What does my training bible say about Week 9? The authors refer to overcoming the halfway mark in the training as crossing the emotional threshold. The past eight weeks have required an intense mental effort–for me, this is true. Because this is my first marathon, the last eight weeks stretched me to new limits. I internalized my locus of control, ran even when I wasn’t in the mood for it, spent many hours looking at my feet pounding the surface, and began to intentionally create flow. This process requires concentrated effort and lots of time–both during the runs and between the runs. Crossing the emotional threshold is taking stock of this all, reconciling the achievement of running a distance longer than a half, and knowing there are eight weeks of physically demanding training ahead.
The temptation is to try harder. Perhaps if one expends more effort, the task at hand will follow more rapidly. But trying harder will work against the marathoner in many ways. It will promote a hostile attitude toward the journey, it will possibly lead to over-training, and it will make it more challenging to find transformational and joyful opportunities in the next two months. So, as strange as it sounds, now is the time to try easier. Recognize that the marathon is not something that I must do but something that I choose to do. Recognize that the training is allowing my body and mind to accumulate net benefits. Even if I did not see this goal through, even if I stopped my training today, I am in much better mental and physical health than I was eight weeks ago. Knowing the value I alone have perpetuated for myself makes me want to keep going. I want to go forth with an appreciative and inquiring spirit. I want to go forth dwelling in possibility. I want to try easier.
My mid-week runs are going well. I am looking forward to Saturday’s 16-miler with a sense of adventure and enthusiasm. It’s not every day that you get to run 16 miles.