Thursday, October 1, 2015

The power of irrational thinking when you are training for a half marathon

This is the phase in my half-marathon training when I start to have vague, pit-of-stomach doubts about whether I will be able to do it. Time telescopes and miles stretch so they are at least three miles long each.

I mentioned my training to the doctor a few weeks ago with a reluctant and doubtful tone.

"I'm still running? Training for a half-marathon? But like, I don't know." 
"When is the race?"
"December?" 
"So three months away." 
"Oh my god you're right, I have three months. It felt so much closer." 
"And you only need to be able to run 6-7 miles before the race." 
"I can do 6 miles, I do that now! And I still have three months!" 
See how powerful the irrational mind can be? I forgot the actual facts of my training program, lost perspective on time and distance, and totally tricked myself into thinking I couldn't do this.

My conversation with the doctor really helped me reclaim my motivation and confidence, but i psyched myself out again just last weekend. I was set to run 6 miles Saturday, but I had my eye focused too hard on the clock. When I saw how slow my pace was after 2 and 3 miles, I said screw this. I quit after 4.5 miles with plenty of steam to finish the full 6. I forgot the distance is what matters on long runs, and I should have ignored my time all together.

Monday I was slow and wobbly after a Sunday night binge on pizza. Today I was fast and optimistic after a day of good fuel and rest.

I now have 9 weeks left to train, and it's time to keep my head in the right place.

4 comments:

  1. You only need to run 6-7 miles before a half? Your doctor is very wrong about that. Please don't take that advice seriously. Your longest run before a half should be 14.

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  2. I'm pretty sure she is referring to the distance achievable pre-training schedule.

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  3. Ok, yes-it is ideal to be able to run 6 or 7 miles before starting to train for a half. That's a great place to start and then build on from there!

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  4. Yes, I'm pretty sure that's what my doctor meant. I am following a 20-week program that started with a long run of 4 miles, I think. When I had that conversation with her, I was up to 6 miles and had 12 weeks to go.

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