Hello everyone! If you’re reading this, that means you’ve survived another Monday :). Always good, right? I had a fantastic weekend but was so not ready for the week to start! I’m also pretty slammed with a conference at the beginning of the week and lots of meetings to round out the back half of the week so I’m going to make this post short and sweet.
Last week’s training has left me feeling a little frustrated. Here’s why:
Monday - Bike commute for 6.75 miles.
Tuesday - I had a progression run on the calendar that was supposed to be 50 min with the first 15 min as warm up and then building effort every 5 min to get to goal race pace by the end. I ended up trying to squeeze this in before work since we had a tour coming through over lunch, which left me short on time after running late. That meant I did 10 min warm up and attempted to build effort for another ~15 min. The first 5 min was slower than the warm up (oops) and then the last two ended up being faster than goal race pace. So that wasn’t exactly what I was aiming for. Overall, I covered 2.98 miles in 26:36. And then I wrapped up the day with 6.9 miles of bike commuting.
Wednesday - The day started with 5.55 miles of bike commuting, and then I jumped on the bike trainer once I got home. I did 10 min of warm up, 10 x 1 min one leg drills (the worst) followed by 10 x 1 min spin ups with 2 min of recovery in between. After 5 min at steady effort, I did 5 min in a low gear to focus on pedaling/stroke form to bring the workout to 1 hour. After the bike, I did 20 min of core work and 10 min of stretching.
Thursday - Once again I covered 6.9 miles bike commuting. After coming home from work I was supposed to head to the track for a workout (3 x 800 m at threshold, 400 m easy, 400 m at 90% effort), but it was overcast and starting to get dark. The neighborhood the track is in isn’t exactly the kind of neighborhood I want to be in after it gets dark, so I decided to skip the workout and try to go after work on Friday.
Friday - Another day with 6.9 miles of bike commuting. Unfortunately, I ended up being at work later on Friday than Thursday, and decided to give up on the track workout for the week. C’est la vie.
Saturday - Well, it turns out it was a good thing I skipped the track because my legs barely had a long run in them on Saturday as it was. I’m wondering if I need to skip bike commuting the day before a long run because this was honestly struggle city. I was leading the group run for Athleta and miserably was trying to keep pace. I felt like I was working so much harder than my pace indicates, and while I’m proud of myself for finishing, I was not exactly happy with my performance. Total run was 8 miles in 1:18:43.
Sunday - After enjoying myself maybe a little too much on Saturday night, I headed out for a brick workout on Sunday that I was convinced was going to be miserable. I wasn’t that far off, either. I started with 45 min of running, and Matt and I headed down to Lake Merritt so we could at least enjoy some awesome views while slogging through the misery. For those of you familiar with The Blerch, Matt and I agreed that instead of having to defeat The Blerch, we actually were The Blerch during this run. So rough. I started slower than 11 min miles and was glad I sped up to 10 min miles – yeah, that’s no where near my goal pacing so that’s a little scary. I ended up covering 4.2 miles before coming in to switch shoes and grab my bike. At that point, we then headed out for Matt’s first bike workout since breaking his finger! We took The Red Dragon and Scarlet out on the Bay Bridge Trail. The ride went better than the run, though I wasn’t really keen on the head wind heading up the bridge. (However, flying back down was pretty fun :).) We ended up covering 13.9 miles in 1:08:09.
So why do I say I’m frustrated? A few months ago I feel like I could have easily dominated these workouts without feeling like death the entire time. I guess I feel like I’ve been getting weaker, not stronger. Matt pointed out that I’ve been racing hard recently, and while my body might still prefer some recovery time, I have another half marathon in less than 3 weeks, which means I don’t have time to take it easy if I want to be ready. I see his point. But that doesn’t make it any easier to battle through this frustration right now. I’ve been trying to drop some extra weight I’ve been carrying for the last few months with the hopes that it would make running a little easier, but I don’t know that that will make up the entire difference. I have decided that I’ll be racing less next year. I need to focus on taking more time for recovery. Running is becoming a mental battle that I’m having a hard time winning – the thought of ever running a marathon again seems impossible and I’d be lying if I said even the half marathon distance wasn’t intimidating right now – and I need to find a way to reenergize myself. I’ve emailed my coach about all of this, so I’m hoping we can find a way to help me get through this season feeling strong and then rethink my approach to next season.
Your Turn: How do you approach getting through periods of burn out and mental exhaustion? How much recovery time do you allow yourself after a hard race? How many races do you usually run each year?