Marathon Training Boredom

It seems at this point in every marathon I’ve trained for (I’ve trained for 4—the first I didn’t run due to injury, the 2nd I completed [The Road to my First Marathon], the third I quit due to sadness [Running Away], and this is number four) I begin to really struggle.

It’s the boredom. The boring, boring, boring long runs. AAAH!

I  keep counting how many more long runs (7. SEVEN!) before the Lakefront Marathon. It feels like seven million.

The very sight of my running shorts makes me feel queasy, and inexplicably angry. “Those stupid things, AGAIN? Gosh, I’m so sick of them!!!”

A few months ago they seemed so new and cute and *geometric*—trendier than any running shorts I’ve owned, and a splurge from Lorna Jane.)

I know what’s missing—running with other people and the fact that my running buddy is too pregnant for marathons. Chatting with someone while you run makes all the difference. But sometimes it’s just not convenient. This weekend my running window was Sunday night at 4:30 p.m. Ain’t no running clubs meeting then.

I’ve been listening to podcasts to make the time go faster. Running at parks. Trying new routes. Breaking the runs into segments. There’s no way around it—running for hours, alone, is boring as hell.

Anyone who says it isn’t, is either lying or has more patience than I do. It’s a grind.

Last night I ran at Minooka Park, because trails are more fun for me. Unfortunately, the trails were a lot shorter than I thought (3 miles, total). I had to run the entire loop more than 4 times. To boot, I kept forgetting where I was and running the same short paths over and over, passing the same people picnicking, and clomping down the same, tunnel-like boardwalk.

The umpteenth time on the boardwalk, I pretended I was dying and the end was “the light at the end of the tunnel.”

“Is this how it feels to die?” I wondered, squinting at the sun to make myself half blind and the experience more realistic. That entertained me for a minute, as I tried not to look at the people on the picnic table I’d just passed a few moments before. 

The most exciting thing to happen was noticing with great horror/wonder that the flies in the outhouse are the same kind that infest our bathroom at work on an annual basis! LOL. Classy joint.

I listened to 3 podcasts. I counted dog breeds as I ran past the dog parks. I stopped at my car 3 times for water. I put a Nuun in my sparkling water, and watched it explode everywhere (cheap thrills).

And that was “only’ a 13-mile run; next week I have to run 18 miles.

Phew. I have a feeling boredom is normal at this point in my training, but I’m ready to get my excitement back. I have to remind myself that I’m lucky to have my health. I’m alive. I CAN run, I can run for a long time, and that’s exactly why I’m doing this race. Because not everyone can.

I can do this, Dad.

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