I’m used to doing really great in training. Races? Not so much. But I’ve always been able to train hard, stay committed, and reap the mental and physical benefits of a solid training cycle. So when this training cycle started out rocky in December with not being able to hit paces I felt I should, I panicked. And when I didn’t see improvement after weeks of training, I felt that something was gravely wrong and worried constantly. Initially I decided to quit the Hansons’ plan–though it wasn’t really a choice since my body wasn’t physically able to do it–and follow my own plan based on the Hansons’ structure but with less mileage and intensity. Then my new job brought new demands–a faster work pace, more responsibility, the stress of starting a new job in general, longer hours, and an additional 5K a day with a walk commute. So this past week, I took the advice many of you gave me (thank you!) and quit formally training. Will I run a spring half marathon? Maybe. Will I start training for a spring 5K? Maybe. Right now I’m just going to run for fun and for fitness, doing what I can while I settle into my new job.
Of course, the very week I made that decision is the same week that I had an awesome week, with glimmers of my old paces, a lightening of my spirit, and the basic joy of running all coming back. This past week made me think, Maybe I’m not so bad off. Not being able to hit certain paces now doesn’t mean I’ll have a bad fall marathon, never be able to train again, and never be able to progress and hit my long-term running goals–all things I’ve been secretly fearing. My running buddy Joanna said something that still sticks with me: “I’m not going to let you throw away a November marathon in February.” I’ve seen the light. I’ve come to realize that the sky isn’t falling and the world isn’t ending because I can’t run as fast as I’d like right now. I just need to do what I need to do in the darkest parts of races that have fallen apart: Don’t think. Just keep running.
Week at a Glance
- Training mode: Not formally training; just running for fun and fitness
- Days running: 5
- Miles this week: 27.13
- Miles this year: 182.41
- Strength training sessions: 3
Speed workout: 4.5 miles (30 degrees)
I did 5 400-meter repeats with equal recovery, about as much as I can do before work with my new schedule. Since I knew that my heart rate was low the previous week on the intervals, I made an effort to push harder for this workout. I was rewarded with paces that were only 10 to 20 seconds slower than my goal 5K pace ended the working feeling like I could have done more. This is a huge improvement in what I’ve been able to do recently, so this workout made me very happy!
I tried biking to work instead of walking. I can go on a sidewalk over a bridge and then in a bike lane to a covered bike parking spot, so I don’t have to bike in traffic at all. I still have to walk to my office, but it’s only about a 10-minute walk from my parking spot. I don’t like biking, but it’s so much less effort and is much faster than walking. So I’ll probably continue to bike during nice weather.
Rest day. I did 30 minutes of strength training. I’m doing the same routine I did during marathon training, a routine offered through the Hansons’ coaching service that is designed to do while training. It includes upper body, lower body, and core exercises, plus foam rolling and stretching.
This was another bike commute to work.
Easy run: 4 miles (41 degrees)
It didn’t rain while I was running but must have rained while I was getting ready for work. With the roads wet, I decided to walk instead of bike to work.
Rest day. I did 35 minutes of strength training. It was very cold and snowed a bit, so I walked to work.
Easy run: 3 miles (23 degrees)
I had an early morning meeting and was originally going to skip this run. Instead, I decided to shorten it and still get a run in. This was the coldest morning in a while, but I biked to work to save some time.
Easy run: 5.63 miles (46 degrees)
I went to the Pro Bike & Run group run and did the short loop with Ciara and some other awesome ladies. It was warm, sunny, and wonderful! These group runs are always fun.
Afterward I did 35 minutes of strength training, and then we took the dog for a long walk in the park. It got up to 67 degrees, a record high in Pittsburgh!
Long run: 10 miles (48 degrees)
I got home late after a party Saturday night but was looking forward to this run and didn’t have much problem getting up, even though I didn’t get a lot of sleep. I met Joanna on the North Shore trail for a long run. It was another warm day, and we took off some layers not even 2 miles in. The first 5 miles went fast and felt easy. We met Ciara and Jamie for the second 5 miles. The wheels started to come off for me at mile 8, when we hit the only real hill of the run, a long incline up to a bridge. We’d been running at a more moderate pace instead of truly easy pace, and I just ran out of gas. I had to take a walk break up the incline. It was what I needed to keep going because I was considering cutting the run short. Those last miles were very slow, but I ran them without another walk break and got it done.
Afterward, I was exhausted. When you’re doing the Hansons’ plan, the weekday runs are so long that the weekend long run usually isn’t a struggle. I think not running long during the week made this run really tough. Dave and his friend took Django for a walk, which was awesome because I then spent the afternoon in a chair outside in the sun, reading a book. It was another sunny, warm day, and it felt so good to relax!
This week the unseasonably warm temperatures are supposed to continue–yes!!! On Saturday, I have my first race of the year, the Spring Thaw 10-Miler at North Park. I’ll be using it as a long run. Pittsburghers, if you plan to run and haven’t registered, you can use the code ST2017-707 for $5 off until February 24.