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Taking it one run at a time

Taking it one run at a time

Marcel is a Foundation Run member training for his first ultramarathon. He’s sharing his thoughts and tackling it one run at a time.

Is this a familiar scenario? You’re halfway through a 10km run and you’re comparing it to a marathon. "Oh man, how am I ever going to run three times this distance?"

I used to do this a lot, doom-casting each run according to how much it fell short of the distance I was supposed to be training for. So, here are a few things I’m learning as I train for my first ultra.

Just take it one run at a time.

The ultra-distance I’m training for scares the pants off me. But that’s why I’m training. Today’s run is a small, essential piece in a much larger jigsaw puzzle that I hope will get me a) to the start line, and b) to the finish line.

When I’m running, I need to give myself permission to forget about the big goal and focus on today’s task. The end goal is my motivation, but this run, right now—this is what counts. I don’t even need to worry about tomorrow’s hill work or the 4 hour trail run that’s coming up this weekend.

One run at a time: it’s a mantra that helps me work through my training schedule. It helps get me out of bed at stupid o’clock to do those short, hard runs that I would much prefer to sleep through.

It also helps me during the run when I’m flagging. If I’m gritting my way through some gnarly intervals, I’ll break it down into bite sized chunks: just one interval at a time.

Every run is exactly as hard as that run needs to be.

This simple truth hit home when I was out for my first 30 minute recovery run. Looking at my schedule I thought, “sweeeet! 30 minutes at 2/10 effort. Easy peasy!”

It was a long 30 minutes. Easy runs are hard in their own peculiar way. It takes as much discpline to run slow as it does to run fast or long.

Each run is its own unique thing, like a different meal. It’s a snack, or a treat, or a feast, different purposes that come with different challenges. I’m learning to accept each run on its own terms and not judge it too critically against the larger goal.

Starting is usually the hardest part.

By starting, I mean putting on your gear and getting out the door. There’s a mysterious black hole of time between tying up your laces and starting your watch.

As I write, today is my day off, but my wife had to get up at 5am to fit her run in. She was not in the mood at all, especially facing an intimidating hill session. So off she goes and I’m sitting here with a hot cup of coffee and it just started raining. Ha ha.

But I know that once she’s underway, once those feet are moving, something will click into place and she’ll switch into her running state. She’ll be running, gritting her teeth, and loving it. She’ll be out there knocking off one more hill, one more interval, one more run, and she’ll come home exhausted and triumphant.

Because that’s all you have to do: just take it one run at a time.

November 13, 2017

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