Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Wall

I am helping a friend train for her first marathon.  One of the questions she asked was how to train in order to avoid the wall.  I told her "You don't."  You will hit the wall or rather, the wall hits you.  Typically, the test comes anywhere from 18-22 miles.  Up to that point the race has been fun.  Seriously, there are bands, people in costumes, folks cheering you on.  But, when that moment hits, and you will know when it does, play time is over.  Now it is a test of the will; the desire to continue on in the face of adversity.  Overcoming circumstances. 

What is the wall? The "wall" is that point in a marathon where your energy is gone, your muscles want to quit, you ask why you are doing this and the will to continue is tested.  It is the most difficult point in the race, in fact this is the point where many people quit. Getting through the wall comes down to desire.  During my last marathon at about mile 23, I said to myself "Alright, you've got this."  A runner next to me said something encouraging, gave me a fist bump and then ran to the side and vomited.  Not what I was expecting but that little bit of encouragement helped me. 

When you encounter the wall you want to quit.  When you encounter the wall, you know the finish line is close.  When you encounter the wall, you have an opportunity to do something great.

Life is like that isn't it?  You hit the wall physically, emotionally, mentally and/or spiritually.  You have run the race for so long you are tired, exhausted actually.  Loss of a loved one, relationship ended, lost job, financial difficulties, loneliness, question your faith?  Whatever your wall is, be encouraged to continue on, get up every morning and go through your day, have a cup of coffee with a friend, call someone you haven't spoken with in awhile and put a smile on their face. Eventually the wall will fade and you will have made it through another race.  The best way I have found to conquer the wall is simply:



  1. I wouldn't expect you to include this, but childbirth is like this! There is definitely a pain threshold wall where you are done and just want it overwith! Loved this post...I have hit the wall in a Half Marathon, somewhere between 10-11 miles of hard running...so it is great to read up on marathon stuff too since I will be running my first later this year! (hopefully two halfs this year too!)

    1. Interesting parallel with childbirth. I also think it could relate to raising children. Which marathon are you looking at? I'll post some tips on running full pretty soon.