This week I officially started training for the Edinburgh marathon.
Originally I was supposed to run this marathon back in May, but, due to the pandemic, it has been postponed to September. At the moment it’s still due to go ahead, but I’m being a little pessimistic and I’m expecting that this year’s race will be cancelled.
But, despite expecting it to be cancelled, I’m still going to train for it anyway – or at least until there is confirmation that it isn’t going ahead. And not just the odd run every now and again. Instead I’m going to do a dedicated – up stupidly early to get the miles done before work and forgoing weekend lie-ins to complete a long run that wipes me out for the rest of the day – type of marathon training.
One reason for this is that there is still the possibility that the marathon will go ahead and, if it does, I want to feel prepared standing on the start line in September. Another reason is because I enjoy running marathons and the dedication and discipline needed to be a long distance runner is part of what attracts me to this sport.
Marathon running is not easy. The training isn’t easy and the race itself isn’t easy. Which is what makes getting across the finish line, no matter what the time, so satisfying. Every marathon medal I have I know I have worked hard to achieve – not just on race day but in the months leading up to it.
I might moan about the training. In fact, I know I moan about the training. When, instead of staying up late and enjoying a few drinks on a Friday night, I have to opt for an early night and nothing stronger than a cup of tea. Or when it’s cold and raining and I would rather stay curled up on my sofa reading, but head out for a run anyway. These are the times when marathon training is tough.
But having the strength and commitment to not give up – to keep lacing up the trainers and heading outdoors for another 10+ mile run when you really don’t want to run – is what shows you that you have what it takes to be a long distance runner.
Training for a marathon isn’t for glory hunters. Unlike with other amature sports, there is no one on the sidelines cheering you as you complete another 15 mile run early on a Sunday morning. Instead, it’s about revealing your strength of character and your ability to keep moving forward no matter how tired you are or how much it hurts. It might be an overused sentiment, but marathon running is just as much about your mental strength as your physical endurance.
And it’s this strength, endurance and toughness needed to be a long distance runner that are part of the reason why I love doing this sport so much.
So, while my race may get cancelled, I’m still going to be up before 5am, lacing my trainers and heading outdoors for my marathon training runs.