Running Support from Others: Lessons from Marathon Training

Running: A Metaphor for Life

Running can be a metaphor for life, I hear this all the time. This weekend, I witnessed it along a beautiful trail.

A New Mindset for Running

Another week down! I wrapped up another week of my marathon training. This week was completely different than last week. Last week I ran twelve miles on my long run, and it seemed nearly impossible before I finished it. This week I was scheduled to run thirteen miles, just one tenth of a mile away from a half marathon. I went into this run with a totally different mindset than I did the week before. I lacked the doubt that I had the week before. I knew I was capable this week because I showed myself that the week before.

Along the Running Trail

I live near a ten mile paved trail lined with trees. Along the way are restrooms and water fountains. It is really the most ideal place for a long run in the daylight. It is semi-secluded, with lots of shade. The best part though? The other runners, walkers, and bikers along the way. Keep in mind last week I ran at 3:30am in the dark, around the subdivision with virtually no one around. I felt very alone, which made the run a little daunting,redundant, and there were times I was just unmotivated.

I left around 7:30 A.M., and had my Gatorade in my hydration pack along with my Gu packets for extra energy along the run. I just started running, it was a comfortable, slightly fast pace for me. I decided not to look at my watch much throughout the run, and just go with feel. Sometimes when chasing a time, or distance you can lose the enjoyment of the run. There are times, I limit myself because I think I should be going slower than what I am capable of.

I felt really strong throughout the run. By mile eight, I thought I would be able to keep going without any problems. By mile ten, I started hitting that wall. Extreme fatigue in my leg muscles, and just mental exhaustion. I took my advice from last week, stopped thinking, and just kept running.

The Support of Others

Now, about the metaphor. Going through life, there are times we are going through things on our own. The truth is, things are usually much easier when you have others around you supporting you. As I ran along this trail, I wasn’t alone. I passed at least 100 people from bikers to runners. Most of them waved or smiled. I even had a lady yell, “ Keep going! You are doing great!” as she rode past me on her bike at lightning speed. These little things motivated me, and gave me a little push to keep going.

Feeling Alone on the Weight Loss Journey

Along my weight loss journey, I have felt very alone at times. All my weight loss support came from people on the internet. I had a house full of people, and others around me who were doing things the way I used to. They thought I was crazy, and different than them. Even though I wasn’t. They encouraged me, but they weren’t doing it with me, which makes a difference. I had to remember that no matter what, Jesus was with me on my journey. I had been called to change my life, and maybe I was supposed to be that example to others. Along the way, my brother joined me at one point, and then my husband. As they got on board, and joined me, it got a little bit easier. Now, it wasn’t an easier time to show self control or discipline, but it was easier knowruing I wasn’t doing it alone.

A Stranger Made all the Running Difference

Just like the run along the trail today didn’t get physically easier. I had more energy and more strength mentally at the end, than I did during my whole run. How? A stranger. He didn’t know what he did for me, but it probably knocked five minutes off my time, and changed the way I felt when I finished. He was out for his own run, when he caught up to me, and started talking to me at the 11.5 mile mark.

He asked me how far I was going, and if I was training for anything. I shared with him that I was running thirteen miles, and training for the Indianapolis Marathon in October. I was able to tell him about my weight loss of ninety-nine pounds, and he was so encouraging. I stayed with him for about a half mile,and then he went ahead. I looked at my watch and realized I was running at a 9:50 min/mile pace. Throughout the whole run, I maintained a 10:50 min/mile pace. I wasn’t alone, and I was just keeping up with him without thinking about what I was physically doing. As he went ahead, I stayed closer to a 10:15 min/mile pace, making my thirteenth mile the fastest mile of the whole run. Seeing others work hard at their goals, motivates me to work hard also. We don’t always know who is watching or who we are impacting.

This man will probably never know the impact he made on me or my run. I finished strong, and he was there waiting to tell me great job. I finished in 2 hours and 20 mins, which was four minutes faster than the twelve mile run the week before. I left the trail, knowing I gave my all and that’s what I set out to do.thirteen

Be the Example

Having support around you is awesome and helpful, but we are capable without it. Some of us are called to be the leaders and examples to others. Keep working hard on your goals, and always take time to encourage others, as it may change their whole life.

 You all keep me going, and I am grateful for the opportunity to share my journey to the marathon!