Between the half way point up to about a week before race day, training support may hit the wall just like a runner does when pushing themselves. When a runner hits the wall in a race they may not feel like taking another step, well, when runner's support hits the wall they may not want to hear one word about running. If your supporting a runner in their quest to finish a marathon or other long distance run and you literally blurt out something like "Get out of here" or have feelings of resentment when your runner leaves for a training run you may have "hit the wall" so to speak in support.
This feeling of resentment, disheartenment, or dissolution, may indicate that you have been giving and sacrificing without seeing any gratification for what you have been doing. This is called "hitting the wall" or the part of training that can be referred to as "the grind", where it seems like it has lasted forever and there is no chance that it will ever end.
What is the one thing that you can do to push through this part of training while still supporting your runner? Negotiate. The next question is:"What should I negotiate and why would this help?".
There are four areas that can be negotiated with the runner that will be able to bring back time to the people that are supporting the runner.
Negotiating on the four areas listed above helps build some quick wins in gratification to push through the support grind that has hit the training support family members. For example: two/three kids at home with dad on a Sunday afternoon so that the wife can get her training run in for an upcoming marathon. The dad needs to understand the hot points that the wife seems to bring up, and use that as a negotiating topic. If the wife expects a clean kitchen, maybe the dad needs to negotiate the expectation that the kitchen will not be clean because of the time spent watching the children during her training run. There are endless possibilities along with role reversal scenarios where the dad is the runner and the wife is the support person.
By identifying when your support is starting to be a drain or a drag look to the art of negotiation for re-energizing the team to push through the tough times for supporting a successful runner. Negotiate some of those day to day home tasks to create time for each other. Remember happy families build successful runners.
Run The Planet thanks Marathon Family (www.marathonfamily.com) for the permission to reprint the article "When support hits the wall, leverage four key areas to breakthrough the training grind" by Scott Winter. For more information about how to support your runner, in all phases from getting started to training to race day and back again, please visit www.marathonfamily.com. Questions, comments and suggestions can be mailed to info(at)marathonfamily.com. Illustration copyright © by Run The Planet.