10 Lessons I learnt about life training to run a marathon

Last Saturday I ran my very first marathon. For those outside of the running world that equals 42.2kms or 26.2miles. Yes, basically a really long way. AND i agree, its very easy to consider this complete insanity. It certainly went through my head many… many times in the lead up to the race. But there is a very fine line between insanity and a really good idea. For me, running a marathon definitely landed on the really good idea side of the line and I will tell you why through the following lessons I learnt.

 Lesson One : There is no benefit to anyone in pretending to be somewhere your not

When I first started training I really, really wanted to be fitter than I was. I wanted so much to say, yeah I just ran 10ks to build myself up and maybe even impress. I wanted to be past the hard yards already. But when doing that I would be disappointed in where I actually was instead of proud of the fact that I was running. I was missing the point. I learnt that it is in the hard yards of initial training I learnt the mindset lessons that would push me past my fears and pain on the actual race and I was reminded again of the same fears when I was the last consistent runner (ie not run walk run walk) to cross the finish line. Yes I was last. YES I FINISHED and I am soooo proud of myself for loving both!

Lesson Two : Consistency is KEY

Oh my lord is it ever! When training long distances you really feel a two week gap in your training routine! There were a few times when this couldn’t be helped. Sick children, sick mummy. But other times where it could have been. And boy did I feel it! If you want to really feel how the lack of consistency is hurting you, change your physical training or drop it and go back to it after a few weeks and try to keep the same pace. This is the same in business, study, work. The rhythm of the constant flow of experience in an area builds the muscle and makes it easier. If you want to improve or even maintain a standard, you must be consistent.

Lesson Three : Energy Input, Energy Output

How I treated my body was very much apparent any time I went for a run. Had I gotten enough sleep? Drank enough water? Eaten enough greens? Protein? What were my B vitamin levels at? All the body’s needs are heightened and made very apparent through the walls you hit throughout the run. I have been brought back again to consciously fuelling my body on yet another level increasing my vitality and health.

Lesson Four : It’s okay to want to give up

Just don’t.

Lesson Five : Your support network is ever present, regardless of if you notice them.

I never really realised just how many people I had behind me until I entered this process. To train for a marathon requires dedication and TIME! Dedication I have, time, was something that can be difficult for me to manage (or at least that is what I had told myself) I have a business to run and children to look after. I also knew very little about how exactly to train when I first started and so education was needed. Yet the support that came has been inspiring. Babysitters in every form, companions on the odd occasion to keep me company. Much needed advise from people who have been there before. Having my kids behind me throughout the training and with me as I crossed the line. Along with simply words of encouragement. I set the goal thinking I would just do it, without realising just how much support I would need. All of the people who provided this support is the reason I was able to achieve my goal. Without it I can’t imagine how I would have. It has been an amazing lesson in noticing just how wonderful the people in my life are and just how supported I am to be the very best version I myself I could be. Which to be honest I am not sure I would have really seen if I had not needed to ask.

Lesson six : The first push round the block is always the hardest. The rest is muscle memory and mindset.

It took me just as much time to train to reach 10kms as it did the last 32kms. Because it was the process of creating fitness in my body and teaching my muscles how to move, how to support, how to propel me forward. After that it was just keeping on stretching. The jumps between distances got bigger and faster. Learning any skill or putting into practice any new behaviour is the same. Building the capacity to use the new muscle (Whatever the muscle actually is) and then believing that you can sustain it allows for longer periods of greater intensity experience. Push through your first hump or trip around the block. It gets easier.

Lesson seven : Equipment is everything

I was recommended some amazing shoes early in my training and because of them I have not fallen victim to the toenail loss and feet that are just one large blister that I have seen on others. Ensuring you use quality equipment/systems makes for a smoother, more enjoyable experiences 🙂 YAY

Lesson eight : Sometimes after all your preparation all you can do is trust

I had everything lined up and ready to go the day before the race and then my dear friend who was to look after my children broke her ankle! No one else was available at such short notice so I resigned myself to the possibility of not being able to run while trusting that it would all work out. All the prep work was done. There was not another organised marathon I could do for 6 months. The only thing to do was cry or trust. I chose to trust. Putting the reality out on social media brought me my midnight saviour, literally messaging me at midnight to see if I still wanted to run and offering her time to make it happen! AMAZING woman. AMAZING universe.

Lesson nine : Your goal HAS to be about more than completing it.

To run a marathon is all good and well but for what purpose? I set myself this goal because it would create the drive to push me to a level of fitness I desired. I wanted to be strong in my body. To be fit, and fitter than I have ever been. I wanted to look like I felt about myself, (which is pretty darn awesome ;)) I wanted to have a way to release my frustrations and to ensure that I would do it each week.  I think without all of this I would have probably just been really grateful that it has been and done now and have no motivation to continue on. But its not just a goal, its a lifestyle. It has changed the way I relate to myself, my body and other people. My identity has changed as a result which has meant the motivation was not hard. I ran because that’s who I am. A runner.

I am sure there were more, but those are the lessons that really stand out for me from this experience. I share them to hopefully inspire you, not necessarily to run a marathon, but to do something that is just on the great idea side of the insanity line because it’s not reaching the goal that is the big deal it’s who we become in the process. (There you go, that makes 10)