“Hitting the wall” is a really big, scary actuality in marathon running. It refers to the moment in a race (usually around mile 20) when your body has used up all the carbohydrates it’s stored in your muscles and switches over to burning fat. It’s not fun…at all.
On a physical level, there’s only so much you can do. The most I did was use Vega Gels during my runs, or put a little Gatorade in my water bottle. However, I’ve found that the more difficult wall to hit was the mental one.
You’ve got to understand, I’ve never really been one for routine. A musician by trade, I’m one of those people who creates cohesion out of the chaos. So when I started exercising 5 days a week and keeping a strict schedule, the change was massive. There were walls from the onset, and this is where my dominoes mindset came in.
I knew the biggest thing that could get in my way was myself, so I avoided me at all costs. I planned my work days, all my music, exercises, and even time with my girlfriend months in advance. At times it was out of control frustrating, but you just get through it.
I trusted in the process entirely, and it revealed a few things:
listen to your body
pace your breathing
keep your cadence
and always look 30 yards ahead
You will keep running as long as you want to. The reward of breaking through, conquering your fears, and illuminating your worth is irreplaceably profound.
Hitting the wall. It’s happened to me twice so far in my training, both around miles 18-19. It was the worst when I ran through Heartbreak Hill. I can honestly say I’m excited to do it again.