Running through the Uncomfortable

I’m running the Chicago Marathon this October and could not be more excited! I haven’t run a marathon in 4 years and am SO ready to take on the challenge of 26.2 miles. This will be my 8th marathon and what I’m looking forward to most (besides raising money for an amazing cause) is training RIGHT. That means bringing in yoga, strength training and speed workouts into my weekly training regime.

Chicago Marathon 2007

Yoga is a core part of my training and I have begun to add interval workouts, race pace runs and Barry’s Bootcamp into my weekly line-up of workouts. Adding this “flare” to my regime has been HARD. I love running, I love sweating and I love pushing myself. However, I have realized how DEMANDING this is not only on my body physically but mentally. I’ve been used to running my comfortable 9:15/9:30 minute a mile pace, working up a sweat, feeling great and loving it. Now that I have been pushing myself and setting expectations around pace and time, it’s been interesting to see how mentally I’m reacting to it and how it’s forcing me to go into that uncomfortable place.

I’m noticing self doubt and negativity coming to the surface. In fact, before my “race pace” workout this past Saturday (running 5K at 8 minute mile pace), I got very tense and was stand-offish. It reminded me of when I used to have to run 2 miles in under 16 minutes for high school varsity soccer. Every summer, I dreaded this fitness test and every summer I always failed. Never making it under 16 minutes, not even once! This same fear of failure and not thinking I was good enough came up for me. It’s so interesting how our past experiences still play a role in our current day to day life. 

Being aware of where all these feelings were coming from, I knew that it was just fear. Nothing more and nothing less. I also knew that if I want to achieve my marathon goal or any of my goals for this training, I need to think positively. I need to believe in myself and I need to not let these feelings or fear put limits on my success and that’s what I have been doing. During my Saturday race pace workout, I put this advice into action and  ROCKED IT OUT; completing my run at a 7:55 minute a mile pace. Count it!

jon's sweatshirt
My super fan! Chicago Marathon 2007

Lesson learned: It always comes back to being aware. Why are we feeling a certain way and where is it coming from? It’s most likely not the situation but something rooted a little deeper. Get to the root of the problem, work through it and be positive. This has always been my way of working through anxiety, fear and any emotions that I find are blocking my way to success.

As you take on your goals, what do you find to be your barriers to success? How do you confront and surpass these limitations?