treadmill thank goodness!) this weekend, and it didn’t go as well as I would have liked. I was quite a bit slower than I was on my last 20 miler, despite the “perfect” conditions and the flat course (my normal long run has some pretty good hills in it). I was a bit frustrated that I was so much slower, but I tried to tell myself that the bad mental conditions negated the good physical conditions. It sounds like you had a similar experience, so you’ve validated my hare-brained theory. πŸ™‚

      Nice job doing 10 miles on a treadmill! I’m not sure I could manage it!

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  6. It’s the reality of a runner. We can’t always run, whether that is due to injury or colds. The last month I’ve been in a slump since I’m not training for anything specific so I decided to use “building my base” as a way to get motivated again.

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  7. Surprisingly, while I freak out about most things in life, I’m relatively able to keep running in perspective. But I do still have the urge to freak out. What I try to do is collect “moments” where I do better than expected. Like the time 17 miles felt easy (!), even though I had run a hard tempo the day before. Or the time I ran by feel and killed my long run, even though my other runs that week had given me trouble. Or the time I ran a reaaaaally slow long run but still managed to progress through my training program just fine. And then when I have a frustrating run, I try to think about all of my other good runs that came after frustrating ones or bad runs that didn’t end up derailing my training.

    Big picture thinking, I guess. And it’s WAY easier said than done. I often wish I could keep the rest of my life in perspective the way I can (typically) keep running in perspective. I would be so much happier if I could manage that!

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  8. I wouldn’t say I freak-out but I do get really cranky when I can’t run… like I know i’ll reach that point tomorrow because I know my back injury well keep me from running for 4 days. yup cranky…

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  9. I just ran a half because my Marathon plan told me that by this point in my training I should be able to do it in under 1:50. I had no doubt that I could finish but I was really paranoid I would not get the time I needed as I missed about 3 weeks of training over Christmas (for various reasons). I had a plan I stuck to it and it all came together and I had one of those moments where I know everything is on track and good with my running. I haven’t felt quite as good since I screwed up a marathon last summer by cramping up. Don’t know why I’m saying this except maybe as a suggestion to be patient and keep plugging away because while you keep going there is a chance it will all fall back into place. If you don’t it never can.

    BTW, first marathon…. You can do it, the first one is not about time at all, it’s just about showing the world you’ve got what it takes to go the distance.

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