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Before you start your half/marathon training, don't forget...

Posted Oct 17 2008 9:13pm

...the importance of Balance, Perspective and Flexibility.

Training for a half marathon or full marathon takes alot.   Alot of time, energy, focus, patience, gotta' wanna', physical effort, mental strain.   Just alot of everything.   And for everything it takes, it pays off a hundred times over when you cross that line.

So it's worth it in the end - but can be hard to manage in the middle.

As a half marathon addict, I know I can get a little crazy in my head when it comes to my training, training plan and goals.   It is so hard to find time to run and when something happens to take away my set aside running time - I get tense.   When life intervenes for an unexpected mid training taper, I get growly.  When work nudges its ugly head into my running space, I get downright unpleasant.   It is hard to continue to adjust and roll with lifes constant changes when you are trying to deliver upon a training plan. 

Many years ago, all the interruptions and unplanned changes to my schedule would stick with me and stay with me on race day.  I would question my ability to finish the race when I had skipped a this, moved a that, juggled a this or that.    But as I kept running, I got a little wiser.   I learned that while training plans and goals are important - they are just as their name suggests - plans and goals.   

As a back of the packer, instead of being suprised at my training plans changing, I now Change_sign expect my plans to change. I work, I have kids and a family, I have a house, I have a real mommy runner body.  And when you put all those realistic pieces into a half/marathon training schedule - you are guaranteed that more one thing will come between you and your ultimate plan.

And so, I try to remember balance.  My nonrunning life demands and needs doesn't stop because I am training.  I just need to balance it all. But balance isn't about having it all or getting it all done either.  Something needs to be cut back or wait while I am training.  Balance is about getting just enough of the things that matter most and letting go of the things that don't.  Balance is the wisdom and disciplined execution of my most precious priorities.   And like physical balance - it requires alot of work and practice.  Marathon training is good that way - it helps me prioritze what is important.

And I remember perspective.   Shifting runs, trading days, switching workouts - no big deal as long as the content is there in the end.   I also know, after many finishes, that I can probably finish the race - my level of training only determines how comfortable it is.  And for me, a great training experience or a poor one still won't win my race or make me finish last.   The only way I can lose is if I don't at least try. And on that note - if you haven't read Ryan Hall's blog post " I can be beaten, but not defeated" - stop and read it now.

And flexibility.  Being flexible in my training schedule.  Being flexible in the type of training I do.  Being flexible in what I expect of myself.    Just because I feel like I am in shape for a PR (with 4 months to go to the race day), doesn't mean that I will feel like that - or will be that - when I am two months or two days away.  Take it as it comes.  Deal with it.  Make the most of it.  Don't give up.  Keep trying.  And just keep running. 

Looking forward to your words of wisdom in tomorrow's Take It and Run Thursday.  The topic is "As you start your marathon or half marathon training, don't forget..."

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