The Marathon -

Fantasy, Doldrums and Back Again

Great Strides 2006 Shelly Florence Glover

Anezka's First Marathon Run




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Marathoners, even veterans, can underestimate the commitment of marathon training. Over-whelmed, under-trained or even over-trained, you might get discouraged and miss some runs.

When this happens, don’t duck back into the shadows. Hiding doesn’t help. Get thee out the door and get with some runners. You are not alone. In the park, in running shoe stores, anywhere you find runners, you’ll hear about others struggling with summer’s heat, work/training/family conflicts and fatigue.

Now, that you know you are part of the pack, adjust your expectations because your marathon fantasy has just met reality. This is a crucial transition for you. That little movie you’ve been running in your head – the one where you become a wildly successful marathoner that no one ever suspected might have the talent to be a super star -- that little fantasy -- might still come true. But as Thoreau says –

If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.
Henry David Thoreau (1817 - 1862)


You are no longer dreaming about being a marathoner, you are becoming one. When you confront your dreams with reality a more realistic scenario emerges. The more often you make the confrontation, in daily runs, in workouts and in races, the clearer, more vibrant and more realistic your goals become. Your sketchy fantasy starts to have the colors of your favorite running gear; the flavor of sweat, gels and Gatorade; the smells of the park and city.

When you run -- that’s when the good stuff starts to happen. You’ll have successes – small ones at first like not walking up hills, getting in all your weekday runs…drinking on the run without walking…. then bigger success follow, running your quality long run, finishing a hot race and running faster.

So here’s your choice, stand around and look up at your air castle or put on your running shoes and get to work on your foundation.

A Little More

Running Coach Shelly Glover has a master's degree in exercise physiology from Columbia University. She co-authored The Runner's Handbook and The Competitive Runner’s Handbook, is a veteran road runner and marathoner. She also coaches The Greater New York Racing Team is available for private coaching. Coaching Services