When it comes to long runs an important lessons to learn is when it’s sensible to stop and not complete the distance and when to change your mindset and push on through. Unfortunately this is a lesson that is often learned the hard way, as Abi has discovered.
Name: Abi Wright
Goal: To finish in one piece!
Marathon history: First marathon
What I learnt this week: Sometimes it’s ok to walk
Until recently training has been fun, hard but fun and I’ve enjoyed ticking off the miles and going ever further. But my last two long runs have not gone to plan, I’ve got myself worked up and emotional and things haven’t gone well. It’s been very tough but I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s all part of training, no one said the marathon was easy, mentally or physically, and sometimes you have to know when it’s sensible to stop and walk rather than doggedly completing those miles and damaging your body and spirit.
So here we go, here are the runs that all went a bit Pete Tong!
The other weekend I set off down to Surrey to do a 14 mile run with Allan my marathon buddy. I was nervous because I usually run on my own, just me and my own pace. Running with someone else, maybe being too slow for them, I was just thinking about it all too much and got myself in a bit of a state. Allan answered the door to me in floods of tears, poor bloke!
In my worked up state I had also forgotten some key things I usually take with me on my run. I forgot my music, which I always run with, and my Nike fuelband, which again just threw me. But after a quick pep talk we headed off. I found running without music really disconcerting, I usually have the choons pumping loud to push me on but there was nothing apart from the pounding of feet and breathing. I did say to Allan feel free to talk to me but I won’t be able to reply much! I think all the worrying had affected my body as as we hit mile three I got really bad stomach pains. Cue quick toilet stop in the woods, well needs must.
You never know what’s going to happen on the day, so I thought of this as training through adversity and said to myself just get ONIT get it done.
We set off again and realised I’d left my Raybans in the temporary toilet. FFS. My stomach was still in knots but I decided to push on through. You never know what’s going to happen on the day, so I thought of this as training through adversity and said to myself just get ONIT get it done.
I kept having visions of running down the Mall with all my family and amazing mates cheering and it drove me on
Allan kept saying you can stop if you want, but I was no way going to give in. When I have a number to hit I want to stay out until it’s done. All the time I was having waves of emotion. Being so overweight for so long you just never think you will get out of the hole and to be running is a miracle. But I kept having visions of running down the Mall with all my family and amazing mates cheering and it drove me on.
In short that run was bloody hard but it taught me if it hurts you mentally focus on other things, change your mindset and I repeat in my head all the time FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT. I also learned to make sure I have everything I need packed before the big day so I don’t get myself in a state if I’ve forgotten anything.
I was in tears because I knew if this carried on my 20 miles wouldn’t happen.
I thought that was it for the tough runs but this weekend the big one was looming. I had 20 miles to complete. I really needed a confidence boost so I carefully planned my route and prayed for a great run. I practiced running with my full marathon clobber on so I knew it’d be ok for the day. The weather was perfect, sunny but cool and within 100 yards I felt great. Fuelling went well and all was looking sweet until mile seven when my back and all across my shoulders became really painful. I was in tears because I knew if this carried on my 20 miles wouldn’t happen. I stopped and walked and did a few stretches but things were not right, I carried on but the pain did too.
I had to make a decision. Carry on and possibly ruin my marathon dream or be strong and call it a day.
With the whole emotions of my journey and the emotions that go with it things like this frustrate me. I have been through so much to get here and the thought of not completing terrifies me. All these thoughts were whizzing through my head, tears were flowing but I had to make a decision. Carry on and possibly ruin my marathon dream or be strong and call it a day. I stood leaning on a bridge crying thinking the sensible option was the best. This was physical pain not mental and it was the right decision. This close to my dream I can’t afford to risk anything it was such a hard decision but I knew it was the right one. Sometimes it’s not the mileage but the mental strength that is important.
The upside is that I still hit 15 miles and having conquered 18 in the previous weeks I’m in a good position. I know even if I have to crawl I will cross this line. Time isn’t a worry it’s all about completing the challenge. This will be will be the most amazing ever feeling, hard work, determination and pure focus will get me through. Bring on the fun!
Read more about Abi’s story here lungesandlycra.co.uk/from-25-5-stone-to-26-2-miles-abi-rocks/ …
Follow Abi on Twitter @abiwrightonit
Read Abi’s earlier blogs here
Ps, little note from Charlotte. Abi you should be so proud of what you’ve achieved already, how many people ca run 18 miles eh? All these things are just there to test you and it’s so much better to get them out the way now so you can have the most amazing day on 13 April. We’ll be there cheering and handing out the beer at the finish line. You have already EARNED that medal lady!