I would say that I know a thing or two about pushing through pain. I’m a mom; I’ve experienced the pains of childbirth. So training for a marathon… how painful could that be? Well, let me tell you something. I’ve discovered whole new ways to experience pain during marathon training.
As I’ve mentioned before, this isn’t my first attempt at the marathon distance. A year ago I tried to run my first Marathon (THE Marathon in Athens, Greece). It was my little sister’s big idea, and I loved the sound of it. As I quickly found out, loving something in concept is far different than executing it. Spoiler alert: I didn’t get the training done, I didn’t take the distance seriously enough, and I let excuses win - so I switched to the 10K at the last minute. Now, I’m committed to not allowing excuses to win and sticking to my training plan. I’ve learned that on some days training can be downright painful, and I’ve had to come up with some strategies to manage that pain. Here are some tips to help you gain from the pain!
Know that pain is what’s making you stronger! If every run were easy, then you wouldn’t be getting fitter, faster, and stronger. Once you have a solid base of fitness, pain (unless it’s injury-related) is often fleeting. Keep in mind that the pain is temporary, and the physical benefits you’ll gain from pushing through that pain will be long-lasting. My tip: I post notes for myself on my fridge/bathroom mirror/etc. that reminds me of my gains from the pain - “Pain is temporary - strength is lasting!”
Build Mental Strength
Being able to push through bouts of discomfort takes an incredible amount of mental strength and stamina. Remind yourself that the pain is getting you closer to your goal. Greater mental strength has helped me to better manage those smaller, nagging pains (that I somehow seem to feel EVERYWHERE!) on my long runs. My tip: I often repeat a mantra, something easy and simple, to help me through painful runs - “No pain, no gain!”
Remember the Reason
Instead of focusing on the pain, remember the reason why you’re putting yourself through the hard work. That focus on the greater goal at hand (running a MARATHON!), is what helps me to quiet that sometimes SUPER loud voice begging me to stop as soon as things start to hurt. My tip: Visualize your end goal when things get tough. I think about the finish line in Hawaii when I need extra motivation!
Not All Pain Is Good
Finally, it’s vital to be able to recognize that not all pain is good or okay. If you’re injured or experiencing severe physical pain that makes running challenging for you, it’s best to not run through it. Instead, take some time off (maybe do some cross-training!) and see if that alleviates the pain. If your pain persists, it might be best to visit a doctor or seek professional help or attention. My tip: You don’t want to end up injured and unable to complete your race. So, if something hurts or feels off for an extended period, it’s best to get it checked out by a professional!
Thanks for being here and for following, joining, and cheering along with the #262Squad!