I was talking to somebody on Sunday and mentioned that I had woken up early to run, even though I was only running 4 miles. She thought that was pretty funny, since for her (and many other people) there is nothing “only” about 4 miles.
Believe me, I get it. When I first started running in the spring of 2012, I couldn’t run for more than a minute or two without having to stop or walk. Running is HARD. It didn’t help that I had no concept of running at an easy pace; I thought all runs were supposed to be at an all-out effort. I eventually learned how to start pacing myself, but for my first 2 years of running, I was running strictly as a workout. I wasn’t trying to go faster (although that did happen naturally) or longer. I was running 3 – 3.5 miles a few times a week, and that was it. But I was so inconsistent in those 2 years that I never got to the point where I could run the whole thing without taking any walking breaks.
I still remember the first time I ran 4 miles straight. After 2 years of on again/off again running, I decided I was ready to get more serious about it, and I signed up for a 10k. I figured that it was long enough to get me to work harder, but not so long that I’d feel overwhelmed. I slowly started to increase the distance I ran without any walking breaks, and one day I just kept going until I hit 4 miles! It was slow (as you can see in the picture below, from when I logged that run on May 19, 2014), but I had done it! Today 4 miles is a short run for me, but on that day it had seemed like such a long distance to run without stopping, and I was so darn proud of myself!
This was a lot of rambling about running 4 miles, but it was something I was thinking about this morning right before I registered for the Los Angeles marathon (!!!). Because there is definitely no “only” when it comes to 26.2 miles!
Any advice for a first time marathoner?