Well, no one ever said it was going to be easy to train for a marathon… Having had a bit of a mad week this week, the same old busy with work and kids, I have been thinking a lot about motivation.
Anyone who has children, knows you’re tired as a default. Now I have to say, we are extremely lucky when it comes to sleeping. Most times. The last couple of weeks in our house have been a bit of a disaster due to sickness, teething, and whatever else… After having slept about 3 hours the night before, looking after a sick child all day while trying to get some work done at the same time, I decided not to go for my run on Monday. I really needed a rest. I felt terribly guilty at the same time though, it’s only week three and I’m coming up with all these “excuses” already! Where having a day off once is ok, how do you make sure you won’t make a habit out of it? How do you make sure, you have the motivation to go out on days like that?! And once you’ve made it out, what makes you keep going when towards the end of your run your legs begin to weigh a ton and what usually looks like a nice and small climb begins to grow into Mount Everest in front of you? Many seasoned runners always say you’ll get a second wind if you just keep going, but what if you don’t – how do you convince yourself to continue the torture??
For me the key is to follow my training schedule. If I start going down that road and skip once, I soon realise I’ve missed a week (or a month!) of training. I also find that reading articles about running, or training in general, gives me the urge to go out and get at it myself. This week, just when I needed it, I came across this article by Gerry Duffy: Running: Change of scenery will keep you motivated. In the article, he gives great tips about how to stay motivated by making even the smallest changes, like changing the direction of your favourite route. Reading about a lady who goes for a run 5 mornings a week before her husband and kids wake up was quite inspiring as well. I would love to start my day with a run, but let’s be realistic. That would mean, I would have to get up around 6am. I shuffle my pillow and let out a gentle (and very feminine!) fart at 6am!!
For after work runs, the trick for me is to get changed into my running gear the minute I get home. That way I’m already dressed to go out once the kids are gone to bed. It’s a mental thing too, you’re geared to go so you’re more inclined to just go and do it. “I’m already wearing these ridiculous tights…It’s only about half an hour…I might just as well…”
So how do you keep going when the second wind never arrived and the Mount Everest is getting bigger and bigger? One word: DISTRACTION! During my runs I plan my next blog post, decide how to handle a difficult situation in work, or plan our meals for the week. I’ve always been bad at maths so when the going gets really tough, I start making calculations in my head. Converting 4 miles to kilometers takes a good bit of thinking and I’m up that hill without even noticing it!
One last thought from this week: I’ve realised I do my best runs when I don’t have any of my gadgets with me. I seem more relaxed when I haven’t planned my run too carefully and can improvise along the way, without watching what time I’m doing.
TRAINING SCHEDULE / WEEK 3
Monday: 2miles/3.2km, missed this run 😦
Wednesday: 3miles/4.8km, I was determined to go having missed the run on Monday.
Thursday: 2miles/3.2km, ended up doing 3 miles to make up for Monday. Also added some extra hill climbs at the end… Was well wrecked afterwards!
Saturday: 3 miles/4.8km, loved the run. It was a really warm day though! For the first time, I fell in love with this country for its unexpected showers…
Sunday: 3 miles/4.8km, felt surprisingly easy! I can’t believe that these nearly 5k runs are routine these days.