Last month was the start of my London Marathon training program. It is the first time that I am training under the watchful eye of a running coach. When I first saw the training plan, my tummy twisted into uneasy knots. I was told that it was just a build up phase, to get me up to speed after coming from last year’s injuries. It sure did not look easy and I doubted if I will ever accomplish it. But I am happy to report that I tried my darndest to stick to the plan.
To survive, I took it a week at a time, treating each accomplished week as a milestone in itself. I think dividing the task into smaller chunks helps make the program more doable. I try to do the same approach when running long distances too. So a marathon is just four (4) 10k runs. I can hold the thought of running 10k in my mind quite easily versus running 42k. I also celebrate the half way point by eating a treat or giving myself a little jolt of encouragement “Hey you’ve reached the half point, it’s all easy from hereon…. just a little more”. Of course sometimes it’s easier said than done, especially on days that I really don’t feel like running. But breaking the program into more bite sized pieces helps a lot.
The real driver though is the clarity of the reason. It is crystal why I have gotten into this program in the first place. There is a clear metric to deliver and there are concrete steps to get there. So every time I feel like slacking off, I go back to the intent. And I have a coach who constantly reminds me what it is I am training for. I like it too that he does not mince words and says things like “O, bakit ganyan lang di ba Boston Qualifier ang goal mo?”
I was very excited when I sent him the summary of my January actual training. I felt that I did an excellent job by trying to follow the program as much as I can (except when I did not have house help to tend to the kids). So imagine my surprise when I was told that my performance was just “decent” and that he was being lenient because I just came from a previous injury. Again, he went back to the objective and reiterated that I am not training for a sub-4 but a BQ. Same thing with my strength trainer. I told her that I was gaining speed in my runs. She just shrugs and says that I still have a problem with my landing. It’s good that I am training under people who are tough as nails and who do not accept mediocre output.
Upon seeing my February program, I cringed once more and was swept with a fresh wave of self doubt. Eleven weeks to go till the performance, time to step up the game and show up as much as I can, everyday.