It’s been an interesting week in the world of running for me.
After starting slow, and promising both myself and my rightly concerned partner that I’d take it easy, I threw in a long run on Friday, just to prove to myself that I could still do it following the physical devastation of December. Thankfully, I can still just about manage.
Recently I’ve been running slower than I ever have in the past – but that’s okay. With just under three months until Manchester I’m happy to just get miles under my belt and not worry about times or pace. I’m happy to just complete the Manchester marathon – however long it takes, I won’t be beating myself up if it takes me five hours.
Today I deviated from my Asics training plan somewhat. I had something of a crisis of confidence over the weekend – mainly due to putting my love of chocolate digestives first ahead of my desire to train properly, and sleeping in on Monday morning, missing a training run and getting mad at myself for doing so.
So today, rather than the five mile jog that the app suggested, i wanted to push myself harder and further than I ever had before. It was as much an exercise in convincing myself that I’m capable of this challenge as anything, and regaining a bit of confidence after my weekend wobble.
A 4.10am alarm wasn’t what I really wanted to hear this morning, but I got up and out of the door and am delighted I did so. I’ve never managed a run further than 14 miles in the past, and was hoping to better that on a cold, yet thankfully relatively dry Belfast morning.
As I reached 14 miles I got a spring in my otherwise laboured step, and although once I reached 15 miles I strongly considered packing it in and taking the win, I knew in my head that each and every step was taking me further than I’d ever gone before. It’s a good feeling, bettering yourself, and I thrived on it for another mile or so.
It wasn’t all plain sailing. I was having a few pains in my left calf at times, and considered stopping to prevent injury, but they worked themselves out – and I carried on – determined to break my own records.
If I was having serious doubts over my ability to complete a marathon on Sunday night, I think I’ve banished them now. As I’ve said before, a lot of people emphasise how important mental strength is in marathon running, and after completing 30km this morning (18.6miles) – I’m quietly confident that I can find those extra miles in the next three months and drag myself across the finish line at Old Trafford.
Running isn’t meant to be easy. Neither are marathons. That’s why a fair few people would never even consider doing one, never mind three, so I need to realise that it won’t always be plain sailing, and doubts and worries are just going to be par for the course now. As long as I can keep pushing my limits, and teaching myself, over and over, that I’m stronger than I think, I’ll be fine.