Week 4 and the feeling of achievement is starting to really shine through. Yes, even in these early days of training and even though I have been here before. A marathon is so much more than just that one race. It’s a whole experience that incorporates 16-18 weeks of solid training. I often think a marathon resembles the well known quote that “happiness is not a destination, it is a way of life”. And each marathon campaign is different and despite this being my fourth, it’s a new campaign with its own triumphs and challenges. Every run is a goal towards my big goal and ticking off those small milestones is what helps you stay motivated and on track.
I see marathons and running in general as a way of life. Yes, a lot of us work towards an end goal but the experience we have from start to finish is one of strength, bravery and commitment and this can be applied to any distance of running, even if you are just starting out. I hear all too often from people and generally complete strangers, that they can’t run. And I too had the same thought before I started running. My question to them is always; “why can’t you?” and they continue to tell me that “I get so puffed out, my legs hurt, my chest hurts etc and then they go on to say I just can’t” and then we continue to talk about how they would love to run. And they go on dreaming about it.
I always walk away with a tinge of sadness thinking, you have it in you. But I don’t push the point so much because the last thing I want to do is come across a preacher. But the fact that he/she gave it a go shows that they want to try it and they want to start this journey of running fulfillment. This is where that overwhelming sense of achievement comes into it. Whether you are at the start, the middle or pushing for some huge goals you always have to take that first step of starting and it doesn’t matter how many runs or events you have done. Taking that step to committing to achieving your goal is the hardest but yet most satisfying.
Week 4 of my New York Marathon campaign started normal except I had a chesty cough but I was able to run and felt great after each run. My 9km negative split run on the Thursday heightened my motivation because I felt I had achieved a mini goal of running 5km and then 4km at 5:00 min/km pace. It’s been awhile since I had run that fast for that distance but I did it and I felt invincible. Then Saturday morning rolled by and it was a 6am 11km run in minus temperatures but again I did it and I felt fantastic. And this time I felt I had achieved an even greater goal because I pushed past any negative thoughts about how cold, dark and early it was going to be and I just got on with the job at hand.
The feeling of pride and achievement no matter where you are in your running journey never leaves you. Ticking off mini goals and just enjoying the ride is what motivates us to keep moving and keep running. The goals don’t have to be big and I know there will be people who won’t care that you get up at 5am to train in the freezing cold but you do and that’s all that matters. The sense of achievement just means that you are on the right track and you are loving what you are getting from your running.