Yesterday marked official Day 1 of my 18-week marathon training plan. I can’t believe this day is here. It seemed like such a far-away event when I used to talk about it. Last year, when I volunteered at the marathon expo and thought excitedly how it would be me the following year, I did not yet grasp the concept of my own training.
[Volunteering at the 2010 ING NYC Marathon Expo]
And yet here it is, in front of me.
I kicked off Day 1 with cross training. Spinning at FlyWheel and Pilates Mat at Kinected through FITist. And today, Day 2, was my first official marathon training run: 5 miles. I never ran more than 4 pre-work before. Milestones all around. As excited as I am for what I am now in the midst of, I have some anxieties as well. Maybe you have gone through the same thing, or wondered if anyone else did. Maybe you’ll just think I am a whiny brat (#whitegirlproblems anyone?). Either way, here are my fears, along with my solutions on how I plan to handle them and get through marathon training as stress-free as possible:
1. Injury – I am terrified that my hip will start hurting again and I will have to stop my training. I am also worried that something else — a knee, an ankle, a shin will act up and then it will be this whole ironic “And I thought my hip would be what did me in!” story.
Solution – Remind myself that even if I train smart, some things are out of my control. I can always defer the marathon to next year. The marathon is not going anywhere.
2. Training is time-consuming – Marathon training takes lots of time! I woke up at 5:15 this morning to get my 5 miles in before work. Soon I will be doing 6, 7 and 8 miles on a weekday morning (I try to avoid running after work because I can’t always run after having eaten). Time away from sleep means I need to go to bed much earlier. That means cutting out evening plans sometimes, or getting my writing done ahead of time. Like today’s blog. It is slightly delayed because I was too lazy/busy to do it ahead of time. And the weekends? Those runs will frequently be in the double digits, getting as high as 20 miles. Not only does that kill the night before the run, it kills the entire day post-run as well. That is because I crash hard after any run longer than 7 miles. I just need sleep! And then when I wake up in the afternoon, I am G-R-O-G. Day, ruined. I’m not complaining. I am just saying.
Solution – Hope my friends understand how important this is to me (I believe they do). Cut out non-important activities (do I really need to wander the aisles of the Food Emporium every day? What is wrong with me?). As for the cute boy that makes me watch Franklin & Bash, I will have to see him on whichever weekend night where I am not waking up to run 16 miles the next morning.
3. Running more = fewer classes – I love Refine Method. I love Core Fusion, Core Fusion Cardio, Core Fusion Yoga and Core Fusion Bootcamp. I also try new classes to review for NBC NY: GO Healthy NY. I love classes. I love workouts that strengthen my whole body. I will have to drastically cut these down as I marathon train. Not only will one weekend day be devoted to my long run, but the other will usually be devoted to total, full, complete rest. There goes a bunch of weekend classes I love. And don’t even get me started on the weekday. I am thankful to have a training plan that allows me to run just three times a week, but even then I am taking less classes than I am used to. I have irrational fears about losing my muscles and my strength. I know that is absurd. Maintaing takes less work than building. I have my base, I can work hard when I am in class to keep that. But I get paranoid. So much of my career, my life, my way of thinking has been shaped by my love of these classes and of being strong. So while I recognize that I am thinking irrationally (don’t try this at home) I acknowledge that it is a source of anxiety nonetheless.
Solution – Remember the terrible mistake I made when training for my previous half marathons. I didn’t want to stop my classes, so I stuck to my long weekend runs but barely did any weekday runs. In all three races, I struggled with knee pain. I also did not run as fast as I know I could have if I trained properly. I want to be smart about my marathon training; I can’t afford not to be. I only plan on doing one marathon in my life and this is it — it is so important to me that I finish this. My classes will still be here on November 7.
[Happy despite the pain at my first two half marathons]
4. Professional life balance – My office life, which I don’t discuss much here, is probably about to get a whole lot longer and busier. Sometimes I wonder about running 8 miles in the morning and still getting to work on time (in my world, on time means early). I worry even more, however, about the evenings. On the two-ish days a week I get to take one of my favorite classes after work, what if I am stuck at work and can’t make them? What will that do to my sanity, my peace of mind? Especially when I already have the anxiety I mentioned earlier about taking fewer classes to begin with.
Solution – Remember that in the long run, missing a day (even if it is a class I crave and look forward to) will not be the end of the world. Neither will missing 5 classes. I can look into ways to get as much done in the morning as possible, even if it means having bad hair and looking ugly. I mean, who am I really trying to impress anyway right? I already have someone to watch Franklin & Bash with.
[My bad hair]
5. Fear of the unknown – Anything new or unknown can be scary. I never trained for a marathon before, and when I ran 8 miles last weekend (2 + the Boomer’s Cystic Fibrosis Run to Breathe 10K – Recap TK next week. I love my playlist) after it was over I thought, “I can’t believe that in a few weeks I will be running double that.” It is daunting. It is overwhelming. I doubt my own abilities and I am wary of new situations.
Solution – Remember that lots of people do this. People with much busier schedules, people with children, investment bankers, doctors, people with disabilities — they do this. They train for and run a marathon. And remember my own experiences. When I began the Core Fusion Challenge, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. But I jumped right in because it came at the perfect time in my life. And now, this is the perfect time in my life to train for a marathon. I don’t have a wedding to plan; I’m not pregnant; I don’t have children to take care of. This might be one of the last times in my life where I have so few responsibilities (I laugh as I write this sentence because I actually have more responsibilities now than ever before). But it is true. I am 28 years old. If I don’t do this now, when will I? The unknown is scary, yes, but training for 26.2 miles is an amazing opportunity and experience! I always hear people say they learn a lot about themselves while marathon training. I am excited to be a part of this group.
More importantly, remember that I am doing this because I WANT to. No one is forcing me to run a marathon! No one held a gun to my head and made me wake up at 5:15 this morning. I woke up because I wanted to. All the fears I just described — they only exist because I want this.
The next few months will be tough, but my reward will be running a marathon.
I am here for the next 18 weeks because I want to be. Let the training begin.
In other news, check out my latest NBC New York GO Healthy New York post: