Less than 21 days until I will run my first marathon. Today I completed 22 miles, the most I have ever run. A very special thank you to my running buddies Anne and Bobby (p.s. keep reading, you both get shout-outs below!!), who added on two miles after our 20 mile group run!
Four more miles would have been doable, from both a physical and mental standpoint. That gives me an extra boost of confidence for race day! Running with a group has undeniably helped me get to this point. My long runs would not have been as successful if I was on my own, that is for sure!!
My focus for 2015 was CHALLENGE. What better way to challenge myself than run a marathon right (read more here)? On January 1st, with encouragement from my sweet friend Stephanie, we both signed up for Fleet Feet Nashville's marathon training group. I used to HATE running with other people because I'm kind of competitive, so I was a little nervous at first! It was the BEST thing I could have done for myself!
- You’re in it together. This is the absolute best part. Those hills? The long runs? 20 miles, 22 miles? You don’t have to suffer by yourself! Today, when we left a water stop after doing miles 11 – 17, almost everyone groined when we started running again. You're in good company!
- Varied Levels of Experience: You can benefit from the different levels of experience of the runners in your group. One of the guys in our group did an Ironman in Brazil. How cool is that? He’s done about 20-30 marathons/Ironmans. Ok, I’m inspired. I guess I can keep running. Got any tips??
- Accountability: people are going to know if you don’t show up.
- Pacing. Running 20 miles by your self is the WORST. I’d like to think that I would stick to my desired pace if I was by myself, even on the hills. I just don’t think I could promise anyone that I would. Having a pacer to take care of that is the best.
- New routes! Getting sick of your usual running route? We ran through parts of town I didn’t even know existed. The other super beneficial part was that each route included hills to prepare us for the inclines of the Country Music Marathon. In fact, some of the hills we ran actually demonstrated the concept of gravity. They were so steep, and when they’re so steep, you think your limbs should be moving quickly but they just can’t.
- The people. The miles go by SO quickly when you’re running with a group! I used to never run without music, and now 11 miles will go by without my headphones. Today, my group of buddies discussed Love Languages. MY FAVORITE! One of my friends, Kathleen, is collecting 26 books for each mile of the marathon. She tutors at a school where the kids are severely behind in reading and don’t have books at home. My friend Anne, has a dog that left the dog park, worrying her of course, and while she was frantic on the phone with her fiancé, her dog trotted into their front yard! HAHA! (If you're reading this, I hope the MRI on your foot was favorable!!) My buddy, Bobby’s wife is a school counselor and just started a Girls on the Run team at her school after being involved in Kansas. Bobby also sends me the info from his Garmin watch after our runs because my watch is always off.
- Support. Training for a marathon is exhausting and exhilarating at the same time. Having people to discuss your trials and tribulations with is absolutely indispensable. Discussing concerns and questions with your group is super helpful! It is a relief to hear the words, oh me too, or that happened to me too and here's what I did...
- Celebration!! Completion of the longest runs of your life is a big deal!!! It is so much fun to share the sense of accomplishment with others!
No matter how long your race is or how much running experience you have, I would highly recommend joining a training group!
Have you ever trained with a group? If so, what was your experience like? Share it with me by leaving a comment below, or be sure you are following me on Instagram, @corrielanderson, and leave a comment there! Even better, post a pic and your story, use #itsallofit, and tag me!
Happy weekend everyone!