Erasing all Doubts

Allison is training for the Boston Marathon.  This is a big deal, folks.  We know she’s a great runner, but what we sometimes forget is that even the best runners have doubts and fears.  Below, you’ll read just some of what goes on in the mind of a runner.

This week marked my first workout in my training for the Boston Marathon.  If we want to get really specific it was my first workout in over a year, so naturally it loomed a little heavy in my mind.  In my last post I talked about my 14 years of running experience and how all those memories of the runner I used to be aren’t always a good thing.  But during my workout they were the most important tool I had to combat my doubts.

I knew the tempo run was going to have to be on the treadmill because of the below zero temperatures, but the “dreadmill” wasn’t my biggest obstacle.  My biggest obstacle was myself.  Like most runners when it comes to following their training plans, I’ve already had a few ups and downs.  I’ve missed a few runs here and there, and I’ve also been working through some minor shin pain.  When I stepped on the treadmill this morning I didn’t tell myself, “I can do this,” instead, I told myself, “let’s see how long I can last hitting my target pace.”  Obviously this was horrible advice to myself and when I finished my two mile warm-up and upped the pace for the tempo I wasn’t feeling so confident.  My shins hurt a little bit.  I already feel tired.  Only .15 miles have ticked by on the dreadmill.  I haven’t ran under 7:30 min/mile pace for over a year.  I let every little doubt about my abilities flood my mind.

And then Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now” came on.  This was my high school’s “pump up song” for Nike Team Nationals in 2006.  I started to think about all my great running memories with my team and all the hard workouts I used to push through, and magically I felt lighter, happier.  My shins didn’t hurt so much, the pace didn’t seem so bad, and my doubts disappeared.  Thinking about all the good times I’ve had throughout my running career re-energized me and made me actually believe in myself.  Song after song played for those 4 tempo miles and I thought about good memories, family and friends.  When the tempo portion was over, I had ran 7:12 min/mile pace – 3 seconds under my goal of 7:15!

Later, after I told my Dad about the workout, he gave me some great advice (as usual).  Erase all self doubts.  And I think that’s one of the hardest things for most runners – running confident.   So as I continue on my journey to Boston I hope my transformation will not only be physical, but mental as well as I learn to be a confident and competitive runner again.
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