I started running in January last year, and by October had got to the point where I was running 3-5 miles 3 or 4 times a week and could comfortably run a 10k (albeit slowly). I found out I had a place in the 2012 VLM on the 29th September and at that point I was stoked. I felt strong, I was running well, I’d just run the Nike Run to the Beat half marathon which I thoroughly enjoyed and had The Royal Parks half coming up. But then I sustained an injury (achilles tendinitis – classic overuse) that put me out for pretty much 8 weeks and it all went a bit pear shaped.
Coming back to training has been hard. I’ll be honest, much of my problem over the last 6 weeks has been mental, not physical. And I think the problem is the sheer weight of the task ahead of me. I had an 18 week schedule in place and it scared me to look at it because instead of focusing on my current week, I was always looking 5, 6, 12 or 13 weeks on and seeing these enormous distances in for the long runs, and just thinking SHIT, WTF was I thinking? I can’t do that, I’ll never run that far, I won’t be able to do that and well, you get the feeling. I got into a negative state of mind about the whole thing, and it started to permeate into all areas of my life. Everything started to seem like a mammoth task, a huge hassle and I worked myself up into this state of permanent stress and just felt rubbish.
The 1st thing it was good for was settling my mind about where I am in my training – the book sets out a 16 week training programme, and today is the start of week 4 which calls for 4 runs: 3m, 5m, 3m and 8m. So, I went to running club tonight and did 4m and I ran the whole lot – BRILLIANT!
The 2nd, and probably most important thing I learnt (or rather, was reminded of) is the importance of a positive mental attitude. I’m sure at some point in our lives, we’ve all come across a sickly, american-type peddling of PMA – at work or maybe on course or in a book, and, in this cynical day and age, it is easy to dismiss it as an airy-fairy idea used by bosses with no original ideas and Californians. DON’T!! Each training week in the book has a whole chapter dedicated to it with physical and mental tips as well as the schedule. Here is the extract from the book that really made me think:
“Reality is not a ‘once and for all’ thing. It’s something that we constantly recreate through our beliefs and behaviours. Change your thoughts or actions and your change your reality. Think what that means…you are the architect of your life. You are the one who takes the raw materials and experiences and constructs the structure that is your life.”
This reminded me of Maggies brilliant post from last years Janathon about PRB , and now all of a sudden I feel like the marathon is doable again. I’m going to break it down into weeks, and just concentrate on what I have to do each week rather than what I’ll have to do in the future.
So THANK GOODNESS for Janathoners because without them I would have found PRB or the training book that has become my bible!
Well done to everyone that has maintined 23 days continuous exercise – you are all ROCKSTARS, and I look forward to seeing you at the post-Janathon pizza and beer meet up!