A month ago, I took to the blog to talk about my 6-week running slump. When I started this blog, one of the goals I set was to always be open and honest. I never wanted to portray my running journey as just smiling selfies and great cappuccinos (although there’ve been several!). I wanted to be real about the struggles as well, which I think I’ve managed over the years. But I’m also a very positive person. I don’t like to wallow in self-pity for too long. I believe in having a good cry and then making a plan. So when I found myself struggling, I knew it would be important to share it not just for me but also for others out there who find themselves in a similar position. Thank you to everyone who shared such encouraging words of support and encouragement.
What I’ve Done To Stay Focused
I Reconnected With My WHY. I was burnt out, juggling a million and one things, and in the chaos of everything, I lost my Why. As I said in that post, “running gives me time to reflect and space to breathe. It helps me stay connected to myself and it keeps me resilient when times are tough. It gives me structure and sets the tone for my week… when I take too long off, I feel lost and anxious.” Remembering why I run was a CRITICAL step to getting out again.
I Started Training For The Kazungula Bridge Marathon. The next step was to find a big hairy goal which came in the form of the Kazungula Bridge Marathon scheduled for the 2nd October. The 1st June was my first day of training using one of Hal Higdon’s 18-week beginner marathon plans. I’ve had an amazing first month of training, running 4 – 5 times a week. My total mileage for the month is 164km, with my longest run being 16km. Although one of my weekly runs is at marathon pace, there isn’t any speedwork on the program. I’ve read a few articles that support this saying, the main focus should be to build endurance and remain injury-free so as to finish strong on Race Day. But for those with more experience, should I be doing more speedwork?
I Have Accountability Partners. It’s winter here which doesn’t really help when you’re emerging from a slump! But I’m using some tricks to help me survive winter running. Every evening, I put my running clothes next to the heater and get dressed when the kids get ready for school. I also have two accountability partners – squeaky voiced 7 and 9 year old children who seem to take great pleasure in asking, “Why aren’t you getting dressed, mummy? It’s a running day!” I also share my runs on IG Stories as another tool to keep accountable to myself.
I’m Spicing Up My Runs. I’ve got two main running projects going. One is to run every street in my neighbourhood, Marapoathutlwa, and the thought of colouring in all the streets I’ve done after a run has me so pumped! I never thought this would be this fun! Before this project, I’d probably covered 20% of the neighbourhood (if that!) though I would have told you I’d done a lot more. I’ve lived here since 2007 but only now am I discovering just how big and complex the neighbourhood is. It has been eye-opening and I’m looking forward to blogging about my experience which should be soon as I’m nearing completion!
My second project has been to do more destination runs and this month I managed three! I started with a 15km run in Oodi. It was so much fun to run in a different place. It had far more slopes than Gaborone, so it turned out to be a good workout too.
We also had a Father’s Day weekend getaway with Ditiro, the kids and my dad to a place just outside Lobatse and it was great to run there as well. We took to the open road on the crisp morning and had a fabulous run.
For my long run this past weekend, we ran in Thamaga, another village, about 40km from Gaborone. That deserves its own blog, so you can look forward to that a bit later!
I’ve had a great first month of marathon training. I’m feeling energized and enthusiastic to get my runs done. As always, when I run, everything else in my life flows a lot better. This is my 8th blog post this month which must be my highest ever total for one month. I’ve found my work-life balance again, and although I’m still frustrated that our vaccination program feels like it is at a complete standstill, I am taking it all in stride, keeping my family and I as safe as I can. I’m happily back on the running wagon, and not looking to get off any time soon!
How has your running been this month? What’s the best tip you have for someone training for their first marathon? Have you run every street in your neighbourhood?
I’m joining Kooky Runner and Zenaida on their link up, Tuesday Topics. I’m also joining the Runner’s Roundup with Mile By Mile, Coach Debbie Runs, Confessions of a Mother Runner, Runs with Pugs, and Laura Norris Running! Be sure to read their blogs and catch up with other runners from around the world.