the marathon block

Everyone knows there are ups and downs in training, no matter what sport or distance you do. Exalted highs, boring plateaus, and crushing lows. But knowing this in theory doesn’t mean it’s easy to deal with when you’re in the thick of it.

Excuse my overwrought metaphor, but I’m currently in the deep trough of the wave, surrounded on all sides by walls of water threatening to crash down and drown me. Or perhaps the metaphor is that I’m stuck in that familiar dream where I’m running away from bombs/a monster/a tsunami, but despite my panic my legs will. not. move.

It was all going so well. I felt confident. I felt good. I had – if not smashed, then at least cracked – a few workouts in a row.

Then, a week of it all falling apart. Tired and heavy on every run, especially the easy ones. Bad form, stiff calves, and worst of all, not being able to hit any paces on the workouts. Not being able to hold marathon pace 5 weeks out from the marathon is pretty damn scary. If I can’t do 2km, how on earth will I do 42km?

The worst sessions have felt like someone has found the batteries in my legs and yanked them out. Though of course, the real consequence is mental. My confidence has taken a total battering, and unfortunately, my reponse in the session is to crumble.

I’m sure there’s some trite quote set against a sunset that says something about success in life not being about how you deal with the highs, but how you face down the lows.

I think my version is (to quote the seminal psychological text We’re Going on a Bear Hunt), “You can’t go over it, you can’t go under it. Oh no! You’ve got to go through it.”

So, I’m gritting my teeth, pulling on my wellies, and I’ll see you on the other side.

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