I’ve been keen to write this update for a number of weeks now. I feel like so much has happened in the last nine weeks of training that I can’t wait to update you all on. As I finished up week eight this past week, I am both excited and hesitant for week nine as I will be running my farthest distance ever this week. Now lets start off with my thoughts on the past several weeks of running.
For those of you who didn’t read my first post (click here to read it!), here’s a quick summery. I have committed to running my first full marathon this fall. I have three half marathons under my belt so far, so it seemed like an easy choice to try for a full (that’s 26.2 miles). I am not your usual life-long runner, with cross-country or high school track to back me up (one year of track made me swear off running for several years). I didn’t start running until the summer before my freshman year of college, and I have loved it ever since. Any runner will tell you the same about their love/hate for running. I am in the midst of a twenty week training program to prepare myself for the full marathon, and I am here to update you all on my thoughts after running four days a week for eight weeks.
Consistency is Easy?
I put a question mark at the end of that sentence because I don’t quite believe it myself. I feel that my dedication to training for this full marathon is far more serious than anything else I have ever done. I have been incredibly diligent about getting my miles in each week, and I am thrilled to say that I have ran four times a week almost every week for the last eight weeks (how many times can I say week in that sentence?).
Looking back at these weeks, I know that I have had days where I just wasn’t feeling a run at all, but I decided to suck it up and do it, and I am really proud of myself for doing that. I’ve never really been consistent with my running (like, ever), and I have noticed how it has impacted my stamina (I’ll expand a little more when I talk about my struggles.) This was just a little self-praise moment because everyone needs that.
The Struggles and What Helped
These past eight weeks have been far from easy, I must say. I have faced a number of challenges these weeks that I thought would really throw me off track. Around week four or five, I was really struggling to get my runs in. I lacked motivation to put on my running shoes each morning and get in some miles. I had quite a negative attitude about it. What I found to help was actually motivation from my family. My parents know that I am in training, and when I told my dad I didn’t want to run twelve miles the following day because it was suppose to rain, he jokingly told my I was trying to come up with excuses not to run. I agreed, and the next day I logged 11.51 miles in the pouring rain. My average pace was horrible, but I couldn’t believe I had run so far.
Though I know that not everyone is interested in running, I’ve appreciated the motivation that my family and friends have given me on this journey. The little pushes really matter.
Another road block I met in week seven was getting my wisdom teeth out. Leading up to that date, I knew that my running was going to have to temporarily stop while I recovered from the surgery, and I was nervous about that. I had been so consistent with my running for the weeks leading up to that day that I was afraid all of that effort would go out the window. I spent the week eating soup and drinking milkshakes (without a straw, of course), and walking instead of running. I walked twice during the week of my recovery in an effort to continue moving and in hopes that it would easy my transition back in the following week.
One week following my surgery, I ventured out for my first run. My schedule told me that I was to run six miles, and my heart started to beat faster just seeing that number. I drove to my favorite running spot in Broad Ripple, and got started. You know what? It wasn’t that bad. Sure I had to take a couple of breaks to walk, but I was surprised to see that my endurance was still alive and well (I have pretty small lungs, which doesn’t help the cardio situation very well if they aren’t well trained.). I packed in four runs this week, which I didn’t think I would be able to do. It wasn’t a completely smooth process, though.
Though I had exceeded my own expectations for getting back into running, I’ve been pretty disappointed with my average pace this week. Pace is not something I really focus on for my first full marathon because the real challenge will be to get in the miles. However, I have noticed that my pace has been exceptionally slower this week than in past weeks. I’m trying not to get so hung up on it, but I can’t help but notice. I believe that my almost perfect consistency these past eight weeks really helped me easily get back on track after week off, but I know that I have to be realistic about myself and know that it will all work out in the end.
What Comes Next
The summer is winding down, so there are a few realizations that I am coming to with my running. The first one is one of my runs scheduled for next week. During my time off, I skipped a 15 mile run. With this schedule, it goes back and forth between farther distances one week and then a recovery week to follow. I started my running back on a recovery week, but now I face an 18 mile run at the end of next week that I couldn’t be more nervous and excited about. Seeing eighteen miles on my schedule excites me to know that I am getting close to my distance goal. However, with my farthest run only being 12 miles during week five, it seems like a scary leap.
Thankfully, one of my friends has volunteered to do this 18 miles with me (she is training for her first full marathon too). One of my worries with eighteen miles was figuring out how I was going to keep myself occupied for that long, so I am glad I have a friend to talk to for this one. Like I mentioned in my last post, there is a lot of mental in running. You really notice how powerful your mind can be at trying to convince you not to run as well as other sports. I have learned that in cheerleading, mental blocks can be a serious issue that a lot of cheerleaders face. Their mind will tell them they cannot do skills, even if they have done it for years. For this 18 mile run, I have checked off two things from my list of tools to overcome the mind on a run: distraction (my friend) and commitment (making the commitment to my friend to do it together). Wish me luck!
The second thing I have coming is school. This summer, I have been blessed with the freedom to run at any time of day and any day of the week. When I go back to school, I know that my schedule will become extremely packed (I am a bit of an over-committed person) with class five days a week, cheerleading practice twice a week and games 2-3 weekends a month, and sorority and club commitments. I have made the executive decision to knock my running down to three days a week instead of four once school starts. If I have an easier week, I will try four four times a week, but it isn’t a huge issue if I do only three runs.
I have obvious nerves for how this will affect my training, but I want to be realistic with my schedule. I have run half marathons on very little training at all, so I am not too worried about knocking my training down just slightly for a full marathon. I know that once I start reaching farther distances, like 18 and 20 miles, I will be able to gain more confidence in my preparedness for my full. I know it will be tough to not have my usual running buddy at school for the first time, but we’ve made commitments to keep each other accountable long distance.
Now I know that this piece is becoming far too long, so I will end it there.
What goals have you made for yourself this year? What are you doing to reach those goals, and how is it going? Leave a comment bellow.
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