Winter training is tough.
It’s an effort on cold, damp Sunday mornings to drag yourself out of your bed to get out for the long runs. It’s a struggle to get out on a cold dark evening to run by yourself, or join a running club session.
It’s hard if you think you’re behind schedule, trying to play catch up, get started on the marathon that is marathon training. It’s hard if you’re looking to return to running after a gap, to fulfill a New Year resolution, a promise you’ve made to yourself or someone else. It’s hard if you’re feeling less fit than you’d want to be, but are desperate to turn it around.
It’s hard if you’ve run a marathon / marathons before because it’s that treadmill again, the start of a long run of training sessions to get body AND mind ready for the marathon challenge. It’s hard because you’re worried about being left behind, overtaken by others, coming in behind every one. It’s hard because sometimes you might have to stop, to rest, to walk while others run on. It’s hard because it will hurt, you’ll get stiff legs and you may not walk as smoothly as you’d like tomorrow. It’s hard because you’re not focused on a marathon you just want to get round on a run to achieve in that way rather than running those massive distances. It’s hard because of all that kit you think you need – a GPS watch, a Camelbak, some funky kit, compression socks, the latest trainers.
It’s hard because your assessment was tough you found out you couldn’t do some things you’d thought you’d be able to do. It’s hard because you always seem to be so much slower on hills than others, find them your real hurdle to running, which in Crouch End is a nightmare. It’s hard coming back from that injury, or sorting out that funny niggle you get in your thigh/knee/calf/IT band/soleus/Achilles/ankle every time you start running. It’s hard coming back to the club when you haven’t been for a while worried where you’ll be with all the other runners, whether you’ll be at the back of the group you’re running in. It’s hard because you don’t always feel great at the end of it, you can feel dreadful. It is hard…
Some, or all, of these will have afflicted us at some stage. Even at the end of the long run today (23k) one of the party piped up “I don’t see how I’m going to run a marathon in April”. This from someone who’s already run half marathons, has done plenty of miles on training runs, yet still faces the challenge of running.
Looking back at previous blogs it looks like I’ve written about this at exactly the same time last year so there’s a cycle in this as well. It constantly reinvents itself to break up your ‘training’. And in part whatever you are ‘training’ for, this is part of the training. To overcome those fears, worries, niggles, barriers, challenges to get running regularly. It’s part of the training to accept that is how you might feel, but also accept that this is the best time to get out there because you’ll often get the most benefit from overcoming whatever it is that is holding you back.
Yes it’s hard, BUT that’s how you’ll run your ‘marathon’ in April, or whatever month you want. And, just think how much better that will feel?