Training: Can I really finish my marathon?

Coach Joe English

Coach Joe English

I’ve been spending a lot of time dealing with my first time marathon runners the last couple weeks as they get ready to run their upcoming races and there is clearly a common question on their minds: can I really finish this marathon?

Can I finish my marathonI hear it in a lot of different ways. Sometimes people come up to me and say, “I don’t know if I can run 6 more miles” after finishing a 20 miler. Sometimes it’s the shaking voice and nearly tears version of the question, “I just don’t know if I can do this,” and other times its a more subtle, “I might need to adjust my pace goal — I don’t know if I can run 26 miles at that pace.”

All of this is the mind dealing with a difficult challenge that lays ahead of the body. These runners’ minds are playing out scenarios in their heads. Things like “if that 20 hurt bad, then what’s 26 going to feel like?”

Getting through these feelings takes a little bit of a leap of faith.

See through the season these runners have come along way. They don’t remember the fact that they started out running 3 miles in their first practice four months ago. They don’t remember the days when they didn’t drink enough fluid or eat enough calories or prepare for their runs properly. They don’t realize that in running 18 or 20 miles they become a little running machine that can be turned on keep going for a long, long time.
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