Ben Piggott –  Week 8 & 9: Navigating the pain of running! (8 – 21 August ’23)

I have learnt a lot in the last two weeks and they have been quite painful learning experiences, which is why I missed a week of blogging. But let’s first backtrack to the end of week 7 – where I was euphoric after an amazing Perth half marathon!

What I hadn’t realised is that while my new On Cloud shoes felt really comfortable walking around – running my first half-marathon in brand new shoes resulted in a huge blister on the front side of my foot. That’s the last time I run a long distance in new shoes……..
If that wasn’t bad enough – the blister then became infected! I applied an antiseptic cream to it daily but it was just too painful to put on my running shoes – so I had a week of not training properly and feeling rather down and lacking in motivation. I covered the blister well and did some swimming but I missed my mates at On My Feet and the friendly chatter and support. Hopefully that is the last blister I will have to deal with!

Last week I picked up some running again and my blister has healed a bit – but it was still sore and I was doing my runs solo which was hard. But by Sunday – I knew that if I didn’t fit in a long run – the Sydney marathon would be much tougher than I want it to be. My lift to the start of the On My Feet Sydney training run fell through – so again I had to do a solo run. It was hard to get going but I set out at about 9am and ground my way through a 28km. I had planned to do 30km but the blistered area hurt too much, even though I had applied blister plasters. On this run – I realised something else that I am I finding really difficult to overcome on these long runs.

It’s those walls that I know I am going to hit! They can last 2 minutes but sometimes up to 5 minutes when all the negative thoughts seem to tell me that I can’t do this. Talking to experienced runners – I have heard that all runners hit the wall – not in every long run – but certainly frequently enough. I guess the trick is to know that I’m going to come up against them and to have the strength in my body and the words in my head to counter them. I am training well and my body is getting stronger and I know rationally that I am physically capable of completing the long run. And I know I can push through the walls and have pushed through them before – no matter how thick they feel. I am going to chat to my mentors at On My Feet to ask for more advice and strategies to develop mental strength to tackle these walls. A running friend told me about a poster they had up on the poles during an ultramarathon she ran that said ‘It’s a wall – get over it‘ – that made me laugh ☺ I guess climbing over walls will be something my body and mind will soon be well equipped to do. I am sure that some good social connections at On My Feet training this week will give me all the motivation I need to get to the Sydney marathon start line.

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