Our guest blog post comes from marathon training coach extraordinaire (right here in Eugene!) *Jill Mestler.
I have had the pleasure of being in Jill’s marathon training group twice and, I have to say, she and Laura Coll of the Eugene Running Company REALLY put on a good training session…and a good show. If you know Jill, you know what I mean. She’s more than a coach, she’s an all out entertainer and serious running motivator. This gal is for real. Every Saturday morning she would not only get us feeling confident about the long miles ahead, but get us so jazzed about running, the miles flew by. Included in the training group are weekly emails from Jill announcing the upcoming workouts along with the most ass-kicking motivation ever. Here is her latest musings on why it’s a great day to be a runner and the transformative experience of training for and running a marathon. Thanks, Jill!
Here we are, a few steps into the marathon of training. The months of training is, in many ways, analogous to running a race itself; long, difficult, ups and downs, fun, worth it! With 14 weeks to go until race day, time is still on your side…. You may be new to the marathon or half marathon experience. You may be well acquainted with your old friend, running. You may be a seasoned runner who has simply running “not enough!” as one group member described. Your individual situation, goals and backgrounds are different, yet you will hopefully find a shared kinship amongst other runners that gives you a boost as you arrive, in the dark, really early, with the morning agenda dominated by “RUN.” Nothing like mileage for breakfast. (That is creative license – I strongly support consuming actual food for breakfast)
Perhaps you have wrestled with the common concerns: “Can I do this?” “Should I do this?” or even “Do I even want to do this?” “Am I injured? Will I get injured?” “What if I can’t fit in all the training?” “How do I know what pace I can keep up?” “Why is Jill so sure it is a great day to be a runner (and perhaps she should switch to decaf!)” Well, fair enough. Question away! Sometimes you just need to consider these things. Just don’t dwell on all the doubt and question too long. Be open to positive changes that result from training. Fear not fellow runners, you have the power to transform your thoughts to “I can do this.” “I will do this.” ” I DID it!!”
The process of “getting your groove on” for the whole marathon/half training will likely not be an instant process. Still, I am convinced, there is a magical transformation of sorts that happens over the miles, minutes, days, weeks and months. Physiologically, we can prove this. Psychologically you get the joy of experiencing this. Doubt/fear shall be no match as endorphins will prove to be the prevailing party in a head to heart match up. I do not promise or predict a running epiphany with the clouds giving way to sunshine and the Chariots of Fire theme blasting for all to hear. No Rocky theme music miraculously begins either. No medal awarded, not even a significant PR will serve as the defining moment (Although any or all of that would be pretty cool. Please let me know if that happens because I’d have to interview you on that!) The “magic” I reference begins sometimes more at whisper level rather than megaphone. You gradually feel a little bit better as time and training marches on. Your boiling questions are reduced to a simmer. You get to experience the joy of getting “lost” in a run much as you can get “lost” in great conversation, a favorite song or an awesome book. Running becomes less work and more play. You KNOW it is a great day to be a runner, everyday. (To the newbies- you are a “runner” everyday, even when you don’t run that day. Welcome to the wonderful world of being a “runner!”)
Yes, the training can be difficult and tough to fit into your busy life. Not every run is great or even good by typical standards. Sometimes you may not even realize how “great” your run actually was until it is over. Like when you are back home and just a little more patient, easier to smile, content. Then, you may just realize you snuck in a great run afterall. Often, the “time” you used up running is returned to you in the form of increased productivity, energy or focus. Something to consider when juggling your schedule to find the time to run.
Onward, runners, onward. You can do this. The people around you can be a huge source of positive support. Lean on them – and us, the group – BUT also know that YOU have the most influence by believing in yourself! My running cap off to you for choosing this challenge, you are among the elite.
You can do this.
Read this again. Consider. Repeat as needed.
It’s a great day to be a runner!
* Jill Mestler is a busy mother with three beautiful children and still has the time and energy to run a sub-three-hour marathon. As a star high school runner in Enumclaw, Washington, she was a state champion on the track and National Junior Olympic Champion in Cross Country. She enjoyed a successful collegiate career at the University of Oregon where she earned her bachelors degree in Exercise and Movement Science. She also holds a Masters Degree in Human Biology from Pacific University.