When I give a new marathoner his/her training plan, inevitably her eyes widen to saucers when she sees her projected goal finish time and the various training paces and workouts that will get her to that goal.
Then the actual training begins. That first group tempo run isn't so bad. "I can do this." The first couple of long runs aren't so bad. "Okay, this is manageable." Then comes that first 15-miler. Murphy's Law dictates that it always happens on the hottest day of the year. Paces slow to a crawl. Legs cramp. Spirits dampened. "How in the hell am I gonna make 26.2 miles when I'm crawling back to the car at mile 15?!" This is when my inbox becomes full of emails about everything from hydration, to ankle issues, to self-doubt. I love helping each runner work through the issues. Self-confidence is usually the biggest hurdle to clear.
This is the "Marathon Circle of Life." (Can you hear the Lion King theme music in the background?) If you're in a RunnerDude's Fitness group training program, then I bet you any one of them will tell you what will come out of my mouth at this point in the training....."Trust in Your Training."
Yep, Rome wasn't built in a day and neither is a marathon runner. I remind them of the base they worked on prior to beginning their training plan. Then I remind them that it takes 4-6 weeks to acclimate to a particular distance or pace. So when they have that first rough 15-miler at week 4 or 5 in their training, I remind them that believe it or not, they'll be thinking that's an easy run around week 10 when they're doing their first 20-miler. And what do I say after that first rough 20-miler? Yep, "Trust in your training, you've got 8 more weeks to acclimate to that 20."
In the grueling hear-and-now of training, it's almost impossible to see the progress you've made much less realize the continued progress you'll make as you stick to your plan.
Sometimes a mantra is helpful to get you through the rough patches of training. My mantra is Trust. Believe. Conquer.
Trust....in your training.
This works so well for me that I had some wristbands made to give my runners. Just a little reminder of just how strong an athlete they really are in mind, body, and spirit. (Shh....they don't know they're getting them yet.)