Looking forward to your first marathon, it’s very easy to take on extra workload in the training, especially as the D-Day approaches. If the miles get tedious and longer than usual, it means your training is burning you out. A simple gauge is the amount of satisfaction you get after each run. If you see it waning, it means you are running a little too much for your body’s liking. As this happens, each run seems less enjoyable than the last. It happens to too many new runners to be simply ignored.
The key is to set smaller goals within your training plan, such that you are increasing your mileage gradually and are not jumping great distances with each running day. Focus on each day or week as a milestone in your training. Don’t think about the race distance till you are in the peak of your training routine.
For example, it will seem a lot easier to finish a target of four runs a week, rather than focussing on the big picture of running 60 times in three and a half months. Break down your goal into manageable chunks. It will be a great psychological boost and you won’t feel overwhelmed by the task at hand.
There will be days when you are running on reserves and finally can’t run anymore. Listen to your body telling you it’s time to recover and refuel. Have a hearty meal after the run and then focus on cross-training for the next two-three days before resuming your schedule. You can always catch up on lost runs by doubling your daily number.
Many runners have come back from a self-enforced mini-break with added enthusiasm and vigour. It serves to re-energise the body and mind.
Learn to manage your highs and lows. Always treat the highs as just another day in the office, just like you would treat a day when you felt you didn’t run well. Don’t let your disposition be determined by your runs. Always focus on making a better effort the next time, but not if you have to push yourself to the extremes. When you are feeling low, picture the final goal and the finish line at the marathon. That should give you a nice positive boost.