Addressing 13.109375 Miles
I remember a long time ago when I started running that I had no idea as to what it took to run several miles. I remember being in awe that my High School track team had a few guys that could run two whole miles.
I remember thinking to myself, “Man that’s something I’d never be able to do.”
Such are the thoughts of a husky high school track man who tossed a cannonball (shot put), Frisbee (discus), and spear (javelin) for his track team while his teammates just ran, ran, ran.
Of course distance, and the difficulty of running a distance, is all in the eye of the beholder.
Two miles seemed like an awfully long distance to run. I figured I’d have to lose 100 pounds and eat only celery and carrots for a year to be able to run that distance.
About ten years later I started running and I remember that it took me forever to get to the 5K (3.1 miles) distance. When I did get to that distance I remember saying to myself, “So what’s the big deal?”
I had not passed out when reaching three miles…I had not collapsed from exhaustion or dried up from thirst. More importantly, in my mind I had realized that it wasn’t just a physical hurdle but a mental hurdle as well that had stood in my way of attempting this distance.
I then went out one day and decided to try and run four miles.
Piece of cake.
I had finally understood that long distance running was very much linked to the working cooperation of the mind, body, and spirit.
You need all three to accomplish whatever distance you want to attack.
When I say the mind I mean lots of things. First and foremost you have to believe in yourself that you can cover the distance you set out to run. This means confidence or self-esteem or whatever you want to call it. Basically you have to believe in yourself and say, “I can do it.” Although the mind is only one of the three components it definitely means more than 33% of the formula. Without confidence in yourself you don’t have a chance.
For everyone who is attempting to run their first half-marathon my belief is that all would not have committed to this feat unless they had some confidence, no matter how small or how large, that they could do it.
You know what they say, “If you put your mind to it…”
Obviously this is the physical part of the formula. You have to train for the distance. You just can’t walk to the Start on race day and expect to be able to do it without paying your dues beforehand.
When it comes to the body part of the equation, and by that I mean the training aspect, it’s very much like a marathon in itself. When you train for a long distance race it takes time to gradually build your stamina and strength to the point where you can safely attack this objective.
Of course this is much easier accomplished when you have the self-confidence and belief that you can do this.
The mind, belief, confidence, or whatever you want to call it, serves as the catalyst in this adventure and helps to launch a sensible and steady as she goes training program.
Then the body or physical component comes into play with the training required to fulfill the mind’s belief.
Once you have the confidence and the stamina established all you need is a little spirit to get the job done.
The word “spirit” to me means emotion, excitement, adrenalin, call it whatever you want. Let’s face it; none of us want to do boring things. Doing either the Walt Disney World Half of Full Marathon is far from being boring.
As a matter of fact I would go as far as to say that somewhere in the neighborhood of 75% of those who do either one of these races will find the experience to rank up there as one of the top ten highlights of their life.
Sure it’s boring to train all year and get ready for the race but there is a pot of gold at the end of this training rainbow and it is the very indescribable race day.
It’s surreal, it’s exciting, it’s thrilling, it’s a rush…I’m running out of words to describe what you will feel on that day.
My point is that EMOTION will play a big part in this adventure and EMOTION will carry you to success and will supplement the Body and Mind portion of this formula.
Sure I call it spirit…but its emotion.
You need all three…Mind (confidence), Body, (physical stamina), and Spirit (emotion) working as a team to get you to the Finish.
About the Distance
A half-marathon is 13.109379 miles. That seems a long way doesn’t it?
I remember talking to a lot of people going for their first half-marathon and constantly hearing “I don’t know! 13 miles is a long way!”
Yeah…it is…but don’t think of it that way…don’t picture it as a mountain you can climb but instead…see it as several hills.
Yeah….hills…they are much less ominous.
While training for my first half-marathon I remember stretching after a 9.5 mile run and thinking, “Hmm, I still have to run another 4 miles or so to get to the half-marathon distance. Gee it’s like running several 5K races.”
When I thought about that I said, “That’s it! I just ran three 5Ks…all I have to do is run one more.”
I also thought about how it takes me several miles to warm up…namely four and thought, “Heck, once I’m warmed up all I have to do is eight miles.”
So then I was thinking in terms of not only four 5K runs but three 4-mile runs.
Then when I looked at the course and saw that basically it was a 10K from EPCOT to The Magic Kingdom and 10K back to EPCOT I thought, “It’s also only 10K distances and the first one is running to TMK so that should be fun.”
I kept on viewing the distance differently than THIRTEEN MILES…trying to suppress the thought of covering a double-digit distance (DDD).
DDDs can really deflate your confidence so you need to look at them differently.
So when you address either the half-marathon or marathon distance think of it in terms of several components and try to focus on one component at a time….it’s easy to look at several hills than one huge mountain.
That approach helped me tremendously in getting over the mental hurdle of running that distance.
Remember, the physical hurdle pales in comparison to the mental hurdle.
Mike’s Training Notebook
Well, it’s October and the Tower of Terror 6.5K and 13K races are fast approaching.
The 13K race serves well as a milestone for those training for the WDW Half-marathon as the 8.2 mile course should be in line with what everyone is running these days on their long runs.
For myself I have been hit with some knee issues lately and these issues have forced me to cut back a bit on my training.
While dealing with these issues I thought it best to discuss them here in case some of you are also having some problems.
For those of you who may be experiencing some discomfort or soreness please listen to your body. It may be telling you that you are running too much…actually, it may be a sign that you are now running distances that require you to reassess your training schedule and perhaps extend your time between runs.
For instance, I know that my knee likes to remind me that once I hit the seven mile threshold that I need to rest at least 48 hours before running again…otherwise I’m in trouble.
So I listen.
Everyone has a threshold and when you get into the longer distances you need to recognize your threshold as soon as possible and adjust accordingly.
In the last two weeks my runs have been mostly in the seven to eight mile range but this week I put in a 10 miler and it had been a while (like since January) since I had compiled a DDD so I had to be careful, especially with my knee being sore anyway.
So I gave myself 96 hours off before running again.
I know my knee would appreciate my decision as well as the preventative maintenance I’ve been following this last month.
It’s called “icing down the knee” and it would not hurt everyone to consider this as we close in on the end of the year.
Major League baseball pitchers are usually wearing a ton of ice on their shoulder and elbow after a game to keep down the possibility of injury to those joints. Ice will cool down the joints and go a long way towards preventing inflammation.
Remember that if you are bringing your body into uncharted territory (DDDs) then you have no idea how it will respond to the rigors of long distance running.
We do know however that icing down after a workout is a good idea so play it safe and ice down and be sure to give yourself plenty of rest between workouts.
For more information on knee issues and treating them go here.
We’ll concentrate on the ToT races and put together a plan that discusses what to bring to Orlando, what you can expect a day or two before the race and on the day of the race and we’ll also look at what you may want to follow as a guideline regarding your activities the day before and the day after the race.