Every round of marathon training means going back to school. Some lessons are new; others don’t sink in the first time…or ten…and require re-learning.
A common theme I’ve encountered in these lessons is management. Certain kinds, like time management, stand out. Others are more subtle, but that does not mean they can be ignored.
Energy Management. The more marathons I run, the more I value the conservation of energy (cheers, Sir Newton!). I love sleep as never before, whether it’s grabbing a catnap or finally, gratefully, tumbling into bed at the end of the day at the raucous hour of…er…9:30. I also love sitting. I know, I know – according to magazines, if you sit for more than approximately four minutes per day, you may as well just buy your casket right now. But I’ll tell you: after a long or tough workout, followed by what I call “leg maintenance exercises,” then showering, preparing dinner, cleaning, and any other necessary tasks, the act of sitting feels almost sinfully good.
And why do I appreciate sleeping and sitting so much? No, it’s not to ensure I have enough energy to run – running is a non-negotiable for me right now. It’s to ensure I have enough energy to give as much as I can to my running, so that I can, in return, receive all that it has to offer. Physically, mentally, emotionally. And it offers a lot.
Faith Management. I don’t necessarily mean faith in God, although with Bible verses like Corinthians 1:24-26 (“Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it…Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty.”), I intend to keep God in my running. What I mean more is faith in The Training Plan. I’ve learned this is vital in all stages of training. At the beginning, when I’m shuddering at all those weeks of increasing mileage – I must have faith that those miles will not break me, but make me stronger, in due time. In the middle, when I’m questioning how much more my legs can take, how much bigger my appetite can possibly get, how my training compares to everyone else’s – I must have faith that my legs will be fine, my food intake is necessary and appropriate, and that everyone uses different training plans and comparing mine to theirs is pointless. And at the end, when I’m hovering at the starting line, all thoughts suspended – I must have faith in myself. Period.
Fun Management. Arguably the most important. Training for months means drudgery will happen. Thus, I’ve learned to get fun wherever I can, such as:
• Wearing clothes that make me happy (I like hot pink and *occasionally* splurge on Lululemon or Oiselle).
• Doing interval workouts anywhere BUT a track.
• Seeking out scenic, less “utilitarian” routes for non-interval and non-long-run days.
• Encouraging others, even if it just means smiling and waving at a stranger(s) during a run. It makes a difference, I swear.
• Taking my training blinders off once in a while. This March, I’m going with my friend Meghann to watch Major League Baseball’s Spring Training for four days. Running will be tricky, but I’ll figure something out. I’m not agonizing about it.
What are you the manager of in your life?
P.S. Thank you to http://miles4moms.wordpress.com for my second Liebster Award nomination. I’m honored!