Marathon Update: On knowing when to change goals

When I first started this blog, it was with the intention that I’d keep track of my marathon training and chat about what I was reading while I was at it.  The blogging hasn’t panned out how I’d hoped. Nor, sadly, has the marathon training.

I knew going into it that marathon training was a huge undertaking. I knew that it would take commitment and time. I knew it, and yet somehow I still really didn’t. I started well. I racked up the miles and I enjoyed the vaguely therapeutic feeling of ticking training runs off a plan. I ate well and I was focussed. Then I got really busy at work. As in start-work-before-breakfast-work-through-lunch-stay-late busy. For weeks. As those weeks ticked by and the training run ticking-off slowed, I started feeling guilty. Running had gone from being something that I loved to being just another thing that I had to feel badly about not doing properly, like seeing my friends and family.

By the time I had some spare time again, I was miles behind. Literally. I should have been up to about 35 miles a week and I was just about getting back to 15 miles. I was running but every time I did run, I felt like it wasn’t far enough, wasn’t fast enough, wasn’t enough. The one thing that was usually my outlet had become another thing on my ‘to do’ list. I struggled on for a few weeks, berating myself for long work evenings during the week and for resting too much at the weekends. I struggled with the idea of ‘quitting’ and telling people that actually no, I wasn’t going to run a marathon in May. Eventually I realised that I was being ridiculous.

And so I stopped.

Not running necessarily but training. I resigned myself to 2019 not being the year that of the Liverpool Marathon for me. Or indeed any marathon. I switched off my training plan on MapMyRun and stopped the relentless Sunday emails telling me just how many miles I was supposed to be covering that week. I’ve since spent a few weeks just doing a whole range of gym classes again. I’ve been spinning, I’ve been to circuits classes and I’ve been to bootcamp classes. And it’s been wonderful. It’s been fun again!

I finally went for a run this week and it was glorious! I ran without caring about distance or speed or when I’d be able to fit in another run. I just ran.

I do definitely want to run a marathon one day when I have more time to dedicate to those mid-week 10km runs and the weekend long runs. Maybe that will be next year and maybe it won’t be for ten years. I don’t know. But until then, I’m just going to run.

How do you know when a goal you’ve set yourself isn’t working for you anymore? When is ‘quitting’ really just ‘resetting’? Let me know I’m not alone!

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