I describe myself as a self-driven person. Those who know me will approve this message. I do not need much cajoling to get moving. I find strength inside of myself to get moving; that includes my running! I go out on self-initiative, with nobody telling me to move. Nor do I wait around for a running partner! This has been the nature of my running from the start, motivated by the need to “take care of myself”.
Yet, even I do wish for running company sometime. I wish I had a partner to motivate me to run more or faster. Sometime I just need that force to, let’s go, when I feel so much doubt about making that first step. To push me up the hills faster, and keep with me through scary neighborhoods., especially when I am training for a marathon.
Last time I trained to run a marathon, I had company in spirit and flesh. Not everyday, but for all the long weekend runs, and some of the short runs on Monday and Sunday. For the rest of the week, I ran solo, but with mental accountability to my running group. I love to outlast everyone else. So, I aim to put in more weekly mileage than everyone else in my running group. I monitor their performance via shared running/fitness Apps. I also commit to weekly mileage recommended for marathon experts.
While training for my last marathon, my running-mate, an experienced marathon runner recommended 72 kilometers (44 miles) as the standard weekly mileage. I probably did more most weeks with my routine of: 2.5mil (3km) to 3.7mil (6km) on Monday run with “The Hash”; one day of rest on Tuesday; 8.7 mil (14k) run on Wednesday and Thursday; three hours of gym strength training and body toning on Friday; 17 mil (28km) to 18.6mil (30km) long run on Saturday; and 6 mil (10K) run on Sunday. So, on marathon day, I was fit as a fiddle, while my running mates suffered along the trail due to insufficient training and preparation for the marathon.
Now as I train for Boston 2015, I am back at it again, trying to keep the discipline going. I have missed a couple of runs, either because I had nobody to watch the child over the weekend when I needed to go out for a run [which is often the case], due to inclement weather or procrastination. As a single mother, my running profile is most active during the week [Monday to Friday], when child is at school. I am also currently unemployed outside the house, a blessing in disguise that allows me more disposable hours to dedicate toward running. So, I try to maximize my mileage during the school week, and do my long run on Friday instead of Sunday.
There are some demotivating challenges. I live in a neighborhood where most back roads have no sidewalks, forcing me to compete with traffic. Yet, typically I love to go out right after dropping my child off at the school bus, when the morning traffic is also heading out to work. The terrain and weather in my neighborhood can be quite a challenge, with plenty of steep climbs, sharp turns and terrible winter snowstorms. While I love the steep climbs, it is quite a challenge running on the backroad, navigating the twists and runs on small roads with barely any sidewalks. In the Winter, the sidewalks are snowed-in, and visibility is terrible, with massive fog in Spring . So, I take to run along the main streets, with better sidewalks/runs and busy human movement. Except, the concrete is too hard on my legs, a great risk to pounding on those long weekly runs!
But I love the main streets! They help me run better, feel safer on larger sidewalks and inspired by motorists potentially watching me run. The motorists are my inspiration to keep running and improve my speed, especially when feeling under-motivated. Still, I wish I had an extra person, sometimes, with the same running schedule as mine, to go out with now and then and pound those concrete streets and steep climbs.