Most of us are familiar with that saying, whether you are a runner or not, at one point or another we will all experience that feeling where we want to crash, whether thats physically, mentally or emotionally (and sometimes even a combination of all three!)
As a long distance runner, I have ‘hit the wall’ on many occasions, during my 1st London Marathon it happened at around mile 18, and last year it happened at mile 14 (that was a bad day in office, let me tell you!) But it isn’t just something that happens on race day, it can also happen during training too.
If you have ever trained for a marathon, you know that it is hard work (and if you haven’t trained for one before, I am telling you, it is hard work!) When you press ‘Submit’ on that race entry form you are pretty much signing your life away for at least 12/16/18 weeks (depending on the training plan you decide to follow), and it will take it’s toll and make you question your sanity & why you have voluntarily signed up to run 26.2 miles!
The Spring marathons are getting closer, and for a lot of runners (myself included) around this time is what we call ‘peak week’ – which means it will be the highest mileage week, or include a higher number of harder sessions than usual – or in my case, both! When I looked at the my plan for this week, I thought it was going to be tough, and I was right! And today, was the first time in a long time, that I bailed on a training session part way through.
Tonights plan was 5 x 1 Mile efforts. Effort level = HARD. I was dreading it.
I think this was the start of my problem, I went into the session with a negative mindset. I knew it was going to be tough. I knew my body was tired. And I let it get to me. I wanted to stop after my warm up, I then really wanted to stop after the 1st effort, and then by the 3rd I was 100% done. Although physically I probably could have ran another 2 efforts, my head was just not in it. The last 10 days have been tough. I have only had one rest day since The Big Half and have ran almost 70 miles, which for me is a lot! And if I am honest I think my body and my mind just need a bit of a break!
I could beat myself up about today, or tell myself I will go out tomorrow to make up for it, but that isn’t going to make me feel any better, or do me any good. Instead I am going to take full advantage of my scheduled rest day & hope that it recharges my batteries so that I feel fresh for the weekend.
Running a marathon is hard, there is no doubt about it, but the training leading up to it can be just as hard, and at times even harder than the race itself. Both are not just a physical challenge, but a mental challenge too. And today, my mental side let me down. It’s just over 5 weeks until race day, and as well as making sure my training & nutrition is right, I know I also need to work on my mindset, as when it gets tough on the day, I cannot give into that voice telling me to give up!
If anyone has any tips or any strategies they use for getting over that ‘mental wall’ then please let me know in the comments!