My kids ask me all of the time how I run so far. And my answer is usually simply, “I just keep going.”
Running a long-distance doesn’t seem to be a big deal anymore, but when I stop and think about it . . . when I go back and think about it from my old, non-runner perspective, I realize that running as far as I do, really is kind of a huge deal.
Granted, I know I’m not alone. I know there are a ton of other long-distance runners out there, but there are also a lot of non-runners so I suppose their question is a valid one.
It probably seems crazy to non-runners to be able to run easily between 5 miles on up to a marathon’s 26.2-mile level.
So for those people who can’t fathom how it can be done, how I do it. I will tell you this.
It is a mind over matter thing.
As long as my body is cooperating and is uninjured, I can just keep going. I suppose it’s just part of my character. To be able to break it down to just one lap or one mile at a time. One step at a time.
I rarely ever think about the final number as huge. I simply think of it as 26, 1 milers. And when I do that, it isn’t a big deal anymore.
True, my body has been uncooperative at times, and in those moments, heck yeah, 26.2 miles is NOT doable.
But that is not a mind thing. That is a body thing.
For most people, I think it is a mental issue. They overthink it. They feel overwhelmed. They feel like they just can’t do it.
Mentality like that can seep into life issues as well. Which is probably why there are runners and non-runners.
Running is less about exercise for runners, and more about the experience. The sense of freedom. The feeling of accomplishment. The feeling of empowerment. Because if you can knock out miles like that, you can do anything!
It goes beyond that though, at least for me. Running is also a form of meditation. It clears my mind. It puts me back in balance and helps me refocus so that I can excel in other aspects of my life.
As far as physical ability goes, running isn’t for everyone. Sometimes health issues, such as asthma, can keep someone from loving it or from being able to even do it. Sometimes physical limitations just aren’t conducive for running. And that’s okay.
But if your body can and your mind is the one having difficulty, I will tell you, it’s all about perspective.
If you start your run thinking that it’s going to be difficult, it’s going to be difficult.
If you start your run feeling good and enjoying each step, the miles, the time, will fly by.
Being able to run 26.2 miles has liberated me and broken down the walls in other areas of my life from thinking something was impossible to believing that nothing is.
Looking at a map and seeing the distance from point A to point B and realizing that you can actually walk or run that distance is an amazing feeling.
It changes how you look at everything.
So when my kids ask me, “how do you run so far?!” I tell them, I just keep going. I don’t stop. I don’t think too much. I, as Nike says, just do it.
But HOW? They ask. How do you get passed the sore muscles, the side aches, the inability to breathe?
I take it one moment at a time. One step at a time. I pace myself, I listen to my body, and I train.
I didn’t start out being a long-distance runner. I didn’t start out being a runner at all. I followed a marathon training guide and I worked my way up to the longer miles.
But that part was for the physical aspect. As far as getting passed the other issues, that has to do with mental strength. Perseverance. Desire. And drive.
I believe that is something you can train as well, but you have to WANT it. No one is going to make you do these things unless you are still in P.E.
You can run far if you WANT to. If 26.2 miles seems like an impossible feat to you, it probably is, if you aren’t willing to try.
Something amazing happens if you try though. You start to realize that you are stronger than you ever thought. You start to see the world through a different lens.
On average, now, I typically only run 8 or 9 miles. Mostly, because my feet are starting to hate me. But just knowing that I have and can run a marathon still keeps me in a positive frame of mine. I know I can. I know I am able.
And I realized that 9 miles is also kind of a big deal.
After I was injured and couldn’t run at all, I felt blessed and ecstatic when I started being able to run a mile again. So, when I hit 9 miles, what used to seem like no big deal, old hat, a weekly occurrence, felt like a pretty big deal. It brought back my feelings that anything is possible.
So how do I run so far?
I just keep going. I enjoy it. I embrace it.
Nothing has been able to beat the feeling of knowing that my two feet just took me clear across town.
Take care of your body. Hydrate. Stretch. Rest.
Take care of your mind. Believe in yourself. Push yourself. Get rid of doubt and negative thoughts.
Why do I run so far? Different question. Different article you can read here.