This weekend I have taken a giant step towards hitting my target in the London Marathon with two big runs, one a race, and two characteristics became the defining factors towards making the runs a success….courage and belief.
Yesterday I had my first race of the year, the Newtonmore 10 mile race. This was the first race in the Perth Road Runners Championship and also a good chance to put my training to the test. My head told me I should run at my marathon target pace but my body very quickly decided it wanted to race as soon as the race started! I knew I could beat my personal best from Isle of Cumbrae in 2009 was beatable but I wasn’t sure by how much.
One good way to become a better runner is to join a club as when you go to a race, you find that your club mates become targets to focus on and will spur you on. I followed 2 of our club’s longstanding members, and key runners, around the course hoping to hang on to them. After 2 very fast miles at the start, I settled into a more sensible pace and when we turned around at the 5 mile mark, I found myself speeding up to close the gap on the guys – Neil and Steve and caught up with them a mile or so later. At this stage, I would’ve been happy to stick with them as generally these guys are much faster than me but then something changed inside me. I felt the pace was good and I felt the need to go past them. I was wary of pushing on and burning up but then I thought ‘what the heck’ and went for it. Neil and Steve both gave me a shout of encouragement and off I went, trying to catch Stuart, another guy from our club who was that little further ahead.
By this time I would normally have been happy where I was as my pace was good and was on target for beating my pb however, my body wanted more and so I stepped up the pace, keeping Stuart in my sights. I passed him at mile 9 and while he tried to speed up, I felt strong and went faster and finished comfortably ahead. The time on my Garmin read 1hr 4mins 30secs, 4mins faster than my pb. What stood out more though was that instead of being satisfied with a good time, my body told me it had more to give and so I not only had the belief that I could do it, I had the courage to go for it and reaped the rewards.
Along with a 15mile run today with tired legs, I now feel stronger both mentally and physically to go for it in the marathon and potentially finish much quicker than I previously believed. Another big training week coming up should underline it.
The moral is, we can often be content with the level we are at but if we challenge ourselves a little bit and step outside our comfort zone, the results we get can be outstanding. Have the courage and belief in yourself to go for it. What’s stopping you?