There comes a point in my marathon training when I start to lose steam. This phase is typically sandwiched between the “height” (feeling strong and happy) and “taper crazies” phases of marathon training. I call it “Why-The-Hell-Did-I-Sign-Up Phase.” I’m knee-deep in it now. This morning’s 13-miler was just awful.
When I first sign up for a race, my head is full of hopes and dreams. I start having visions of weigh-loss and PRs. And once the training starts, I get swept up in the excitement of increasing mileage and speed work. I’m excited for every work-out, even cross training. And for some reason, usually about a month before the big race, my attitude changes.
I start getting frustrated on long runs. I start talking myself into lower mileage than planned because I get annoyed with the run. I start thinking that I hate running. I start wondering, why the hell did I decide to sign up for a marathon? I don’t know why this happens and I never deal very well with this phase.
Does this happen to anyone else?
So I have come up with some ways I battle the next few weeks (until I enter into taper crazy – and that’s a whole other phase of insanity)
1. Realize that this is ALL MENTAL. In fact, I have come to realize that this phase for me is the most crucial part of my marathon training. Every time I want to quit on a long run, I remind myself, “if I can tough it out through this phase, I am mentally ready for a marathon.”
2. Do NOT Run Alone. I hardly ever run alone for safety reasons but when I’m in this phase, I always make sure I have a few running buddies that will help to push me or guilt me (which ever works best) into completing my runs.
3. New Routes. This helps a little. New scenery helps to distract from the mental fatigue.
4. Stalk Elite Runners On Social Media. I know it sounds crazy… and a little creepy. I love looking at elite runners pictures of their routes and read about their training. They inspire me. I especially love elite, Mom runners (Lauren Fleshman, Kara Goucher, you name them). If they can do it, I can.
Anyone else have tips? I have 20-22 miles next weekend so that will be my big test. Run Safe. Run Happy!