2 Weeks Until Berlin Marathon

Berlin Marathon Training: Doubt

This week I had originally planned to write about my favorite running kit and gear. Instead all I can write about is how I’m filled with doubt and stress. With just two weeks to go, when the training is getting really hard, I am wondering if I can even do this at all.

I ran a half marathon on Sunday as a “practice race” and I felt like it went horribly wrong. Despite having logged hundreds of kilometers, my legs ached and mentally I just could not find the will to run the whole thing. I just wanted to stop by the side of the road and have a good cry. I’d hoped all my training would lead to a personal best and a sub two-hour time. Instead, I finished almost five minutes slower than my previous half marathon. So while I did manage to sprint across the finish, I felt like I’d failed.

And I wondered how on earth I was going to complete twice this distance in a mere two weeks.

The mental strain of starting school, organizing birthday parties, worrying about ill family, traveling abroad for work, moving house, and just plain keeping up the training has taken its toll over the past few weeks. And I know I’m struggling to hold it all together and am certain this is affecting my running. Deep down I know it wasn’t my legs or my lungs that failed me in Sunday’s half marathon, it was my mind.

So where do I go from here?

Take a deep breath, try to regain focus, and think about how amazing it will be to run through the Brandenburg Gate. Try to reboot and remember to just take one day at a time. And maybe book a girls spa weekend when it’s all over.

Fellow marathon runners, have you ever been full of doubt so close to the race? And how did you get past it?


SHANTARAM Countdown: 9 hours 15 minutes

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  • Reply Helen September 12, 2014 at 8:27 pm

    I don’t have any personal experience to offer you as I’m only just about to start training for my first half-marathon. But I did want to let you know I’m thinking of you. As far as I can work out from all my reading, and my recent experiences of new distances in running and triathlon, doubts are par for the course for most people but are seldom an accurate predictor of how things actually turn out. Mindfulness would suggest that you notice them without getting caught up in believing the content of them, and then let them go. Oh, and Trust Julia, of course! I know this all sounds a bit trite as well, so feel free to ignore and wait from thoughts from people who’ve actually done a marathon.

  • Reply Matma September 12, 2014 at 8:59 pm

    If I may offer – some of life’s ventures turn into the big ones and so only a fool would not be daunted. Take heart but beware – be careful how you measure success. Hope you can be as kind to yourself as you are to everyone else.

  • Reply Honey Lightner September 13, 2014 at 1:57 am

    As you know, running isn’t my thing…BUT YOU ARE….and I love you no matter what you do…..so no advice from me just Honey-Hugs and prayers for you to have whatever it takes to figure out the best thing for you ! ! Can’t believe he is about to be FIVE…….WOW !!!!!! G’MaHoney

  • Reply Nancy Burkhardt September 13, 2014 at 4:37 pm

    It sounds like you have a lot going on both on the track and off. My only thought is to listen to your body. It’s all about yourself because everyone will feel the same about you whether you run and succeed, run and fail or decide not to run this time.

  • Reply Mom September 13, 2014 at 5:33 pm

    You know we love & support you no matter what! You have taken of a HUGE challenge & we are all so very proud of you and amazed at your talent & abilities! You can do this! Walk when you have to, practice your yoga & take deep yoga breaths! If you need to stop,then stop. Listen to your body! Everyone sends their love! Xxx

  • Reply Stefan September 15, 2014 at 11:02 am

    You have a reference time for the marathon now, thats the main thing. Don´t forget the tapering and dont start too fast. Everyone gets nervous some time.
    Myself, I had some heel problems, had to cancel 3 weeks of training. Will start in Berlin anyhow, with reduced pace. So: SEE YOU IN BERLIN!!

  • Reply Julia September 16, 2014 at 9:07 pm

    I think this is all perfectly normal.
    But now it’s time to put all the negative thoughts away and have some fun.
    You’re going to Berlin!
    You’re going to run a marathon with 40,000 people!
    This is going to be awesome NO MATTER WHAT THE OUTCOME IS!
    You can do this.
    I’ve got your back 🙂

  • Reply Berlin Marathon Training: Inspiration & Mojo - Katherine Lightner September 21, 2014 at 3:19 pm

    […] week I was feeling pretty crap about all of this. I was overstressed and tired and I’d run a half marathon that I […]

  • Reply Angela Shepherd (@ilovelivingwell) September 22, 2014 at 7:03 pm

    Hi Katherine, I think it’s completely normal to feel a bit doubtful and nervous before an event that means to much to you. My legs have felt like lead since I’ve been tapering. I’m sure we will both make it through the Brandenburg Gate – good luck!

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