A couple of weeks ago, I realized that the group we train from couch potatoes to marathoners is entering our final phase of marathon training – the beginning of the end. It is a time when focusing on the marathon becomes more and more important.
Being that I have been suffering from quite a bout of writer’s block when it comes to blogging, I think I’ll just begin with where we are in our training and share a little bit about what it’s like right now. I will follow this blog with my take on and experience with training for and running marathons, as well as updates on how our group is doing. If it interests you, feel free to like and follow. For those who may not know, most of our groups are training for one of three marathons: Chicago, St. Louis Rock ‘n’ Roll and San Antonio Rock ‘n’ Roll.
The Chicago Marathon is mid October, St. Louis is the end of October and San Antonio is the first part of November. We are getting close. This phase of training differs from the others because our focus has to narrow.
In the beginning, the goal is to get people moving and to help them develop the habit of doing something every day. Consistency is key when training for a marathon and that is the first thing we address. Once we get past the first 2 -3 months, we are able to cover some decent distance and the mental battle begins.
As the miles get longer, the battle gets tougher. Throughout the next couple of months, we work on learning how to get the long distances done and overcoming the challenges that come with distance running/walking.
That brings us to the this last phase. The miles are getting long – really long, and the starting line is taking shape in the distance. Our bodies are starting to say, “So, you’re really serious about this, aren’t you?”. Everything that we have been talked about from the beginning is coming to pass. All of these things that were foreign in the beginning – from black toenails to bathroom issues – are now regular topics for post run conversation. We share our war stories of our last long run, laugh at the mistakes we’ve made and seek advice from those who’ve gone before and have found an easier way.
Race day is getting close – did I mention that? Nerves are surfacing and we are realizing that it’s going to be tough. Because of this realization, our training for the marathon is finally extending past the workouts and time spent on the road. We are thinking more about what we eat and drink and how it will affect our long run on Saturday. Getting to bed early is part of the schedule. We avoid germs at all costs, so that we don’t have to deal with illness, if at all possible. Avoiding injury and illness is forefront in our minds. We have all trained hard and don’t want anything to ruin it now.
This is where we are in our training. It’s hard for me to believe we are here already. We began in the early part of the year. Beginners – strangers – walked one mile together that first week and now we are a band of friends and we are doing 18 miles together. EIGHTEEN MILES. For those of us who lead and support the group it’s an amazing experience to witness the transformation in the group – as a whole and as individuals. It is impossible to go through this experience and remain unchanged. I didn’t and in the ten years that we have being doing this, I have known anyone else to remain unchanged either.
For those of you marathoners out there, who are in your last phase of training, take a deep breath and just keep going! That’s what it’s all about right now. You’ve done the hard work and you’ve gotten the momentum going. Don’t stop. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other. We’ve got this! Robin