Yesterday I bought yogurt with a sell-by date of October 10—a.k.a., the same day as my marathon. This always freaks me out: If a dairy product can go bad by the time I need to run 26.2 miles, it must mean there isn’t much training time left.
Although there are a mere 26 days left before race day, there’s still time to make meaningful differences in the 10/10/10 outcome. Such as adopting a new mindset toward workouts. It’s all in the phrasing. Like my twins’ kindergarten teacher telling her students they will have “rest” after lunch, not “naptime,” the activity is the same, only the wording is different. I’ve decided instead of deeming some workouts, “hard,” they are now “demanding.”
The paradigm shift happened last Thursday as I picked up my speed for six miles of tempo after a 2-mile warm-up. I was supposed to run at roughly my projected marathon pace. The miles stretched ahead of me, as never-ending as round-the-clock breastfeeding of a newborn baby. (“Come on, kid, I just gotta catch a 4-hour break here. Please!”) As my legs and lungs revved, the wordsmith part of my brain clicked in, offering up a mental reprieve. Rather than being hard, tough, brutal, grueling, unbearable, killer—pick your adjective—the run was going to be simply demanding. While the term still had a sharp, slightly painful edge to it, it stayed on this side of misery. It was a bar I could clear without scraping myself too badly on it.
Sure enough, each mile clicked by. I even ran slightly faster than I project I will in a month (8:31 versus 8:41). I was pumped! As I cooled down for another two miles, I envisioned the rest of my training schedule, mentally recasting the remaining track and tempo workouts. Knowing there are so few demanding workouts left—and that they now take less of a psychic toll on me—felt as comforting as slipping on a dry sweatshirt at the end of my run. What mind games do you use to get you over the hump of a workout?