Staying positive when training doesn’t go well

Over the last few weeks my marathon training hasn’t been going well. While at the beginning the rubbish weather stopped me from getting in shorter mid-week runs, I was still able to do the long runs most weeks. But for the last two weeks I’ve missed my mile target for my long runs, which with three weeks until the marathon are crucial runs to miss. Last week I injured my right quad, which meant I could only run 9 miles before my leg started to get painful. I probably could have pushed on, but this would have risked making the injury worse so I decided to stop at 9 miles. The week before, with what should have been my longest run of 20 miles ended up being just 10 miles. I had been ill earlier that week and I’m not sure if it was the illness or just general fatigue, but during that run I felt I had no energy and just getting to the 10 miles was difficult.

It is really annoying, but while I could let the last few weeks of rubbish training get me down, instead I’m being positive and still going to aim to run the marathon in my target time of under 4 hours. It can be difficult to be positive when things don’t well with your training, so I’ve found some ways that help me to do this no matter how bad my training gets:

Trust your training

I’m constantly reminding myself that focusing on two runs that didn’t go well is forgetting all the runs and other training I’ve done over the last few months to prepare for the marathon. I know my general fitness level is good, plus since starting Crossfit I’m stronger now than I have ever been before – both of which should help me get through the marathon distance. As well as this, it is good to remember that a marathon is just as much a mental challenge as a fitness one, so carrying on when the training isn’t going well will help me to be mentally tougher when I reach mile 20 and I know I have the last agonising 6 miles left.

Focus on what you can control

Illness, injury and weather conditions are all mainly out of our control. Although I’m really careful to not get injured – it happens; and while I aim to eat healthily and get a good night’s sleep – everyone gets ill. Instead of focusing on what I can’t control I try and focus on what I can. This means that when I get injured I really listen to my body, I don’t push runs and I do what I can to try and make sure the injury doesn’t get worse. As well as this, over the next few weeks I know the areas I can control are what I eat, how much rest I get, and how prepared I am for the race; so these are what I’m going to focus on instead of what the weather will be like on the day.  

Remember a race should be fun

The reason why I sign up for marathons is because I love running. So although I do have a certain time in mind that I was to get, if I don’t make that time as long as I manage my injury now I will still be able to run the race. Keeping this in mind I think it is better to miss or cut short a few long runs if it means I can run the marathon in a few weeks’ time than push through an injury and only watch from the sidelines as other runners get to run.

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