Today's topic on Take It and Run Thursday at The Runners' Lounge is "The Middle Miles." This has a dual meaning. It can refer to miles 8 through 14 of an 18 mile run, or it can refer to weeks 8 through 14 of an 18 week training program. Either way, you're in the same boat. That first rush of energy and enthusiasm is over, but the goal is still pretty far off. You're tired, you're sore, and you just want to pack it in. So what do you do?
It helps to have a bit of a stubborn streak. Distance running in general, and marathon training in particular, are not for those who give up easily.
It also helps to have a support system. I don't run with anyone, since I haven't found a partner who wants to run my pace and distance. But I do have plenty of running friends, who can be counted on to ask how my training is going. When I have to tell them (as I did this spring) that my marathon has become a half marathon, it's a little embarrassing.
And, of course, I've got my on-line support system. If I give up on a long run, or give up on my marathon training, I have to post it here, for all the world to see. It's one of the oddities of life in the 21st century that a whole lot of people whom I have never met know more about my running life than my wife does.
Ultimately, what has kept me going during these hard weeks is the following thought. I'm earning my marathon finish now. If I meet my goals in October, it will because of the miles I ran in August. You can't cram for a marathon. So, keep on running.
Somebody remind me of that about mile 12 on Sunday, will you?