The Big M: Momentum

As most of you know, I am getting ready to take on the Dublin Marathon at the end of this month. This will be my 3rd marathon in 3 years. This will also be my last marathon for a while but I’ll leave that to another post. In terms of training, I am at the peak point in the running schedule now, and yesterday myself and my training partner completed the mighty 21-mile run. In terms of my training plan, this is the tip of how far I run in training. The morning yesterday was awful, hard rain from the very start at 9am and it never stopped. We trained in Kilbogget park if anyone knows it, in south Dublin. It is a luxury to have this park on my doorstep as it’s circumference is 3 miles long so yesterday, we lapped this park 7 times to give us the 21 miles.

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This was the very first time that I have ever run with someone for so long. I am used to doing these runs on my own so it was good to have some company. It took about 3 hours and 45 minutes and we were taking a handy enough pace getting around. For the first time this year, I experienced the complete runners high after this run.

I came home, got changed out of my sodden running gear, ran the bath full of Epsom salts (see here for top recovery tips) and soaked for 30 minutes. These salts are miracle workers for exhausted muscles and they help to ease the inflammation on the joints and muscles that you have just inflicted on yourself by running for that long. When I eventually got out of the bath, I felt brand new. I had a huge amount of energy and went around doing jobs, cleaning up, having lunch with my family and anything else I could do around the house. Usually, the stiffness alone is enough to make you feel like 100 years old but not this time and this was mostly due to good food the night before and good sleep, the salt bath after but mostly I think it was due to the feeling of success of completing this particular distance.

I started training for this marathon as far back as June and was consistent with my plan until about mid-September. Around mid-September, I experienced a perfect storm in terms of demands on my time – I started in part-time college, I went on a lads trip away to Portugal and work became very very busy. The impact of all of that was a big hit in my training plan. This period really knocked my confidence, as I know what it takes to do a marathon well and I was not doing it.

For the first time all year, I started to consider dropping out of it altogether, telling myself all kinds of stories to make it ok to quit. But it’s not ok to quit…

…and I had to dig deep to find a way to regain my confidence and the way I did that was to just start back doing what I was supposed to be doing. Small at first, anything at all to build some momentum. So I just went out and did 3 miles. This was enough of a baby step to give me the hunger for more and it just started to rebuild from where I was, not where I should be or the paper plan says I should be, but from where I actually was. This was key – meeting myself where I was and forgiving myself for past mistakes/missed runs and a renewed commitment to be better.

No guilt, no shame. Just forgiveness and a desire to restart.

By running the 21 miles, I now have the confidence boost that I needed to get me over the finish line on marathon 3.

What are you doing in your life where building momentum is key to your success?

Yours in health and happiness,