I have been training for a first marathon with a goal to finish in under 4:45-5:00. I have been following a program with a local running group, running about 3 times a week, although sometimes less. I have only a few weeks to go to my race. I have managed to complete the peak long distance run and almost every other long slow distance run, even though I haven't been 100% consistent and never ran more than 3 times a week.
My problem? I have no motivation or energy left to finish the training or the race, even though it is a major dream. I just want to sleep for 6 years and never run again. I dread the thought of shuffling through 42.2K. Any tips on how to get back in the game and stop all the negative self talk?
Recently someone (my personal trainer) told me "Either you're a runner or you're not" followed by "Don't most first timers finish in about 4 hours?" with the suggestion that maybe running isn't for me because I'm so slow.
It started a spiral in my head of all the reasons I'm not. But whether that is true or not, I have invested a lot of time and effort to get to this point and would really really like to finish, even if I'm not a natural. Any advice you have would be greatly appreciated.
My favourite time to go down to the finish line and cheer on marathon finishers is between the 5 and 6 hour mark. Why? Because every single person who crosses that finish line has pushed themselves harder than they ever have in their lives. They are accomplishing something that they never thought possible and they have worked harder than most of us will work for anything. Your trainer needs to be careful what he or she says because you never tell someone who just ran 42.2km that they are not a runner, regardless of how long it took.
So you’re tired and you are feeling down. You have lost your motivation. That is normal!!! I am ready to quit daily in my training programs, wondering why I am out slogging away miles in the pouring rain while my girlfriends are enjoying a cozy, Sunday morning brunch.
You learn a lot about yourself when training for an event like this. You learn how to be uncomfortable. You learn how to push through. You learn how not to give up. You learn to dig deep for strength you did not think you had, both emotionally and physically. You learn how to be positive, because every negative thought that you allow to creep into your head, you are one step farther away from finishing the race.
Turn the negative self-talk into positive self-talk and rather than focusing on how tired you are, or how badly you want to give up, or how slow you might believe you are, think about how far you are running and what you are about to accomplish.
You are doing this for you and you are about to accomplish something that no one can ever take away from you. Marathons are hard! The first guy to run that distance thousands of years ago to deliver a war message from Marathon to Athens… died!
Whatever it is you are afraid of, you need to let go. You need to be confident in your ability to do this. You need to know that it won’t be easy but you can overcome whatever obstacle it is that you will face from this day until you cross the finish line.
My last Ironman that I completed I felt just like you. I had to force myself every single day to train. To wake up early and hit the pool, to get on my road bike and spend 8 hours riding it, alone, and to throw on my running shoes when all I wanted to do was sleep in. Race day morning I was in tears. I was standing in the transition area getting ready and I could not stop crying. I was terrified. I was terrified at how hard the day was going to be. I did not believe that I had the strength to finish. But my coach grabbed my teammates and me and said this:
“Every one of you is going to face a challenge today. Some of you will face small challenges and some of you will face big challenges but you all must believe in your ability to overcome these challenges. That is what this day is about.”
I faced a lot of challenges that day – 7 flat tires in the first 60km of the 180km bike portion. All I wanted to do was give up, but knowing that my family and friends were waiting for me 40km ahead, I kept pushing. I pushed and I pushed and even though I crossed the finish line an hour slower than I had wanted I had a huge smile on my face. I would not change that race for anything. Not giving up meant way more to me than a personal best time.
We all dream of the perfect race and as good as it feels for everything to go perfectly, it is the races you work for that mean the most. So believe in your ability to finish and leave your ego at home come race day. Do whatever you need to do to finish the race. Don’t focus on the time, just focus on moving forward. Do this for you, and cross the finish line knowing you did the best that you could.
Attached - Amanda Seyfried hiking with her dog yesterday in Hollywood.