Prepare Yourself : Lessons from Marathon Training

Definition of a Journey

I am amazed at the parallels I see in my running journey when compared to my weight loss journey.  A journey is the act or instance of traveling from one place to another according to Webster’s definition. To me, the definition makes it seem simple and to the point. If you have been on or are currently on a journey in your life, you know this couldn’t be further from the truth. Journeys have ups and downs, moving forward and backward, and sometimes a complete loop.

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Almost Prepared: The Long Run

A few Saturday’s ago was my weekly long run. I was scheduled to run 10 miles, and compared to my recent long run mileage, this was a setback week.  In my mind, I knew this would be more than possible, and I would enjoy the run. I drive about 10 minutes to my trail that I love to run on, but I parked at a different point than I normally do.  I put on my hydration vest filled with Gatorade, and my Gu gels in hand for energy along the run. I stood at the beginning of the trail ready to start my watch, and look down at my wrist. That’s when I realized I forgot my watch!

The Meaning: The Long Run

No big deal, right? WRONG! This is huge for me for a few reasons. I really wasn’t worried about my speed, as I haven’t been using it to determine that anyways. I was starting in a  new spot, so I had no distance reference to even guess how far I would be running. My training is based on mileage, and here I was ready to run without mileage. Did I mention that my phone was almost dead also, so I couldn’t use an app there to measure either.  I decided I would use time to gauge my run. I have been doing this long enough to know my comfy pace is around 10:30-10:45. I just watched the clock, and picked a time to turn around at the halfway mark.  I thought this plan would give me comfort.

Lacking Comfort: The Long Run

It didn’t. I stressed the entire 9-9.5 miles that I ran. I am guessing, as I have no record of it for sure. I was so worried about how I would know how far I was going, that I let it ruin the run. I should have just enjoyed running watch-free, but I felt so unprepared.

Prepare yourself

Here is the parallel I was speaking about. On the journey to weight loss, being prepared is important. Without having a plan, or the tools to change our habits, we won’t know where we are going. We will get distracted from what our goals are because we are so worried about what temptations are around us. We may find ourselves in situations simply because we weren’t prepared. I have recently been learning just how important food prep is on my journey.

The Long Run: Keep Running

I finished that run feeling defeated, lost, and frustrated. I had to step back and say, but you ran. You didn’t just stop and say since I don’t have my watch, I am giving up. I am going to go home and not run. I did the best I could with what I had. This is so important when on a weight loss journey. There are times we are low on groceries, short on time, and even lacking resources. Maybe we don’t understand all the information about nutrition. You may find yourself spinning around in a circle going no where on your journey. If you are spinning, you are getting somewhere. It is when we quit and give up on the journey, that brings defeat.

Take time to prepare yourself for the journey; it may look different for everyone. Don’t let a lack of effort in preparation or a lack of resources be the reason you gave up.