Doubt & Expectation

My last half marathon was in Idaho Falls almost two weeks ago now. Following that half, I was supposed to dive into building up mileage for the full marathon in Whitefish in the fall. I’ve done about 5 runs since Idaho Falls, and they’ve all been under 6 miles.

I’ve skipped two long runs now, and I’m getting behind in my mileage build up. At this point, I can still build up my mileage but the only expectation I could have would be to finish the full marathon, not to enjoy it or improve my ability to run it.

I’m having some weird athlete’s psychological problem with doubting myself. I have run so many miles in my short return to running, yet lately I’ve feared running — feared the pain, feared dehydration, feared injury. The doubt is ruining my ability to run and the joy and stress relief I receive from running.

I think the doubt stems from putting such a large expectation on myself (the Two Bear Marathon in Whitefish) without the proper time to prepare for it. And having done two marathons that I had to finish out of pure will, I don’t think I could do it again. Not like that.

I’m not cracking under the pressure; I’m just shutting down entirely.

I had serious goals for improving my speed and endurance this season. But I largely forget that I’m coming back from some serious injuries and that it’s impressive I managed two half marathons already this season at the pace I’ve managed.

So many people try to convince me to just stick to half marathons because ‘oh, it’s just as challenging as a full’ (NOT!) or ‘it’s a good distance’ (whatever). I don’t mean to knock the half marathon, it has it’s own challenges, but it’s just not my distance. I crave the full marathon like I crave conquering mountains on my bike. A few people I know, when discussing marathons, always try to tell me, ‘oh, well, I like doing the half because it doesn’t wipe me out’ and then they insinuate that even though they never have done a full, they could if they wanted to, you know, just like snapping their fingers. And I just nod and raise my eyebrows, because a half is nothing like a full and those that would compare them are completely ignorant. Just the commitment for training between the two is enormously different! Not to mention all the race prep.

All this is to say that I want to run another full marathon. Then another. Then another. Halves are just speed exercises to get me there.

And back to the point, if I really want to reach my goals in the full, maybe it would behoove myself to back off the mileage and enjoy improving my pace and endurance this summer and fall, and find a full in the winter or spring to race.

I’ve got to find a way to relieve the pressure though, or I’ll never run again.

  1. Remember what you said to me? Overtraining and all? Maybe you do need a break, if nothing else than for your mental stability. You know you can do this…so take a few weeks breather. I know you can do it.

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