It’s officially one of my favorite times of year, though it may not be for the reason you think.
Yes, I love cooler temps, colorful leaves and must-desired change of clothing options from summer dresses to fall layers. (If you’ve followed me on Instagram you’ll notice I love a vest.)
But what really makes my heart sing this time of year is the transition from being the supported runner to the supporting runner.
Why? Because I can.
How It Starts
For 18+ weeks in spring and summer I’m the one who needs support in training.
As the weeks tick by, the mental and physical challenges increase with each week’s mileage target. Running goes from a fun hobby to traversing a mental gauntlet and sometimes starts feeling flat out like a part-time job.
Balancing the scales between running, cross training, sleep, nutrition, and oh yeah, that thing called “work” is demanding, exhausting and exhilarating all at once.
So yeah, I want all the support I can get, particularly on those double-digit long runs where my body is in growth mode and the miles seem even longer than my trusty Garmin reflects.
But after the training cycle is over and that first marathon is behind me, I get to switch.
I get to relax my training regime a bit as I focus on maintenance vs. growth. I already know I can cover the distance. I already know I am strong enough.
Now, I get to play.
I get to sign up for a group run based on what someone else wants to do.
I no longer worry about how hard it will be, whether I will perform to a certain level the training plan expects or not.
I get to show up and have fun.
Want to run 8-9 miles with 1×1 intervals? I’m in!
Feel like getting spicy with a tempo run for 5 miles? Let’s do it!
Need to get 12-15 miles in on a Saturday? See you at dawn!
The Reason I Love it So Much
I sign up for it all because after my training cycle is complete, I know I can each and every one of those workouts.
I never doubt that my body can do it or even questioning how much it’ll hurt. I know I can do it because I’ve already done it and my body is ready.
THAT is the kind of body confidence I care about most.
There are a lot of positive aesthetic benefits that come with training for a marathon and I’ll admit, they don’t suck.
But knowing my body won’t fail me is the real confidence I want. Knowing my heart CAN handle the challenge is far beyond superior to wearing a certain size pants or dress.