Sunday, January 18, 2015

Finding Time and Honing Mental Toughness

As it turns out, training for a marathon takes a lot of time.  Earth-shattering revelation, no?  Before deciding to train for this distance, I accounted for the extra time I'd spend out on the road logging my miles, but there's a bunch of other time that I didn't quite consider: additional stretching and foam rolling, plotting new (longer!) routes, planning logistics for long runs while still balancing the family calendar.  I knew I'd have to do these things, and I knew they would take time.  However, I hadn't considered the enormity of the mental energy they would require.  The planning, scheduling, and organizing are almost as exhausting as the miles themselves.

In spite of all this, I'm so glad that I decided to train for a marathon this winter.  I'm (over-) committed on many different fronts, but running is the singular thing I do for me.  By signing up for the marathon, I've committed to taking care of myself: eating the right food, getting enough sleep, guarding my mental and physical health.  I obviously should do these things no matter the race calendar, but running gives me extra impetus to focus on my well-being.  Without the marathon as my anchor, I likely would have slipped on most, if not all, of these tasks.

The marathon training process is also an opportunity to develop my mental toughness, which will carry me through the late miles on race day AND through countless other real-life difficulties.  The lessons I learn while running make me a stronger wife/mother/human.  This training plan is teaching me to push my limits, to try something that seems too crazy to imagine, to continue pushing until the work is done.  Because of this mental training, I'm better equipped to handle the numerous non-running stresses in my life.

So, while it seems crazy to add one more enormous task onto my plate, I wouldn't change it for the world.  There are other things on my docket that I'd drop in a heartbeat if given the opportunity, but not the marathon.  That is mine, and I'm keeping it.