How To Beat The Fear Of Running A Marathon

How To Beat The Fear Of Running A Marathon
How To Beat The Fear Of Running A Marathon

How To Beat The Fear Of Running A Marathon

So like me you want to try and run a marathon? In fact, like me you really want to actually run a marathon! The achievement would be enormous, you could hold your head up high, you could raise money for charity, get fit, lose weight etc. etc. The only problem is that, like me, there is the fear factor. The fact that I had been told that after 2 knee operations it was highly unlikely I would ever run again. The fear of running 26.2 miles in one go, the fear of not knowing where to start, the fear of failure, the fear of further injury….. Sounds fun doesn’t it?!

Well if you are in this position – you are joining me and thousands of other newbie marathon runners. At the time of writing I have not run a marathon yet but I have not got up to 20 miles in my training having never run before and having recently undergone major knee surgery and been told it was highly unlikely I would be able to run again.

After much deliberation, procrastination and research into how I would be able to run again, I signed up to run the London Marathon in April 2015. Having got over the initial excitement – reality dawned – actually call it abject fear. I suddenly found myself mentally mapping every distance to see if I could run it. Lesson 1: don’t do this! I became like a demented and wildly inaccurate version of Google Maps. I would regale everyone and anyone who would listen about how far it was from X to Y and made statements like did you know “if you ran from my house to the local pub and back 5725.6 times that would be the equivalent of a half -marathon….blah blah blah.”.  This taught me two things – first how close I lived to the pub, and, second, it takes years to make good friends but you can lose them in instant!!

How To Beat The Fear Of Running. Just Start By Running For 5 Secs

How To Beat The Fear Of Running. Just Start By Running For 5 Secs

On a serious note, self-doubt was (and still is to a much lesser degree) a major factor. 26.2 miles is a very long way and I just kept dwelling on the negatives. I had never run anything before – not 1k, 2k or 5k…now I had to run 42k! How would I manage and overcome my fear? I was saved (for now) with the help of Jeff Galloway.

With Jeff Galloway’s run – walk – run programme you can literally start by running for 5 seconds and then walking for 55 – now that feels achievable!

I mentioned Jeff in my earlier blog ‘Simple Steps To running Injury Free Part 1’ and he could just be my saviour. Jeff’s whole philosophy is built around starting slowly and building up – using a run – walk- run method. When I say slowly I mean it, you can literally run for 5 seconds and walk for 55 seconds – it’s whatever works for you – check out more here. This has helped me overcome my fear – I didn’t have to think about running 26.2 miles anymore – I just had to focus on running for a few seconds and walking for more seconds. If you don’t even think you can run for 5 seconds then check out Jeff’s Conditioning Programme which is designed for folks who are at the very first stage of getting back into exercise.

Jeff’s website will help you better understand the run/walk rations that best suit you. There is a host of information about how you can and should prepare for a marathon. so I now have the mantra that ‘if I can run for 5 seconds I can run a marathon’. It won’t be as easy as that but it has really helped me settle my nerves and overcoming my fear and loathing.

By the way – Jeff is not paying me to say any of this – in fact I am paying him (by using his eCoaching programme). But what he has helped me do is get further in my running than I ever thought possible, and, if it can help me overcome my fear, perhaps it will for you too?

Onwards and upwards!

My name is Andrew and I live in the UK. I am married with 3 girls.

After a career as a Management Consultant spanning 20+ years, I left the bright lights of the city and am focusing my attention on Leadership Coaching and Development. In truth, I felt there was more to life than Microsoft PowerPoint and I have always enjoyed people development and while life as a freelancer scares the bejesus out of me – it has given me renewed energy.

At the same time as changing job, I wanted to take the opportunity to get fit again. When I say “fit” I mean properly fit. Not just a couple of weeks of effort followed by months inactivity (other than talking about getting fit and buying loads of gear) until my next ‘fitness fad’ came around!!

So back in October 2014, I decided that enough was enough and I was going try and start running – again! The challenge was that I was over-weight, really lacked any self-belief or had any real idea of where to start next. My state of mind was not helped by the fact I had recently undergone a series of knee operations which had had a slow (and painful) rehabilitation!

Despite all of this negativity, I found myself really wanting to run a marathon. On one hand it felt completely impossible, but on the other if felt like a real tangible goal, which, if I could achieve it would instil real belief and pride that I had achieved something special. I could have chosen the half-marathon – which is also a tough nut to crack – but in my head it had to be the full 26.2 miles. I really wanted to say that I was “a marathon runner”.

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