It doesn’t seem to matter what runner you talk to, all of us have experienced doubt. Some have it during a recovery week. Many while injured or coming off a mentally or physically challenging week. Others while tapering. The good news is if you have a solid plan and have been following your plan with full faith, you will do just fine.
One of my major goals for 2016 was to become a more social runner. I trained all last year all by myself. The only person I ran with was Nikki (my wife) and we don’t exactly run well together. I’m 6’1″ and she’s 5’1″. As you can imagine it’s pretty difficult for us. Not to mention I only run in the morning and she enjoys a good evening treadmill run. Any way, I want to run with people.
This year I have done just that. I have run with a few friends I’ve met through Instagram and others I’ve met through Crossfit and other associations. Being a part of a running group has helped me understand how other feel and I know I’m not alone with the ups and downs of training.
This last couple weeks have been pretty tough for a few of us. Big life changing events are taking place right in the middle of our big push toward our big races. We are all in the most intense part of our training schedules and the mental beating we’ve taken lately has held us back. The great thing is we’ve stuck together. We get to talk about our problems and complain a little too.
I had a really hard run a couple weeks ago and started to wonder why in the world I was going to run 50 miles. Is it worth it? Will I finish? A thousand different questions came up and with every question is the doubt of performing my best on race day. I’ve been so lucky to have a group of people not only pushing and pulling me along physically, but mentally too. The verbal encouragement and just having someone there has been priceless.
The other day one of my running partners was starting to have the same doubt. While she is working hard to qualify for Boston, she has had a mental block about finishing under her time goal. With everything that is going on we’ve all missed some runs lately. We have had to take some extra time off due to illness and fatigue. Most of all we are just mentally beat up from everything going on. Through all of the stumbles lately, we’ve continued to push each other to work hard and get over the mental hump.
As we have talked each other through it gave me a good reminder of how important it is to be positive while training and just focus on the next scheduled workout. I think sometimes we set our goals so big as we chip away at them, we don’t always see the immediate results we want. I know most days my lack of patience drives me crazy… Mentally I can push my body harder and harder, but lately, my body can’t keep up.
I know I put so much focus on my goals, sometimes I forget that I should be having fun. After all, when we have the most fun running, we tend to have our best training sessions and races. Next time you’re having some doubt about your time, distance or training, take a step back and go for a fun run. Let your body go as fast or as slow as it wants. Turn your watch over and don’t focus on time or distance. Talk, reflect, smile and most importantly remember why you started running in the first place!
Go out, have fun and Run Epic!