20 Miles: Risk for Progress

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“If what you did yesterday still looks big to you, you haven’t done much today.”

Wid Matthews


There’s a saying – in one of its various incarnations – that goes: If you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you have received. Accepting this truth, I opted to use an advanced marathon training plan for the first time. I reason a more challenging plan better befits a more challenging goal.

Per schedule, I’m logging my first 20-mile run this weekend. Doesn’t sound like a big deal for marathon training, really. It’s not like I haven’t run this distance several times before. But, it’s a milestone for me. Here is my realization, affirmation, confirmation:

NYC Marathon 2011: Ran one 20-miler 17 weeks into a 20-week training plan.

NJ Marathon 2012: Ran one 20-miler 15 weeks into an 18-week training plan.

NYC Marathon 2012: Running first 20-miler four weeks into a 16-week training plan.

Sometimes a quick look back from where I’ve come is what I need to readily move ahead. It’s empowering to acknowledge progress made over three marathon training cycles. Knowing I’m asking more of my body than before, I’ll tackle my 20-miler while carefully assessing its feedback. The increased training load is a challenge for me. But, I have to accept some smart risks…or be willing to risk my goals entirely.

Since forgoing my goals is not an option, I’ll choose to appreciate every moment of my long run tomorrow. Even the moments that require me to dig deep signify growth. This is what makes us runners amazing: we don’t flinch at the amount of muscle and gumption it takes to realize our potential. We know in our deepest instinct it’s worth the effort, and worth the risk.

So, here’s to everyone’s impending weekend or long-term goals. Whether in training or racing: may you find yourself strong, willing, and liberated by your progress.

Stories motivate: What goals are you working to achieve?


4 Comments on “20 Miles: Risk for Progress”

    • Thanks, Jenny! I have only been running a few years so it’s amazing to me to remember starting from scratch not long ago. Crazy what the body and mind can accomplish.

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