My half-marathon is in about two weeks (15 days to be exact) and I am having all sorts of different feelings. I am excited, a little nervous and kind of ready to be just done with it. I love running, don’t get me wrong. I even dedicated a post on it but training for a race is not without challenges. I am sure everyone’s story is unique but this is my perspective as a young professional – full time dietitian – wanna be food blogger – graduate student – (mildly) social person who is also training for a half-marathon. - your life is planned around the training schedule: this partly depends how strictly you want to follow the schedule. When I first signed up for the race, I did a good job of sticking with my schedule but as weeks passed by, I had to make adjustments. Since I ran Saturday morning, I either cancelled, did not schedule anything Friday evenings, or just headed home early to get well rested to run in the morning. On the weekdays, you have to plan workouts (at the gym vs run outside), dinner, work schedule strategically in order to maintain some sort of routine and calmness. The hot weather in Dallas also made it extra challenging because I had to either run at 5 am or 10 pm. Lesson – It’s okay to run Sunday instead of Saturday or heck Monday. Do not run right after eating, damn those runner’s stitches! Give at least an hour or two for the food to settle in.
- disappointment: my goal this year was to run under 2 hours but I do not see that happening, unless something magical happens on the day of the race. Initially, I used runkeeper to track my time/pace etc but I have stopped keeping track of numbers except the total miles. It could be a source of motivation to some people but for me it was feeding me a lot of negativity. I did try a few techniques to increase my pace but it’s not helping me significantly to reach my goals. Lesson - don’t let some number tell you that you are not good.
- comparisons: this goes along with disappointment. It’s hard not to compare yourself with other runners who are stronger, faster, and better than you. I do question my hard work if I am doing enough? Lesson: I try and channel those self doubting thoughts in telling myself that ‘I am not a competitive runner – I am a fun runner, let’s have some fun’.
- training burnout: I am currently suffering from a training burnout, more mentally than physically (it’s actually legit condition). I am tired of the same running path, monotonous routine, and simply fatigued. It felt great to take a break from all sorts of exercise and splurge a little bit last week. I will probably fit in 2-3 long runs and a couple of short ones before the race and just focus on moving my body to build up the strength for the big day. Lesson: Don’t push yourself too hard esp. if you are fatigued and find the root cause of your burnout. Take breaks if needed in order to light that running spark. Find a different trail for a change in scenery.
I took a 1.5 week break from running which is why there was no update last Friday. If you are interested, here is a recap from Week 1, Week 2, Week 3 week 4: didn’t do very good with running…boooo, week 5. week 6, week 7, week 8. week 9 & 10.
So my fellow future runners, don’t be discouraged if you lose motivation along the way or have self-doubting thoughts, it’s part of the process. Instead of letting some numbers judge you, be proud of how far you have come along, appreciate your legs and the ability to breathe in fresh air and enjoy the scenic route during your runs.
Now you turn, tell me your running challenges? How do you overcome it?