In my marathon plan, I have essentially three harder days each week. I say that in jest because the way my body is evolving to handle the training, only one of them is one of those “Oh my God I am dying when is the end of this interval?!” The other two are faster paced, but I feel more confident now about finishing them.
In the beginning of my training, Mondays and Fridays were hard. Tempo intervals and steady state intervals were something I had to get my mind ready for. I thought about it the night before I went to sleep, I made sure I was ready with music or podcasts and also had the option to do a different workout if it wasn’t working.
Now that I’ve progressed, the Friday interval is getting to be something I can wrap my head around to run for a long time. What once was something I could only sustain for a mile is getting to be manageable for many miles.
My long run (the third harder workout) was once something I thought of as “Ok how am I going to run for 18 miles?” To “Ok, I think I can do half of this at marathon pace.” It has become less of a getting through it and more improving my speed at that distance.
What once was hard, has become something I enjoy being challenged by because I know I can do it. Putting in the hard work seemed daunting in the beginning of my training. 800 meter reps that left me breathless made me question whether I was crazy to attempt a marathon. Now, I can see how it has benefited me speed and lung capacity in other runs.
Because I did those crazy 400 meter sprints, my marathon pace got easier. The hard work in my Monday speed workout is getting me where I need to be in my long run and steady interval session. I think of speed work as a marathoner’s strength training. A sprinter or football player lifts weights to get stronger so that the activity feels easier. The weights in themselves are not the main event, they are the hard work that makes the real thing more doable.
Hard work pays off. Hard work is good.
What is something you’ve worked hard for and seen it pay off in other areas?
How do you stay motivated when things get hard?