Training for the Marine Corps Marathon officially kicks off in a couple weeks. I would be lying if I said I was going into this without any worries. I have several, in fact. I’m not going to let anything get in my way and I know I accomplish any goal I set my mind to, but the question marks and fears are still there nonetheless.
After talking with friends, fellow bloggers, and runners, it seems pre-training cycle jitters is a common theme among us. Here are the six things that make me nervous going into any training cycle, but most assuredly the one coming up:
Six Things That Make Runners Nervous Before a Training Cycle
1. Nutrition. Last year I used a variety of fuels for long runs — my own blueberry marathon bars, PROBAR Bolt, homemade trail mix, pretzels — you name it and I ate it. This time around will be much more challenging with my attempt to rid my diet of added sugars. It’ll be a lot of trial and error, that’s for sure. I just hope I can find something that works.
2. Long runs. I love my long runs, don’t get me wrong. I’ve mentioned before how I love the ritual of getting ready for the long run: everything from getting my fuel and drink ready to loading up my hydration vest with all my supplies on my back. But this time around, I won’t be training with anyone. I’ll be running almost exclusively on my own. I’m part of a couple running groups but those folks are either not on my same mileage plan or they’re much faster than I am. I can’t do 14 mile runs at a 9:00 minute/mile pace. It’s neither smart training nor physiologically possible.
3. Midweek runs. I’m not afraid of a little midweek long run. But I know it’s going to be a struggle some weeks to wake up hours and hours before my family does just to get my workout in. Granted, I’ve been running in the wee hours of the morning for years, but sometimes sleep jealousy does take over a bit.
4. Injury flare-ups. What I’m mostly worried about are potential injury flare-ups. I’ve dealt with iliotibial band syndrome, stress reactions, plantar fasciitis, and now a possible case of arthritis. I have no interest in rehashing any of those past experiences and I know the only way to stave them off is to stretch and strengthen. Which leads me to my next point.
5. Training time. I need to focus on the extras this time around to avoid injury flare-ups. I need to do the strength training and the ITB rehab exercises, as well as the post long-run yoga. My fear is that I’m in such a routine of being tired from running, mom-ing, blogging, and coaching, that I’ll brush those things to the side. I need to make sure I find a balance.
6. Traveling. This isn’t really related to training at all, but it’s in the back of my mind since my travel plans aren’t set yet. The original plan was to simultaneously visit family, be tourists, and run a marathon all in the same trip. But I worry about my son missing too much school, I worry about where we’re going to stay, and I worry about my husband having to entertain two children for upwards of 8 hours on race day alone in a strange city. Granted we have family there and have been to DC more times than I can possibly count — I usually joke that it’s my second home — but I still feel bad ditching him all day long despite knowing he’ll be okay without me.
Thankfully most of these are variables I can control so it’s up to me to make the best of this experience and to walk away victorious. The Marine Corps Marathon has been on my bucket list for years. I wanted it to be my first marathon, in fact, so I’m more than grateful for the opportunity to run this distinguished race. And as much as training might suck, which it won’t, I won’t take this opportunity for granted even for a second.
I know other runners share some of these same fears and trepidations when starting a new training cycle, especially if there has been an issue in the past. With a little positivity and dedication, though, we will prevail!
TALK TO ME!
What’s your biggest fear going into a long training cycle?
What’s your go-to long run fuel?