This past week my body, my mind, and the universe had a long talk. My body told me this training is just not happening. The universe told me I shouldn’t be running. My mind fought back: Why is this happening to me? Why am I struggling more than I ever have before? I’ve gained some weight recently, but come on, it’s not like I gained 100 pounds. I’ve had some stress with changing jobs, but that’s just life and I’ve easily dealt with much worse before. What is going on???
I have some ideas. In addition to the extra weight, which I’m sure is a contributor, this week I finally started working on weight loss in earnest (after several weeks of nonstop celebrating my new job). I’m not starving myself by any means, but I’m eating nowhere near what I’d typically eat in training. And I’ve always known I eat more than most while training because I follow the Racing Weight philosophy of increasing healthy carbs when your time spent training increases. So it makes sense that if I’m not fueling as much as I usually do, I’m not performing like I usually do. And another contributor may be that I decided to do the advanced Hansons’ plan this time and jumped into harder workouts before having a good base.
By the end of the conversation, my mind gave in to my body and the universe. Losing weight takes priority over training because I need to be back to my normal weight so I can perform my best when marathon training starts in summer. Last week I talked about how my new job will take priority over training. So where does that leave training? Last week I said I was going to modify training to do what I can, but now I’m not sure that’s enough.
So I’m quitting the Hansons’ plan and replacing it with my own training based on Hansons. It makes me very sad because I’ve always loved the Hansons’ method and have done well with it. But I have to meet my body where it is now and not force it to do things it’s just not capable of. I’m going to create my schedule only a week or two in advance so that I can assess my fitness to make sure I’m ready to progress. I’m not even sure it will be a half marathon training plan at this point. The only race I’m registered for is the Cherry Blossom 10-Miler, so that might be my goal race instead of a half marathon. Everything will be based on respecting my current fitness and progressing as it makes sense for me. No more comparing my paces to previous training cycles and beating myself up because my fitness has fallen. I’ll write more later this week about how I’ll build my new training plan based on the Hansons’ method.
The good news from this past week is that I did great with strength training and getting back to making smart food choices.
This Tuesday will be my last day of work, and then I’ll have a few days off before starting my new job the following week. That will give me some time to transition to my new plan this week.
Week at a Glance
- Training mode:
Training for small, local, rails-to-trails Boston Trail Half Marathon near Pittsburgh on April 15 using the Hanson’s Half Marathon Method with modificationsTo be determined!
- Days running: 5
- Miles this week: 30.1
- Miles this training cycle: 132.65
- Miles this month: 79.6
- Miles this year: 79.6
- Strength training sessions: 4
Easy run: 5 miles (28 degrees)
My 8-miler the day before this run made me more tired than it should have. I had the day off so slept in, but it didn’t help. I also must have slept in an odd position because I woke up with back pain. So I was very tired and in pain the whole run.
Speed workout: 6 miles (warmer and raining)
My back was still hurting, and I was still tired, but I tried to get excited for this workout of 4 X 800-meter repeats. Intervals are supposed to be hard, but damn. It was hard. I did it, but I basically killed myself to do it. I’ve been running these workouts mostly by effort and by trying to keep to a much more conservative pace range than I started with. I think I was able to do that for the first 3 but slowed way down on the last one. Yes, that’s right. I couldn’t even do 4 repeats that I was running by effort instead of pace. I did a 2-mile warm-up to bring the day’s total to 6. I can’t say for sure what my pace was because my Garmin wasn’t working when I tried to sync the data.
In the evening I did 22 minutes of core and upper body strength training.
I tried to get my Garmin to work. I was getting a “disk must be formatted” error, but formatting would wipe all the data. I tried a bunch of things before seeing some rust around the prongs on the Garmin where it connects to the USB connector. After I cleaned it, it worked. But all my data was still gone. I’d synced all my data except for Tuesday’s, so at least I only lost one day. But I never even looked at my splits, so that run will forever be a mystery to me. Plus, my Garmin Connect totals will be wrong for the rest of the year. I hope I remember to add 6 miles to my yearly total at the end of the year (yeah, right!)
First I have back pain, then a crappy speed workout, then Garmin problems. I swore the universe didn’t want me to run.
In the evening I did 26 minutes of lower body strength training.
Tempo run: 5.1 miles (28 degrees)
During this run, my body said NO. After a warm-up mile, I settled into my conservative race pace of 30 seconds/mile slower than (original) goal race pace, hoping it would feel easy like last week. Nope. I finished the mile 28 seconds/mile slower than goal race pace. Second mile was 35 seconds/mile slower than goal race pace. And the third mile? One minute and five seconds slower than race pace. I felt completely empty and had zero energy. And even as slow as those tempo miles were, they broke me. I ran my cool-down mile slower than I’ve ever run before. I was running and not walking, but my pace was the equivalent of walking. The only redeeming quality about this run was that I didn’t stop and kept pushing on the tempo miles, even though I saw how slow I was going.
Easy run: 4 miles (39 degrees and raining)
This was probably my best run of the week. It was very slow–about 1 minute/mile slower than my usual easy runs–but it’s the only one I didn’t struggle with.
In the evening I did 19 minutes of core and upper body strength training.
Long run: 10 miles (46 degrees at start)
I decided to switch my long run to Saturday and run part of it with Jamie since it’s been a while since we ran together. I ran 5 miles on my own then met Jamie for the second 5. I’ve never run a slower long run. The plan called for running it at an easy pace. Thank goodness because I’d never have been able to run it at a moderate long run pace. Even though I had my usual pre-long-run breakfast of a whole-wheat bagel with peanut butter and orange juice, I was tired and felt like I had no energy. I struggled to finish and had to stop three times to rest for a minute.
After I got home, stretched and foam rolled, showered, and ate, the Women’s March on Pittsburgh had started. It was a gorgeous day, going up to nearly 70 degrees. We were going to walk Downtown for the march, but I just had no energy at that point. Instead I rested up before we took the dog for a long walk later in the afternoon. Watching all the coverage of the various marches and protests around the world, I was bummed I wasn’t part of it (there were 25,000 participants in Pittsburgh). I was so proud of all the people who came out in support of kindness, love, compassion, and respect for all. I hope that energy and passion continues and that we can make a positive impact and do good in our own lives, communities, and causes in which we believe. For my own part, I made donations to Planned Parenthood and the Sierra Club since I couldn’t support those causes in person.
I woke up very sore–sore like I’d just run a race the day before instead of a very slow long run. I was hurting even on my morning walk with the dog. So I decided to take a rest day. All week I felt tired and not recovered, and I knew that putting more miles at the end of a hard week wouldn’t help me. Instead, I did 36 minutes of full-body strength training, and we took the dog on a long walk since it was in the 60s again.