This week I’m on week two of a half marathon training plan that takes you from being a non-runner, to running a half marathon in six months. It’s a long training plan because it gradually builds up your fitness a little bit at a time. Technically, I started the plan last week, but this week was harder for me because instead of running 30 seconds (which was easy) I had to run two, two and a half, and then three full minutes (which was harder). I was able to do it because I started small, but it felt a little frustrating to barely be able to run for two minutes, when I knew I was working up to 13.1 miles.
It can feel frustrating to have started small.
I’ve run 3 half marathons in the past, and a whole entire 26.2 mile marathon once. I am a runner. I love to run. But I haven’t run at all in 4 1/2 years. I injured myself training for and running the marathon while being 65 pounds overweight. So I took a break from running and tried to lose the weight. Buuut, instead, I gained another 94 pounds had another baby, and was in the worst shape of my life. For the first time in my life, I not only didn’t run, but I wasn’t ABLE to run. Recently, I had weight loss surgery, and while I started to lose the weight, I still had recovery from surgery to overcome. Now I’m back down to the weight I was at when I ran the marathon (and consistently losing about 3 pounds a week), but my fitness level is almost non-existent. So I’m starting back at square one. Hence the training plan. I think I can be close to my goal weight by the half marathon in November. And in the meantime, I’m starting small and running just the 30 seconds here and two minutes there that it tells me to do on my training plan.
The genius of this training plan is that I NEED to start small.
If I haven’t been running at all, 30 seconds is doable. If I can do 30 seconds one day, I can surely do 45 the next, and so on. But it feels both too fast and too gradual at the same time. Too fast because if I was barely able to run two minutes or three minutes this week, how will I manage five, six or seven minutes next week? But it feels too gradual because I have to work up to running 13.1 miles. How will I ever get there at this pace?
I’ve started small and I’m doing what I’ve done for races I’ve run in the past: trusting in my training plan.
If I can start the plan, I can finish the plan. And if I can finish the plan, I can run the race. I just need to have faith in the method. Starting small really is a genius way to get things accomplished.
As the philosopher Laozi said, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
I guess that means that running 13.1 miles can begin with running for just 30 seconds. Even if it’s both frustratingly slow, and seemingly impossible at the same time. I’ll keep sticking to the training plan and trusting it will get me there.
What great things have you accomplished after starting small? Is there anything you thought you’d never be able to do, but you totally did it because you took it one step at a time?