Saturday, February 18, 2012

What I Learned About A Half-Marathon

You know how you used to have to write about what you learned during your summer vacation?  Well I just had to write something about training for my half-marathon.  I started 4 months ago and it’s been a great treat.  Today was the big day.

The first thing you have to know is that it’s not about the running.  You could be writing your first book, playing in your first tennis tournament, seeing your first client, quitting smoking or starting a new business, to name just a few possibilities.  Consider these general principles.

Set a big goal.  I’ve run a 6.2 a number of times.  Never having run more than 8 miles, 13.1 seemed like a pretty big to me.  It doesn’t have to be big by anyone’s estimation but your own.  And you have to own it and want it.

Commit to it.  In my case, this meant joining a training group.  Even after that, I had to pay the fee.  Then I was all in.

Make the commitment public.  The more people you tell, the more you have to do it.

Use rewards.  The small rewards were a celebration for long training runs.  On those days I’d just kick back and relax for most of the day, and go out to eat a great meal.  It’s good to have a bigger reward at the end.  I knew I had to have the 13.1 sticker I’d seen in a running store.  For under $2, every time I look at it that sticker tells me how a girl that can run 13.1 miles can do anything.

Establish your training routines.  What I eat, how much I sleep and what I wear have become almost as important as how much I’m running and when.  Sticking to a training schedule really helped.  Figure out routines that work for you and they’ll keep you on track.

Enjoy the ride.  Note each milestone (pun intended) and revel in it.  Nine miles, then 10, then 12, 13, 14.  It was exciting realizing that what seemed quite distant was becoming closer and closer.  Once I’d done a couple of 14 miles runs, I knew it didn’t even matter if I actually ran the race.  I could run 14 miles!  I was stronger and enjoying the journey.

Notice the changes.  I started feeling more confident in other things.  Nothing seemed impossible or out of reach.  Runner’s high you may say?  I think it’s just the confidence that comes from meeting increasingly difficult goals.  You realize there’s something in you that you weren’t quite sure you had before.  It’s an I got this kind of thing.

Be excited.  When people commented on how cool it was that I was doing this, I began to accept their excitement and own it, instead of saying oh, no big deal.  It is a big deal!  When I went to pick up my race pack and saw people setting up the barricades and mile markers, I started to feel this overwhelming excitement.

Consider how you can apply these principles to your own half-marathon, be it running or another big pursuit.

Learning to Fly, Pink Floyd

1 comment:

Seth Rosario said...

Good post. I ran a half marathon recently and agree with the points you brought out. Nicely written. :)