I’ve always wanted to be a marathoner and have already signed up for two marathons this year. And yet, in the immortal words of Beyoncé (adjusted for effect): I’ve been thinking, I’ve been thinking. I keep waking up in the middle of the night, terrified, and thinking: “Why am I doing this to myself? What is wrong with me?” As I reflect on my previous training cycles, so many questions run through my head. It is important to take some time in between training cycles to evaluate what went wrong, where you improved and, of course, everything that needs to be changed for your next training cycle. I’ve done that. But as the weather warms up and I get ready to put on my big girl pants and run outside again, I’ve started to realize how apprehensive I am about my what’s to come. I’m scared of getting hurt. I’ve had many injuries throughout my running career. They pop up like a jack in the box and follow me around like a dog. So, what happens if my knees are in so much pain that ice and strength training don’t work anymore? What do I do if this starts to act up within the first month of training? What about if my hip discomfort flares up again? What happens if I didn’t properly take care of it the last time so it’s manageable? Perhaps I am overthinking it. These were just my thoughts from this morning. I’m afraid of being slower than I was last time. When I ran the Miami marathon in 2017 (previous blog post for details), my goal was just to complete the race. Many people go in with time goals, mine was just to finish. I injured both of my knees during the run, but I still finished. I FINISHED A MARATHON. That was massive for me. But now, with my third marathon right around the corner, “just finishing” isn’t enough. There are goals and expectations. I am a marathoner (that took me a couple of years and three paragraphs to call myself that) now and I expect myself to get better and improve. I am not okay with simply maintaining my times: I want to get better and I want to improve. I’m worried I won’t be prepared. I know the time commitment to train for a marathon is huge. I work in finance, sometimes putting in 12-hour days. I am also studying for industry courses. This only leaves me with so many hours to sleep, eat, and, of course, train. How do I plan to do this? I HAVE NO IDEA! I can plan and plan all I want but seriously, nothing ever turns out the way I want it to. I’m anxious. I don’t want to show up for my first day of marathon training stressed, but instead ready and excited. Calm as a cucumber, like Beyoncé (clearly on my running playlist). It is going to be important to manage my time and of course, my own expectations. What will I be doing leading up to this date in April? I will be a little stricter with my time, waking up earlier, which also means going to sleep earlier. Getting everything packed in to 16 hours is going to be tough, but I will need to do it so I don’t get injured. Taking a page from a fellow Run Little Monkey ambassador Marie-Claude, I’ll be doing meal prepping on the weeked. Understanding what my body requires to keep the energy high during the day and fueled for the runs. I’m also going to be selfish with my time, not allowing people to shanghai my schedule. That’s going to mean pre-planning all outings and events. Yes, I may sound a bit nutty, but a girl has gotta do what a girl’s gotta do. A big problem with a marathon plan, is many runners start to get burned out either during high-mileage weeks or just because they aren’t resting enough for their bodies to recover. I have had this happen, so this time around I will be taking a new approach by allowing my body to be OK with rest days. Since many marathoners are always on the go (like myself), I will be taking some days off from work to rest, watch TV (figuring out what too binge watch) and have a few cheat meals. This is where having a wonderful coach will help (read previous post for more on why I love my coach). I will be writing my thoughts down throughout my training and will be reflecting over the negative and positive. I am hoping this will allow me to step back and evaluate my mental health through this process and adapt for future training cycles and future blog posts (get ready for some insanity from your favourite RLM ambassador!). I have been watching individuals get ready for next Monday’s Boston Marathon and feeling a little left out, which is good. It means I am excited to start the process of marathon training (apprehensive, clearly), but ready to start. So to my fellow runners, readers, family and friends . . . lets get ready to rumble!