I never got around to posting a recap of Week 7 of training, so I’m going to have to roll weeks 7 and 8 into one.
Cliff’s notes version: Week 7 went really well. I did a mile repeats workout, which was HARD, but it felt great to get it done. I then did a tempo run and I hit 10 miles in my long run. The 10 miler was awesome. I forgot to charge my watch so I had to use the Strava phone app, which worked out well because I wasn’t able to check my pace all the time so I was just able to focus on getting into a comfortable zone and tuning into my effort. I ended up with a really great pace and felt awesome the entire time, like it wasn’t even a “long” run for me. This run also reaffirmed for me that I am an endurance runner, through and through. While I struggle with the short fast stuff, my endurance strength continues to come through for me and if it weren’t for these confidence-boosting longer, even-paced runs, I would be lost this cycle.
Throughout most of this week I had an annoyingly persistent niggle in my right hamstring. It was mostly just soreness and nothing to be alarmed about – niggles are normal in training for me, they always go away eventually – but I really didn’t want to risk aggravating it with speed work. From what I hear, hamstring injuries are gnarly and can take a lot of time and patience to heal, so I decided better to be safe than sorry. I talked to Laura about it and she agreed to let me do an impromptu cutback week. Same mileage but all easy.
But that was only the minor part of it. I had a lot going on at work this week – some late workdays, lots of stress – so it was a big relief to not have to push myself through grueling workouts. I know I’ve grumbled about the slow easy miles before, but I was really grateful for them this week. Running serves different functions to us at different points in time and right now, I really need it to be my stress relief, my free time, my opportunity to just zone out and move through nature.
I don’t know what’s going on with me lately, but my motivation to train this past week has been zero and I am just not feeling it at all. I haven’t had the mental energy to push myself to do workouts or follow a schedule. I bailed on my long run – something I have never once done in any training cycle.
Maybe it’s just a PMS induced funk, but with a hectic work schedule and other life happening, I just couldn’t deal with training this week. It’s not like me – sure, I grumble about training here and there, but I always go out and get it done. This week I just gave up.
I never want to come on here and say “yeah I don’t have much to say cause I just didn’t feel like doing the work this week, tee hee, oh well.” And I really don’t like to be that runner who makes excuses, so I’m just not going to do that. I can’t blame an injury or illness or life emergency – I could have squeezed more runs in this week and I just didn’t do it.
I feel bad because Laura has worked hard to put together a really smart, well-crafted plan for me, and for some reason, this week I was just not.having.it. And I don’t have a lot of readers, but the readers I do have have always complimented me on how good I am about my training and how they have looked to my past training cycles for inspiration, so I feel like I’m letting people down coming on here to say that I’m pooping out on my training this week for no reason.
That said, I have been motivated to run, I just haven’t been up for anything more than the easy miles I’ve been logging. Like I said above, I needed running this week – I just needed it to be there and be my outlet. And, like always, it was.
Anyway, I’m hoping that this unplanned step-back week has allowed me to regroup a bit and get back in the game this week. I’m hoping to rally, shake off this funk and do all my work as planned this week. My next time trial race is coming up in 2 weeks, so I want to make sure I get a solid week of work in this week so I can do a mini-taper next week. Since it’s September 25th and we are still having summer weather here, I’m not feeling too optimistic that it’s going to be much cooler by October 8th. It’s really frustrating, but what can you do? My first 10K race is October 30th and I’m starting to brace myself for the possibility that on race day we’re all going to be wearing tank tops and shorts because it’s still 70 friggin degrees and humid out.
I’ve also began to adjust my goals for this race season. I went into this cycle raring to go and convinced that I could shave at least 2 minutes off my current PR of 48:43. While I guess still possible, I think I was being a little too ambitious and now I’m trying to shift my focus to just running any PR and ending this training feeling fit and good about my running. I’m now working on setting A, B, and C goals for myself.
- A goal – pie in the sky, perfect day – run a 46:XX (7:24-7:34 pace). This has been my dream throughout this cycle. It would be 2:00+ off my PR and a FAST race for me. I’ve hit this pace in tempo runs and workouts in the past, so I know it’s possible. Or at least I thought it was. I have not been able to hit these paces much in my training (I barely hit them in my MILE REPEATS workout) so I’m not very confident that I can run 6.2 miles at this pace on race day.
- B goal – run a PR. Any PR. Even if it’s a paltry one, hey, it’s a PR. As we get more experienced, PRs don’t come that easily, so being able to get one is still a victory.
- C goal – if nothing else, hopefully get my 10K time back under 50:00. It would kinda suck to go through all this work and not PR, but a sub-50:00 is still a solid time.
Sometimes it is a little frustrating that my A goal has to be a pie in the sky goal, because I feel like I should have gotten to this level already. It’s been really hard for me to understand this year why I haven’t gotten faster or made big fitness gains like all my friends have. But, I’m also just tired of worrying about it. And now I feel like I’m actually willing to accept getting slower so I can just get over it. Running crap has taken up way too much of my mental energy already.
I’m also thinking of cutting my race season short and not doing my December 4th race (which I have not registered for yet). I’m just not sure I want to do all these races. 4 races in 5 weeks is a lot, especially for me, and I’m afraid that by the time 12/4 rolls around I’m just going to be tired and over it instead of ready to run a peak performance race. I’ll wait and see how I feel as fall goes on, but I’m liking the idea of limiting myself to 2 10Ks and 1 5K and ending my season by Thanksgiving.
This bad week isn’t the reason I’m scaling back my goals/race season. The reason I’m doing that, I think, is actually the same reason I pooped out this week: I’m just feeling overwhelmed. I’ve been putting a lot of pressure and unrealistic expectations on myself to get faster, and I think it’s hurting my progress by causing me to second-guess everything and preventing me from enjoying training and being proud of the hard work I put in.
So, that’s my update. Sorry I don’t have more positive news to share, but it’s a new week, and hopefully I’ll start feeling more like myself!