I start training for a marathon – specifically, the Houston Chevron Marathon – next week. I have my training plan on my calendar, I’ve talked to my CrossFit coach, and I’ve set a realistic goal (4:00 if I’m feeling abso-freaking-lutely awesome, 4:15 if things are good, 4:30 if I’m meh, finish upright if I feel terrible). I’ve started running with a new group on Saturday mornings to mix things up, and I really like them. After a tough 7.75 miler on Saturday, I was doubting myself hard. It’s really difficult to be confident in this kind of humidity.
That said, I also got some great perspective from one of the guys. After our run, a few of us went to Starbucks, and he reminded me of a few things. So, for anyone else training for a marathon, especially if it’s your first, remember:
- You’re going to doubt yourself. A big part of your training is going to be between your ears.
- Set realistic goals. Based on my half marathon times, I could theoretically run a sub-4 marathon. Based on the fact that age is not on my side, I’m not going to entertain that notion.
- Your first marathon is supposed to be fun. Don’t worry about time. Leave your ego in your car.
- Trust that your training will carry you over the finish line.
- Give it your all, and be proud when you finish.
I’m definitely feeling the anxiety. But I’m also feeling somewhat confident. I know that a lot of this is going to be mental and pushing through my own fears and doubts. I’ve run six half marathons, and while I know that running a marathon is most definitely not running two half marathons strung together, it counts for something. I’ve battled through six training cycles, six start lines, six courses. I had an epically bad first half marathon, and I still went back and ran five more.
So, I’ve got this. And anyone else who is doubting themselves, so do you. I’m going to put in the work and trust my training, and if the best I can do is cross the finish line upright? I’ll take it.