Friday, January 22, 2010

Marathon Training (Week 2)

Every Friday until November 7, 2010 you will find entries from a series written by Iris about her training to run the New York marathon in 2010. It is something she never aspired to do; she has never run a distance of more than 2 kilometers in her life. In this series she describes her adventures and how she works on her beliefs to transform her challenges and successes into one great experience.

During the last week, four people came up to me to tell me how inspired they were about me starting my marathon training. One friend told me that after reading my blog she is considering training for a half marathon. Another friend in the category of “running is awful” is considering training to run a five K as a fundraiser for her son. A third person was telling me how she realized that it is important to create time for herself, because that gives back to her family. All of them were realizing how this would be an awesome way to work on their beliefs…

What Happened this Week
Last week I didn’t run, but worked out every day to help my body to get going after not having worked out for, well... years. So I began the week on Sunday with my first run.

I had no idea what to expect, so I thought to start by running at a comfortable (comfortable?) pace and holding on to it as long as possible. I then would switch between running and walking as long as I could do it. Eighteen minutes later I stepped red-faced and winded from the treadmill having covered 1.35 miles.

I thought to myself, "Hmmm... I've got a long way to go!" and noticed that I was starting to feel disappointed with the result. But then I decided to just "stop it" and "not go there". Instead, I decided to be really happy with my first run. I complimented myself for taking this first important step. I considered how I would remember this moment in November after finishing the marathon and think to myself that ten months ago I couldn’t even run one and a half miles!

Brain Training
I bought a book that’s called Brain Training for Runners which keeps me entertained in the quiet (quiet?) hours. It combines research around running with belief making, and it gives lots of information that is very, very useful to me. It tells for example that research has proven that the body tries to prevent itself from exhaustion by giving feedback to the brain that says 'Stop it!'.

Matt Fitzgerald explains that, to teach your body to run longer and longer distances, you want to consistently train in a way that moves beyond and ignores the signals your body is sending to your brain to stop. In particular, you want to constantly pushes your limits in the beginning of your training!

This guidance is, umm, well, completely opposite to anything I've ever believed before. When it comes to my body telling me to stop, I've always been a really great listener. Nonetheless, I decided to adopt this new belief and have been challenging myself to run more and longer every run I do.

On Wednesday I crossed the 2 mile mark, and today I will run 2.3 miles. I am excited about the progress I have made in this week. I have pushed through my limits and have learned that my experience of exhaustion completely disappears within 10 to 30 minutes of completing my workout. If I can recover that fast, I must not be at the limit of my running, so it is easy to say that I can do a little bit more the next day. The pain in my legs which started the morning of my first run has miraculously disappeared. Mark told me this would be the case, but I could not imagine it!

Thoughts to Action
Yesterday night, I signed myself up for my first 5K run ever. On February 12 I will do my first public running performance and instead of being horrified I am really very excited. Interesting how things can change in such a short time…

Weekly Beliefs
I won't cover all the changes in beliefs that I made during this week, but I’m going to share a few clear changes in beliefs and some ways I have been motivating myself:

After my first run, I read a Facebook note of a friend saying that he had just run 10.8 miles that day. I immediately created the belief: “Wow, if he can do it, I can do it!”

After my first thought: "Oh, that’s not good enough! This will never get me to the Marathon", I was able to jump to more useful beliefs such as:
“It’s great to know where my starting point is
so I can see how far I've come."

"Today is the beginning of a new me: Iris the athlete."

"What a great challenge I have in front of me;
I will be so proud when I cross the finish line in November."
To push my limits I have been using positive affirmations:
“I can do more than my body believes it can,
and my head is the one that decides when to stop!”

“All great things started small.”

“Creating a great condition is a step by step
process which I started this week.”
Seeing that my body recovers quite quickly on all the changes I have implemented, I made up the belief: “I've been given a great vehicle and with enough driving lessons I can run a Marathon with a smile on my face.”

I transformed last week's belief:“This is going to be a challenge, but doable” into “Training for a Marathon is great fun and an interesting challenge that impacts many different parts of my life and I am ready to go for it!"

Physical Changes
  • The pain in the muscles in my legs disappeared.
  • I lost weight
  • My skin is not itchy anymore while running
  • I've started to look forward to my next workout (who would have thought)
Next Week’s Goals
  • Get myself to relax in my breathing instead of trying to control it
  • To do a 4.5 - 5K training run on January 31 (I'm building up to it)
  • Tweak my beliefs a bit more every day
  • Be more conscious of what I eat and drink
  • Keep better notes about my thought processes so I can share them in this blog.
Well, I’m off to my next training session. What are you doing today?


  1. Yeah, yeah, yeah... I did 2.5 miles today, from which I ran 2 miles in one run without stopping. I am soooooooooooooooooo proud!

  2. It's amazing what we can do to override the signals from our brain, despite feeling that it is impossible - inspiring post!


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