This is my fourth go-around with marathon training and by far this time has been my toughest battle — both mentally and physically.
I started off in October so excited to get started with training. I ran an incredible marathon in May last year and I wanted to build off that momentum. In my last training cycle, I focused on consistency and it paid off in a big way. Now that I am a more consistent runner, I was ready to focus on some serious speedwork. I gave up my slower heart rate monitor training style in search of a coach who would put me through challenging workouts.
However, despite my excitement and optimism the roadblocks started early on. I got sick the very first week I was supposed to start training. I was down and out and there was no running. Coming back from a cold that knocks you on your butt takes a while, so my beginning miles were frustratingly slow. But eventually, it started to come back.
I was feeling confident. I worked up to building tempo runs into my routine and they were hard. The hardest thing I’d ever done and then it happened — injury. A soleus muscle strain. My soleus has flared numerous times but every time it manifests in a different way – this time it was my shins.
I had to take 10 days off running and rest my calves before I was ready to return. The good news was I have been able to return to running. I can run long and slow without any issues in my soleus but the second I try to build in speedwork, the pain returns and I have to back down.
Then I got sick…again. Pushing back my training…again.
And then the weather. Oh, the weather! This winter is kicking my butt. I am fortunate that I don’t mind the treadmill but it doesn’t do what running outside does for my mental health and I’m feeling the effects of that in a big way.
After all of this, my motivation is low. Like real low. There’s a part of me that wants to give up on the marathon and just run the half-marathon. I mean if I’m not going to PR or run my best race, what’s the point?
But… there is a point!
I signed up to run a marathon. I’m not woefully undertrained. I have the mileage in the bank to run a marathon, maybe just not the marathon I was hoping to run. I’m not going to give up a goal just because it got tough or because I might not get the goal time I was hoping for. Instead, I’m going to soldier through the last of this marathon training and be damn proud of myself come marathon day for completing what I set out to do.
Life doesn’t always go according to plan, but you do the best with what you’ve got. And I’m not going to give up…even if I really want to!