On Sunday I ran the VOB Grape Run which is what I like to refer to as my ‘Running Anniversary’ race. The Grape Run was the first half marathon I did and was basically the race which helped prove to me that, in fact, running the Comrades was achievable.
Now I know the race is just a half marathon (21.1km), compared to the 89km of the Comrades, but it was on this race that I realised the key to distance running (and most endurance sports for that matter), is to manage your mind effectively because most of these races are won or lost in the head.
I walked away from this race thinking, was that if I could finish a 21km race after never having done more than 10km in training, then the same concept would hold true for the longer races. As it turns out I was right, 7 months after my first Grape Run I did the Comrades marathon, my longest distance in training being a 56km training run…
Now, 4 Grape Runs later and 3 Comrades Marathons under my belt, I feel that unless you can master those voices in your head which tell you how tired you are or how your knees are aching, or overcome the belief that distance running is 100% based on your fitness – then you will always struggle, no matter how many km’s in training you do.
Happy Anniversary to my running – sometimes I hate it and sometimes I love it but above all, I have learned a great deal about myself and the extent to which the human body can be pushed!