Thursday, September 15, 2011

Marathon training

I have had many ups and downs since I started running. Actually I started running many times... and yes after a while I would drop it... Mind you I always has a good reason : too much work, being sick, moving places, changing job, and lately even free diving ! But I always come back to it. And this time, I have given myself a huge goal to achieve to make sure I won’t drop out : we have signed up for the Paris marathon next year in April ! I am really excited and training really hard for it ! Of all these years of running on and off, I’ve always only managed to run up to 3 or 4 miles, on a flat course. This time, after 2 months, I am running 4 times a week on a hilly course and up to 9 miles at a time. I am still running very slow, but al least, I am running... I am so proud of myself ! Although I have to say that to get there, I had some help... A few months ago, I bought myself a little contraption that records all my runs ! The sensor goes in my shoe and the receptor on my mp3 player, and all my runs are recorded on a website for me ! It also gives me my split times, my pace, distance, etc... It makes me accountable for my runs and it is (for me) a huge motivation to see all these miles that I log every week !

Apart from this little gadget, the most precious thing I have learned in the last few months, is the power of your mental. Your brain is ultimately the one that can make you stop even though you still have the energy to keep going. Especially when you are a beginner, you brain will tell you over and over something like “this is too hard, you should just stop and go home, enjoy a nice comfy couch and a cold drink !”. And until you stop listening to it, your legs will believe it and running will be the toughest thing you have ever done. But once you learned to change that message your brain plays repeatedly, you can use that trick to your advantage. You will come up with a few mantras and sentences that will give you a bigger boost than any energy drink !

Unfortunately you will meet a few setbacks in your training : fatigue, sickness, sometimes injury. I just stretched a muscle in my calf last week, which has been keeping me from running this week. I will give it another couple days before I go back out there. The annoying thing when you are starting to run again after an injury, is that you have to seriously cut back your distances and take it really easy, so I basically have to go back to running just a few miles at a time. Luckily, the proper training for the marathon hasn’t started yet, I am still in the pre-training phase. So from next week, I will take you along my runs and share with you the evolution of my training and my weekly mileage.

I know it is a bit of a change of direction for this blog, but I can’t really be much more minimalist than I am now, since I don’t even have a house ;-) My husband and I are now living at his parents with just a few boxes of the stuff we sent from Thailand. We bought a house that we are rehabbing with the intention of renting it out. Then in January, we are leaving to France for a year to volunteer on organic farms. I will keep you posted on this obviously but in the meantime, most of the posts will be about my running training. I guess it is relevant after all : can you think of a more minimalist sport than running ?


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