The 26.2 Mile Nightmare

2 Dec

So, in about 3 weeks I am going to start training for a marathon. 26.2 miles of open road…running it. I’m reading Jeff Galloway‘s book on training using his run/walk method (run 4 min / walk 1 min). I’m confident that by training for 10 months (my race is in October 2011), I will definitely be physically ready. My body can do it as long as I stay dedicated and on track with my training program.

It’s my mind I have to worry about. I ran on the treadmill yesterday and did a simple 2 miles. Yet, it wasn’t all that simple. I was ready to die. It seemed so hard for some reason even though I’ve done two 5 K races, run the 5K distance at least a dozen times in training and I’ve even run as much as 6.2 miles (10K). Yet, that 2 miles was killing me. I just mentally wasn’t there yesterday.

So if 2 miles is giving me a mental breakdown…how the heck can I do 26.2? I know that overcoming the mental aspect of the marathon is by far going to be the most difficult part of training for this race. I want to do this marathon more than anything. I need to prove to myself I can do it, and I want to show down my nasty podiatrist who told me I’d never run again. It is a great source of pride for me, but I’m absolutely terrified.

I feel anxiety setting in when I am driving and start notice to how far 26.2 miles really is. From the articles and books I’ve read, I’ve heard just to take it one mile at a time or in smaller race distances—like focusing on the first 5K/3.2 miles, then the next 5K and break it into those increments.

So as I get ready to embark on 10 months of 6 day a week training for this horrendous thing that us crazy runners consider fun in some aspect of the word, I am soliciting your advice. For those of you who’ve done a marathon or even a half marathon, please tell me the mental secrets to winning against the 26.2 mile monster.

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4 Responses to “The 26.2 Mile Nightmare”

  1. laurapayette December 2, 2010 at 11:32 PM #

    Everyone you talk to who’s ever done a marathon will have different advice for you. Ultimately you’ll figure out what works for you. As you start to increase your mileage you’ll naturally readjust your mental dashboard. I promise that one day you’ll wake up and think that running 9 miles (and on up) isn’t really all that big a deal (compared to where you are now). I know it sounds crazy; I sure didn’t believe it, but then I trained for my first 26.2 miles. I can’t explain how it works — it just does. It also helps to do at least some of your runs with other people. I was a solo runner before I started doing races and didn’t think I’d like running with other people, but when you get into longer distances you’ll appreciate the companionship and the distraction. As for the race itself, it definitely helps to break it up in your mind and think of it as several smaller races. You have a lot of time before you get to that point, though, so just start focusing on your initial training.

  2. Noel D. December 3, 2010 at 6:41 AM #

    Thanks! Yeah once the holidays are over, and I’m move into my new house, I think that will take my overall stress level down so I can focus on the training. Thanks for the tips and words of wisdom.

  3. thegeeman December 4, 2010 at 12:14 PM #

    The most important part is proper training. Rig sets in or about 20th to 21st mile. Drink lots of water. Run at at least 120 miles or more a week near the end of your training. Start out slowly. Build into the 120 miles a week. Run at least twenty miles one a week. Just take it a step at a time. Don’t think about time. start out slow. In running circles it is called LSD- Long Slow distance. You build up your miles slowly a week at a time. I have run several marathons. Try a 1/2 marathon about halway through your training.

    • Noel D. December 4, 2010 at 12:50 PM #

      Thank you. That is awesome advice. I am definitely planning on doing a half-marathon during my training.

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