Marathon training is a bit of an emotional roller coaster. I suppose the same can be said for any type of distance training, but I find marathon training to be especially mentally exhausting.
Take, for example, my feelings about cross training. A couple months ago, it felt like there wasn’t enough time in the week to do all the things I wanted to do. I wanted to do a few barre classes, head to spin class, go rock climbing, work in a quick hike, and maybe take my bike for a ride outside. I often would do multiple activities on cross training days just because I felt like I never had enough time to do them and I had so much excitement about it. I got in trouble with my coach about this about once a week on average – especially when I would go on long, tough hikes right after long runs. Oops.
Fast forward to the past couple of weeks. I haven’t felt like cross training at all. There’s no excitement. Am I still doing it? Yes, of course – I do what is on my plan unless I’m injured or sick, no questions asked – but I can’t say it’s very much fun. Nothing sounds appealing to me. The other night, I literally couldn’t think of a single type of cross training I wanted to do, so I ended up just doing a random circuit and strength workout from Aaptiv. I had a lot of fun with it – maybe just because it was different. But I’m not dying to get out there and do it again.
I’m not really sure why this is, exactly. I can’t figure out if it is just mental and physical fatigue now that I’m almost at the end of marathon training (I leave for Prague 2 weeks from today!), or if it is coming from a place of anxiety. After the scare with my back a few weeks ago, I find myself nervous to do too much other than running. But then again, that’s not an unreasonable response, right? I think it is natural to want to protect yourself and try and make it to the starting line.
But I’m also trying to be cognizant of the fact that with just a few weeks left to go, now is not the time to slack off and start eating my weight in pizza any more than I already do and give up on my workouts. I haven’t really struggled with motivation to run (probably because I’m now going just 3 days a week in an effort to self-preserve), but in pretty much other aspect…well, let’s just say I could do better.
It’s normal for motivation to ebb and flow. The difference maker, I guess, is what you do about it. I’ve written before about the difference between motivation and discipline and I’m proud that, even at a time when I’m not feeling particularly motivated for whatever reason, I’m still getting out there and getting my workouts done. That hasn’t always been the case, so it is something to be celebrated! I think I’ll be ready for a little bit of an “off season” by the time the marathon is over, but I hope to jump right back into it after that (assuming my spine makes it through the race in one piece). After that, who knows? I’ve got some new types of cross training I’m ready to try but haven’t wanted to take the risk of hurting myself so close to the race. OrangeTheory, anyone?
LEAVE A COMMENT: Do you have ups and downs in your motivation levels? How do you handle cross training while training for a race?