It is about two months left for the half-marathon now, and as I sit back and take some time to think about the race to come and to reflect on the training days that have gone by, I feel a crazy mix of emotions.
When I look at the future and think about the race to come, I feel a lot of excitement, as well as a lot of anxiety. I know that I will have to train harder, prepare my body and mind to make them a lot stronger and commit so much more of myself to training for this marathon. The weeks to come are going to be filled with a lot of pain in the body, a constant battle with the part of my mind wanting to give up, a looming question about whether you will make it to that finish line, making healthier choices each day, happiness when you see yourself stronger and fitter and a lot of joy and pride of achieving something awesome.
When I reflect back on the time that I have trained, I feel so happy (I actually can’t stop smiling right now when I am writing this). I clearly remember the day I ran that first mile. The small glimmer of hope that I saw in being able to do that half-marathon and the feeling of joy and accomplishment I felt. And I have felt that every time I added a mile to my run;I have felt so happy. The last two weeks, I have managed to pull off a number of runs. Most importantly, I have added a seven-miler to the list.
As I ran toward the seventh mile, I was thinking about the journey toward adding every new mile, the breaking of each barrier one after the other, from not being able to run a single mile, to that extreme pain in my right leg when I ran toward the second, to completing the third mile and deciding that I have ran enough for the year so lets just target a 5K this time, to spending so many days just not even trying to run beyond the fourth mile. Completing that seventh mile was a moment of glory.
And the one thing this has taught me is that all the barriers that we see are the ones set by our own mind. You really can achieve anything if you can prepare for it. Whenever I ran, I always felt that if I pushed myself, the body could run one more mile, but the mind said, “hey … haven’t we done enough already … we don’t want to do too much and hurt our body now do we.” And this constant battle with the mind has continued with every run.
One of the best things that a large goal does to you is the kind of person you start becoming while trying to achieve that goal. As I train myself toward this marathon, one of the big ways I see this training affecting my life is mind control. While earlier, I gave up into my moods, whether it was making a food choice or looking at my social media updates while working on something important, I see that changing now. As I train my mind to not give up during that run, I see myself picking up that healthy snack and not reaching for my phone to see my social updates every few minutes. Of all the ways this marathon has affected my life, the mind control part seems to be the most amazing one.
Coming back to the distance covered, the race to the seventh mile was not a difficult one. The fact that I have been progressively adding miles to my count has surely helped. The one thing that has really helped a lot in getting to that distance is running with a partner. I have been running with my husband Sanmit, and when I feel like stopping, he motivates me to keep running and vise versa. I highly recommend getting a partner when you are training for a marathon.
The seven-mile run made me extremely tired, though. I know that I need to keep practicing the long runs more and be very particular about my nutrition now.
As we get close to the marathon these are going to be the most important things that I will focus on:
1. Cross training. More focus on core strengthening.
2. Yoga after every long run to relax the body before the next one.
3. Tracking the run. Tracking time — how much time does it take for me to complete my first half? How much time does it leave for the second half? When can I pace myself more?, etc.
4. Managing energy — what I am eating before the run, what I am eating after the run, at what mile do I need my energy bar?, etc.
5. Running on different tracks.
As the marathon is getting closer, the excitement is surely building up. All focus now is to train hard for the next two months so that the final day is relatively easier. In my head, I just keep picturing myself crossing that finish line. The time is coming closer to put that picture into reality.
Dipti Gore’s training schedule for this week:
Monday: Run seven miles, yoga
Tuesday: Spinning, weight training
Wednesday: Run three miles, swimming
Thursday: Spinning, weight training
Friday: Run seven miles, yoga