This is going to hurt. Come to terms with that phrase and be comfortable with that fact. The Great Wall of China Marathon will be an incredible experience wrought with adversity-whether that comes in the form of hot weather, the terrain underfoot, mental state, or training in preparation for the event.
Whether walking or running the event, you will face a one challenge or several. Take comfort in the fact that everyone out there is undergoing similar pain. By coming to terms with that ahead of time, it will decrease the likelihood of panic that settles in if your race plan falls apart.
If you’re reading this and have access to Google earth, do a flyover and check out the terrain, the undulating rolls of the wall, and the many staircases you will traverse. Visualize these features in your mind during your training runs. Do it so much that when you actually do set foot on the wall, you’re mentally ready for what will come because you have rehearsed it so much in your mind.
Continue to train…smartly. Make use of hills, stairs, parking garages, etc., that are available in your area; work the ups and the downs so that your muscles are used to the stress of repetitive motion.
Whether your plan is to walk or run, the amount of preparation you put in ahead of time will increase the likelihood of completion as well as your enjoyment of your time out there on the wall.
Arrive at the wall motivated and keep your head there.
When I saw the course my first thoughts were, “how does anyone manage to get through this entire thing?” Herein lies the beauty of the course-it’s a looped format. Take it easy on the first go around and appreciate the subtleties of the wall.
Breakdown the event into manageable chunks by focusing on one loop at a time. Before you know it, you will be halfway there. At that point, you have already invested enough time and energy out there to not see it through to completion.
When the end comes, take a minute to soak it all in. Do not be surprised if you feel a pang of sadness that the experience is coming to a close. It’s perfectly normal to feel that way. You have just accomplished a challenge that most athletes will never have the opportunity to undertake.
Remount the stairs, at the start/finish area and soak in the wall one last time. Pat yourself on the back as you have just conquered the wall!
We look forward to seeing you on May 1st. So, until then, stay hungry and stay motivated.
Mosi is a certified coach through USA Track & Field and the Road Runners Club of America and was the assistant coach of the U.S. Naval Academy Marathon Team. He developed the training program to help condition your body to be in shape for running the Great Wall of China Marathon.
Download custom developed training programs made specifically for the Great Wall of China Marathon course. Designed by Mosi Smith. Training programs available in Adobe Acrobat PDF format.
BASIC DOWNLOAD: 2014 GWCM Workout Plan – Basic
INTERMEDIATE DOWNLOAD: 2014 GWCM Workout Plan – Intermediate