There is truly no replacement for the wisdom and insights that come with getting older and life experiences we collect with time. My marathon training, much like last year, continues to provide lessons about exercise and life.
Every weekend since early August, I have a long run to complete. Since the beginning of this race’s training and the abbreviated schedule, they’ve all been at least 10 miles long. This past weekend’s should have been a 20 miler, but a number of factors kept me from finishing that distance (I did just shy of 18.) The main reasons for less than stellar outings, outside of heat, have been sleep and diet.
It’s been apparent to me that weeks with multiple nights of not getting adequate and sufficient rest adversely affected my stamina on the path. The same has held true if I try to “carb load” on Friday night or Saturday morning. I’m not sure how I thought it would somehow trick my body into being ready. Thinking that one day of eating “right” will somehow get me through vs. 6 days of building up and proper fueling is preposterous. For me, any distance over 10 miles, much like a cleansing and refining fire, begins to reveal your weak spots and how you did or did not prepare. Aches in new places settle in. That skipped breakfast manifests as lightheadedness at mile 11.
The phrase “fake it until you make it” doesn’t apply to marathon training and to anything you truly want to be good at.
It’s the long, tireless marching of time that breaks down every lie we tell ourselves about who we are or what we’re capable of doing. Perhaps you show some wit and writing skill in a tweet or social media post, but are you a disciplined and practiced enough writer and think to compose a well thought out essay piece worthy of 15 minutes of attention? If you were asked to defend your political stance or religious beliefs that drills below the surface, is the well deep enough to draw from or would it quickly dry up after one drink?
Being well prepared for the challenges in life always requires a lot of work, and cycles of rest included. It becomes obvious pretty quickly how well or poorly we’re prepared when the big challenges are in front of us, like a marathon that makes us prove ourselves over the long haul. Are you putting in the miles and training to be prepared for the long runs?