Today’s guest post is by Julia Jones – triathlete and running coach. Alongside Shauna “Dietgirl” Reid she created Up & Running online running courses for women. They invited me to be a stop on their Blog Tour this week.
It’s easy to feel discouraged when you’ve had a terrible training session or run a rubbish race, but these less than perfect scenarios can help make you a stronger athlete! Coach Julia explains all…
This last spring I ran several half marathons as part of my buildup to a June 70.3 Half Ironman. The 70.3 finishes with a thirteen mile run, and that’s after swimming over a mile and biking fifty-six. I wanted to get comfortable with the 21K distance so that it just rolled out automatically at the end of my triathlon. I figured the best way to do that, besides my normal training plan, was to run the distance several times before the actual race.
I signed up for three smaller half marathons and then got offered a place in the Milan Marathon. I figured I could just conveniently duck out at the 21km mark.
I checked the weather forecast the day before the race: rain. Pouring rain. All day and all night. It was April so not freezing cold, but not exactly toasty warm. I packed a pair of gloves, a long sleeved shirt and a visor to keep the rain off my glasses, then took the train to Italy’s northern capital.
There was drizzle on the windowpanes on the ride up, then a torrential downpour as I dragged my bags through the streets to the hotel. Later at dinner in the hotel restaurant hail pelted on the roof.
The next morning dressed in my running garb I looked out the window and saw that nothing had changed during the night.
The heavens opened up yet again at the start line as thousands of runners huddled together waiting for the gun to go off. As I ran the first mile I asked myself the question that a few of you might be thinking now… “Why the heck are you doing this?”
For the next two soggy hours I jumped over puddles and had to run through a few. When I pulled out at thirteen miles, mission accomplished, I ran to the changing tent to get into some dry clothes then watch the finish. I stuck around for about three seconds – I was drenched again and had really had enough rain for the day. Maybe for the rest of the year!
In psychology there’s a term known as Resilience, which is our ability to cope with stress and adversity. The more we subject ourselves to situations that are difficult or just a litte more of a reach over our emotional or physical abilities, the better we get at handling them. They say that Resilience is a process, not a trait. You’re not born with Resilience, it’s something you can actually train and develop, from whatever level you happen to be starting from.
I’ve seen women develop their Resilience lesson after lesson in our Up & Running courses. At first it can feel like a huge struggle just to get out the door for a training session. But after a few weeks it becomes routine. Then they start building their Resilience through races. The 5k becomes 10k. Those building blocks stack up until they’re doing things they’d never dreamed of…
I develop my own resilience by dragging myself out of bed in the early hours of dawn, or by running races in the pouring rain. Countless times I’ve drawn upon that triumphant feeling of running through a storm to get through a difficult patch in a race, or a day that didn’t start off well.
It’s also helped me recognize that no experience is ever wasted; no matter how difficult it may seem in the moment. It’s a building block onto better things and you’ll always come out a winner!
Julia Jones lives in Italy and is coach at Up & Running. They offer e-courses for super-new and seasoned runners tackling 5K, 10K and half-marathon runs with expert coaching, awesome training plans and vibrant community support. Julia’s has rocked 33 marathons, 2 half Ironmans and numerous triathlons and is a columnist in Italy’s most popular running magazine.
Want to build up your own running resilience? Get a helping hand with Up & Running’s next e-courses which start 3 September.