MR PIC & I many warm moons ago

One would think after over 10 years of racing and over 7 years of long runs during marathon training I wouldn’t have anxiety pre-long run, but I do.

It first began on any run in the double digits.  I simply could not wrap my head around the fact that I had to run more miles than I usually drove in a day.  As the years went on and my body got stronger, the anxiety faded for anything under 16.  I would tell myself that even when I wasn’t training for a marathon I could run and if need be walk, 16 miles any day of my life.  I still feel this way. 

The problem arises when the number creeps over 16.  My brain is confused by the large numbers.  My heart worries.

I’ve gotten to the point where I can manage the anxiety if I know I am running alone.  Strange I know.

If something goes wrong, I can just slow up the pace.  If I need to go to the bathroom, I can dart into the bushes.  If I’m feeling weak, I can run on streets that are flat. If I need more water I can run into Starbucks to re-fill.  Anything that happens on the run to me, only affects me.

When I’m running with friends, which I love love love to do, I get scared.  What if they are having a good day and I’m not? I don’t want to hold them back.  What if I am having a great day and am in the grove and they are not?  Will stopping mess up my grove? My training? What if I have a bathroom attack mid-run and I know it’s not going to be quick? Do I make them wait? What if I can’t run as fast as them? What if they are running too fast for where I want to train at? What if? What if? What if?

I get obsessed and literally can not push the anxiety out of my head. 

When the numbers get over 16 I don’t like to talk about my upcoming long run.  I don’t like to think about it until the day before.  I don’t like to dwell on it because I know I will feel that pre-long run anxiety all week and it will make me crazy.

This week I made plans to meet up with MR PIC on Saturday for my first 18 miler of the season.  I knew that I was going to need her help on this run and selfishly I missed her and wanted to catch up on life. 

I can tell you at times on Friday I thought to myself. 

Just cancel.  Do your run Sunday alone.  Then if you can’t keep up with her there is no harm done.

Sunday?  You want another day of stressing about this silly run?  Get it over with Saturday!

Oh but Dorothy you had a baby only 12 weeks ago what if you simply have a bad run – you don’t want to ruin her run.  Just cancel.

Back and forth the thoughts in my head went. 

Ughhh Why do you do this for every long run? You really must get over it. This is ridiculous.

I talked myself off the ledge and texted MR PIC [My running partner in crime – Meredith] that I would meet her at 6:30.

Not long after I thought to myself.

Text her back – tell her you can’t come.  They are doing hills tomorrow.  You aren’t strong enough to run hills on an 18 miler.  Oh but Dorothy you are doing Boston, you need hills.  But you aren’t strong enough yet.

The thoughts again made me crazy.

Baby C had a rough night.  A super stuffy nose meant barely any sleep for his mommy.  I would not quit.   I would not text MR PIC that I wasn’t coming. Instead I squashed all my thoughts by starting even earlier than planned.

I ran 2.5 miles before meeting up with MR PIC and Carolyn, then 3 miles with them before meeting up with the South Riding Running Club.  Quick bathroom break for me followed by loops in the parking lot while waiting for everyone else to arrive[I don’t like to stop].  14 miles with the group, followed by a little more than 1 mile home.  18+ miles in the rain completed without even realizing I had been running for almost 3 hours!

Good runs like this help me move past my anxiety.  I hope a day comes when I no longer feel this way Friday nights.  I don’t enjoy it.

When I got back to the house and took a look at our splits I was beyond happy.  We started slow, finished fast and came as close to negative splitting as possible while running a hill route.

BOSTON and NATIONAL MARATHON – watch out – here we come!


If you haven’t yet entered the Run To Overcome signed book giveaway you aren’t too late.  Contest ends 2/9.  If you have not read this book I highly recommend it for both runners and non-runners.  VERY MOTIVATING!


  1. Great job on the long run! I totally get the long run anxiety and therefore go through the same routine each week (what to eat, when, etc.) as it makes me feel like I'm minimizing my risk. It might be a little over the top, but it works so I'm sticking with it!

  2. My long runs are way shorter than yours but I still feel exactly the same! I love running with other people but I often run alone for the very reasons you wrote about. I'm kind of glad to know I'm not the only one who feels like this :) Awesome job on your long run!

  3. I do the same thing, have the same fears. I worry that I'll keep someone back, destroy their run if I have to go potty, won't have a good day or wind up torturing with my non-stop babble! :)

    But, the runs always wind up good and I'm always glad to have the company! Glad you didn't back out as I'm sure they are too!

  4. I think long run anxiety might always be something we deal with as distance runners – no matter how many times you run those long ones, there will always be new reasons. But look at you, you knocked it out of the park! Awesome!!

  5. I totally understand the long run anxiety. Interestingly enough,its at the same 16mile break. great run!

  6. SupermomE12 says:

    Great job! I am TOTALLY the opposite… I find myself nervous if I am going out by myself, and excited if I am going out with a friend. Yesterday I did a solo 17 miler and was feeling really awesome at the end. A lot of this running is as much of a mental test as it is a physical test, huh? Great job!!! :)

  7. I have that long run anxiety! I have not run anything over 13 miles and I am currently training for my first Full marathon. I have anxiety already thinking about my first 14 mile run! Thanks for this post – it is good to know I am not alone and even a veteran runner, like yourself, might feel a little anxiety. You are inspiration to me that you have run so many marathons – how amazing! I can't wait to read more about your long runs!

  8. I feel the exact same way!!! Good to know, I'm not alone in the anxiety department! I do fine if I'm by myself…but adding a partner does increase the anxiety for me. Great run, great splits! congrats!

  9. Elizabeth says:

    It's comforting that even experienced runners like yourself have pre-long run anxiety!

    But even if you DID have a bad run with other people, they totally understand. I've run with other people who needed bathroom breaks when I didn't or had to slow down because of fatigue, and I totally don't care. That said, it must feel extra great to get a long run out of the way! Nice job on yours.

  10. Shellyrm ~ just a country runner says:

    Nerves? I sure don't see any in your paces! You are so inspiring.

    Hope the little one feels/breaths better soon.

  11. Karen the "Hungry Mom" says:

    I agree w what someone else said… I think I'm the opposite because i have never done a long run on my own before. So going w others calms my nerves. Makes me think, if they can do it, so can I. And if we are all in it and supporting eachother I know that personally I never mind to slow down or take a potty break if another runner needs to! It's like a team sport. If one of my teammates needs something then I'm cool with it and vice versa

  12. The Samson Family says:

    Great long run – thanks for all the fun conversation. I had no idea about our splits! I forgot to even look at my watch hehe Yeah I agree with Karen and SuperMom, I have more anxiety going it alone. I love the 2+ hours getting time to chat while logging miles, and usually dread the terrible tiredness + kids that follows more :)

  13. Awesome work on your long run!!
    You're amazing! I can barely run that well and my baby is now 2:)
    You're going to rock Boston!

  14. I know exactly what you mean by the long run anxiety. If I get more than 10 miles away from my house or car, I start to get a little nervous about what would happen if I suffered an injury or dehydration.

%d bloggers like this: