At the beginning of January, my running buddy Pam and myself decided that this was going to be the year that we did a half marathon. It was my goal to complete one before my mid-fifties, and Pam had been wanting to do one for a while. Having chosen our race, we then realised we had only 6 short months to train.
Our weekly runs together had been totally in a comfort zone of a steady 5k, and we realised that stepping out of that safety net and into some serious mileage was of paramount importance.
For me certainly, increasing mileage on each run was a tad daunting. Self-doubt started kicking in, and that little troll that sits on my shoulder from time to time saying, “I don’t think you are up to this, you know” seemed to speak louder than normal.
So, we decided to tackle things in small steps. Each week, we increased the run by either half or 1 mile. Negligible, you might say, but significant. Now, we are out of our comfort zone without realising it. You could call it the CBT of running. But then I have used CBT for lots of different things over the years to try and manage my depression, and I know it works very well.
Two weeks ago, we were all fired up to do a long run, the plan was to run from home along the lanes to the next village, through the local nature reserve and back. Sounds quick and easy when you say it out loud. The reality was 8 miles, consisting of highs, lows and me singing ABBA songs very, very badly. At mile 7 there was a big hill, and we both had to dig quite deep to conquer that one. Our pride at reaching home after that distance; the furthest either of us have ever ran before, was huge.
Now we are well into increasing our distance, anything less seems a breeze. Our 5.5 mile walk with the dogs last Sunday hardly touched the sides; whereas normally we would be happy to see home. This time, we could have gone another couple of miles comfortably.
I suppose it is like anything in life, little steps going forward all the time, and before you know where you are, great things have been achieved. As I said to someone recently, “Don’t think how far you still have to go, turn around and look back to see how far you have already come”.