On December 1, 2015, I took the plunge and signed up for my very first full marathon. After completing 5 half marathons in a year, I felt ready for a new challenge, a new distance.
I did my best to embrace the torture of 5:40AM alarm clocks on a Saturday morning followed by 2 hour+ long runs. I learned to take advantage of the repetition of “Monday is recovery run day and Tuesday is strength training”. Training became my focus (other than school of course), and I wanted to do all I could to make my first 26.2 successful. I spent Friday nights carbing up and going to bed earlier than my nine year old sister to make sure I was ready for the next day. All of my energy and focus was either on school or my training, and during those 18 weeks, balance was the LAST thing on my mind.
As I got closer to race day, everything started to become a reality. All of the hard work and time I’d put into this one goal was about to come to an end. When I crossed the finish line of May 28, 2016, after struggling through 26.2 miles on an extremely hot and humid day, I remember crying like a baby. It was done, I was a marathoner, and I endured.
The first week post-race I did not exercise once. I took elevators to the second floor of buildings and rode the bus when I could just as easily walk. I spent a lot of time reflecting on the 18 weeks of training and my race, and I realized how out of balance my life was. I became so obsessed with my marathon, that I didn’t allow myself to think about anything else. Now that I am two months post-marathon, recovered and simply exercising for the joy of moving (not training). I am working on balancing myself out. My life doesn’t solely consist of training and racing, even though at times I wish it did!
Training and racing are both extremely rewarding, but don’t forget to take time for you. Remember who you are, what you value, why you started and the people who encourage you along the way. Take time to be “normal”- to go out and be crazy. Don’t be afraid to try something new, even if it “doesn’t fit in with your training”. There’s more to life than a training plan and a goal race, and balancing it out is what makes it all worth it.
Written by Allison Singer
Follow Allison on Instagram! @runfarally