With 5 weeks to go until my first of three Marathons I’ve come to realise the importance of routine. The main battle with achieving such an elite distance isn’t with your legs or your lung capacity but your mind. If you can master that battle then your half way there already.
Having spent the weekend celebrating my wedding anniversary my ‘long run routine’ couldn’t have been further away from where it needed to be.. To give you an insight..my usual routine consists of a nice carbohydrate heavy evening meal (home made pizza is a personal favourite), no fizzy drinks and to consume water throughout the evening. I’ll have an early night and then get up about 7am to have poached eggs on toast with a strong filter coffee. Having finished this by 7.30 ill spend an hour relaxing whether it be listening to music or a few computer games.. with a route planned ill then begin some stretches shortly after 9 with the intention to be hitting the pavement by 10am. Over the past few months I’ve learnt its important to work towards a time that you will be running the actual event your training for so your body can be as prepared as possible.
With 15 miles on the schedule for today the preparation was awful but I tried my best to push this from my mind and get ready. I tried to convince myself I’d be fine once I got out there and the feeling of getting it done would be worth it. Mile 1.. ok not great but not bad either.. its warm but were going to get this done. Mile 2.. I’m not sure about this.. im not enjoying the route and It doesn’t feel right.. Mile 3.. I’ve stopped for water a couple of times now.. a week ago this was a lot different.. 3.4 miles and its over.. No matter how much I tried to convince myself I could do it and try to push through to get it done it just wasn’t going to be. A short call to the local taxi firm (or my wife as she is more commonly known) and I sat to think about what I was going to take from this experience.
I have a friend who’s also began trying to better himself by running good distances with his aim to complete a half marathon.. There’s times when I’ll get a text message if he’s struggling or thinks he’s too sore to get his workout done and I’ll usually have a few unkind words for him to try and get him to crack on! This was the first thing I thought about when I sat on the grass looking along the road I had just ran down. This was different though.. Id also always told him the importance of a strong routine and making sure his diet was right and how it needed to be in anticipation for his workouts. This is what I knew I’d got wrong.. massively wrong. But then who’s going to turn down a complimentary cooked breakfast in a 5* hotel the morning after their 1st Wedding Anniversary! That’s when I knew all I could do was keep smiling and again, use what I was experiencing to learn from and motivate me over the next 5 weeks of training.
I guess what I’m trying to say is if you want to achieve something truly great it doesn’t matter if you’ve cooked yourself 10 meals for the week ahead, bought yourself a box full of supplements and got that nice Nike Pro outfit you’ve had your eye on for a while.. If your not mentally ready for what lies ahead you won’t get there. Yeah those first few sessions might go well and your ‘at the gym’ check ins will get a few likes.. but eventually your going to go back to your old ways and your old routines. Your going to be first in line for those cakes in the office again.. even though all the ‘oh your so good not having one’ comments made you feel really good about yourself. So how do we avoid this happening?
The key is to find a routine that works for you and one that’s realistic. If you have a family then you need to sit down and work something out that doesn’t affect everyone around you.. if that happens then eventually all the aggravation you get will ruin any progress you hope to make! If you create yourself a realistic schedule with realistic timings then you will make the progress you want to make. What happened to me today is proof of that. If my schedule was as it usually is I’d be sat here writing about how well training is going in my usual witty manner. Instead I’m sat here writing about my failures in an effort to help others such as yourself.
Its also important to remember that hitting this brick wall shouldn’t ever be classed as failure. As I’ve written about previously you must listen to your mind as well as your body in order to make the progress you want to. However it’s also important not to confuse laziness for mental exhaustion! If you give yourself the tools to succeed the only thing that will hold you back is yourself.. If you think you need a break then have one.. but also make sure your back out there tomorrow, on schedule. Otherwise in 12 months you’ll be reading more blogs like this one (admittedly better ones no doubt) trying to motivate yourself again.
I’ve received some great feedback since I started writing these blogs and its been great to know that what I’m saying has actually been worth reading. Any other feedback is greatly appreciated.