This week was tough, maybe one of my toughest yet. I had a mental let-down and that’s been a little tough for me to get over. You see, I started the week off with a wicked head cold. I spent a lot of time on the couch, drinking tea and doing nothing. My body needed rest. I modified all of my workouts just to get through them. I’m sure I could have run the prescribed workouts, I’m positive my body could get through it, but my brain just wasn’t there this week. Instead of doing mile repeats I ran 800 meter repeats, and I still cut the workout short by two reps. Instead of running three-mile repeats I opted for a tempo run. And when it came time to do a fast finish long run, I cut the whole thing short at 12 miles and went home. I spent the rest of Sunday licking my mental wounds and feeling sorry for myself.
Marathon training can be just as mentally fatiguing as it is physically. It takes a lot to keep telling yourself to get out there and push out another set, especially when you already don’t feel well. Some days the workout is just too daunting to even start. And then you question where your mental fortitude will be on race day…
It was frustrating to fail. I have had some fairly decent training this cycle, so to have a whole week that was just “off” was very tough for my ego to handle. But, looking back over my training log, I can easily see why it wasn’t clicking.
- I wasn’t running the prescribed workouts. The training plan builds on itself and picking and choosing workouts doesn’t give you the strength & stamina that you’ll need for the next hard workout. By amending workouts, cutting them short, doing them on different days, and running them out of order, I’m not really getting the full benefits of the prescribed workouts.
- I run too fast. I run too fast too often. I know I’ve mentioned this before, and apparently I’m not learning. Easy days should be EASY and running two tempo runs back to back is going to make for a difficult long run the next day. I know this, but I’m having a hard time sticking to pace for some reason.
I cut Sunday’s long run/workout short because I wasn’t hitting my target paces. I was struggling and I was hurting and I knew there was no point in pushing something that just wasn’t going to happen. I was risking injury by attempting to push through and where would that get me? I don’t feel bad for pulling the plug on a bad workout, but I do feel bad for having set myself up for failure all week.
Monday: Legs were a bit sore after the long run, so instead of a rest day I went for a light shakeout on the trail with the dog. 4.5 easy, slow miles.
Tuesday: Cold became much more severe than the day before so I took it as a rest day with intentions of pushing the prescribed workout to later in the week.
Wednesday: Probably should have taken another rest day, but felt sluggish & lazy, so I decided to hit the track. Down-graded the mile repeats & 4X4 workout to 8X800m & 4X400m. While I was able to hit my target pacing, it was a real struggle and I cut it short at 6 reps on the 800s. Then I felt bad, so I ran two extra 4s, giving myself a workout of 6X800m (3:05 target), 6X400m (1:30 target). Wobbly legs for the rest of the day.
Thursday: Surprise warm weather! I felt a little too good and what was supposed to be a easy recovery pace quickly slipped into marathon race pace. I was constantly checking myself, but then gave into it because I felt good and the pace felt easy. Finished up 8 miles a bit too fast.
Friday: I had a 3-mile repeat workout on the books, but the kids’ half day of school threw a kink in my plan and I didn’t have time. I threw down another 7 mile tempo run in the time I had before the bus dropped them off.
Saturday: I went into the woods because I knew I would be forced to run slower on the trails. 4.5 miles at a very easy pace, but I rolled my ankle coming back in the driveway and twisted everything from the ankle to the hip.
Sunday: My shins and hamstrings hurt right from the first step. I never loosened up in the first hour of running, and when it came time to pull out the work (6X 3mins at 10k pace, 2mins at marathon pace) I just wasn’t able to do it. I called the workout on the 4th set and limped my way home. A whopping 12 miles.
Week total: 49.58 miles
Maybe I shouldn’t beat myself up too badly – the training is hard, I’ve been doing fine so far, I was ill, there still several more weeks of training to go – but I feel like there were a lot of excuses and dumb mistakes were made. Hopefully I will learn from this and move on with grace & wisdom.