Are you getting ready to run your first marathon and feeling, well, anxious? Does this sound familiar:
"I am extremely anxious about the race and I don't think I am ready. What do I do?"
I have some good news and I have some bad news. The bad news is there’s nothing more you can really do. With the New York Marathon a mere 18 days away we are at the tip of the taper. The good news is YOU ARE READY! Stop stressing about it and let the doubt go. Stop believing that tiny voice that is telling you that you can’t do it. It’s OK to be nervous. It’s good to feel a little anxious right now. They both are only proving not only that you care but that you are invested. I get it, I was FREAKING OUT before I ran my first marathon because I truly wasn't as prepared as I should have been. But I made it! Was it hard? Yes. Was it incredible? YES! In order to endure a marathon you have to trust yourself and you have to believe that you can do it because at this point you don't have a choice. Marathon day is coming.
Here is what we are going to call the Marathon Mind Fuck. It's a giant list of thoughts and things that you are either thinking and regretting now or that you will kick yourself for mid or post race:
You could have trained harder.
You didn’t do enough strength training.
You didn’t do enough speed work.
You didn’t cross train enough.
You could have eaten healthier.
You took too many (or too few) rest days.
It’s too cold, it’s raining, it’s too hot, it’s too humid.
You aren’t sure you are ready.
You don’t want to try and get hurt.
You’re afraid you won’t finish.
You spent to much energy weaving.
You were in the back of the coral and stuck behind a slower pace group.
You didn’t run as fast as you wanted to or could have.
You took off to fast.
You could have run faster but those hills!
Your legs are cramping.
Your stomach is cramping.
You can’t focus.
You forgot to start your watch or app.
You forgot your pace strategy.
You regret your carb loading meals.
You are thirsty and/or hungry.
You are over it.
Your legs are in agonizing pain.
You are chafing and/or bleeding.
You didn't pace yourself the way you planned.
You didn’t cross the finish line proudly or smiley enough.
In the words of Taylor Swift, 'Shake it off.' One if not all of these thoughts are going to creep into your brain at one point in the next 18 days. Many of these are going to happen during the race. SHAKE IT OFF!
I was reading an interview my new favorite human being Shalane Flanagan did with competitor.com. I love how incredibly ballsy, forward, and willing to fail Shalene is. This I the attitude we all need to adapt, unapologetically shooting for the stars.
“I don’t see any downside in sharing what we are striving for. I don’t want to sugarcoat it—I’m honest with myself and with other people about my goals. I don’t feel entitled about them or what it’s going to take to get there—some of them are pretty lofty ones! It’s almost like writing your goals on your wall, like when you were a little kid. It’s the same kind of thing, and if someone asked me what I want to do, I don’t try to hide what I want to achieve. I guess I’m not afraid of failure.”
No one should try to hide what they want to achieve. We need to stop being modest and we need to start reaching for the stars. Get out of your own damn way. Stop telling yourself you aren't ready. Your marathon is your lofty goal, you had the courage to sign up and train, now go for it! Stop stressing about whether you are ready or not.
Running a marathon is about enduring. It’s about putting one foot in front of the other when you want to quit. It doesn’t matter if you walk, crawl, hop, skip, sprint, run, dance, juggle, or jog your way through it. If you’re tired TAKE A SECOND TO WALK! 26.2 miles is 26.2 miles whether you sprint it or walk it. It's going to be difficult, that is what makes it such an incredible feat. You are about to enter into a very small club. Did you know only .05% of Americans run a marathon? You aren't just the 1% you are the .05%! When those fears and anxieties arise, shake them off. You are as ready as you will ever be. I wish I could say the hard part is over. One of the hard parts is over. All you have to do now is show up, go forward, and endure. The last 4-6 months of hard work will pay off. You just have to make it through the taper! Until tomorrow everyone, #RunSelfieRepeat.