If you and I have talked very long at all about running you probably know that my motto for running is: Running is a series of arguments between the part of your brain that wants to keep going and the part that wants to stop.
I firmly believe that to be true. Anyone that gets started running knows that when you come up to a big hill the battle starts. You may get a quarter of the way up the hill or maybe past failures have you questioning yourself even sooner, but at some point you start thinking “OK, I need to stop and walk.”
There is absolutely nothing wrong with walking during your training. At the beginning of your training it may be a necessity not a desire. Once you get more physically able to though, it becomes more of a battle of pushing on or settling for what is comfortable. My goal for years was to be able to run a 5K without walking. I was less concerned about time and more about not walking. That was a goal of mine and I just couldn’t get over that hump.
At one point this summer while training for my half marathons I finally won the argument with the part of my brain that wanted to stop. I did a 7 mile run on Old Wilderness Trail, which is the road that goes out past Caudill Middle School. If you have ever driven on that road, or ran, you know that it is extremely hilly. Not just steep hills, but long steep hills.
Anytime I ran before that day I would get to a hill a few miles in and feel a need to stop and walk for a few seconds. I had gotten into good enough shape that I only walked for 5 or 10 seconds and then take off right back at the pace I was before. I had trained my mind though that when it was time to stop and rest that was OK. That day I decided to just not stop. My goal was to slow down if needed, but not walk. I climbed some of those hills on the way back at a snails pace, but when we got to the top my legs would recover and feel good within minutes. I finally realized that my body didn’t need to walk to recover. If I pushed through my body was in good enough shape that it would recover on its own. Things changed from that run going forward and I managed to run my first half marathon a month or so later with no walking and each mile being faster than the one before.
I encourage everyone to figure out what their current wall may be and try pushing through it to see what happens. I am a firm believer that growth doesn’t happen in life while you are cozy. If you want to improve at anything you are probably going to have to make yourself a little bit uncomfortable. Let the side of your brain that is pushing you to keep going win. That is the side of your brain that is going to help you get to where you want to be.