One of the hardest lessons I’ve had to learn about running and probably the one I forget the easiest is that there will sometimes be days when running is really, really hard. Since November I’ve been on a hot streak literally with my running. In fact up until today I had a 65 day running streak going on.
I started my streak on November 1st as a means to keep me somewhat on track through the holidays and give me some focus after my marathon in December. Then the marathon got cancelled due to the ice storm and all of a sudden I was signed up for the Cowtown Marathon in February and instead of backing off on my mileage I was and am still in the thick of marathon training and I was feeling pretty invincible!
Yesterday’s run was scheduled to be 10 miles plus a 10K, for a total of 16 miles. Not a big deal in my head. What I didn’t take into consideration was that I’d been pushing myself pretty hard with no real break. My slow and easy recovery runs were fast and hard. I did 9 miles on Wednesday and then spent the rest of the day on my feet walking and ice skating. Never mind holiday traveling and less than stellar eating, and not enough sleep – pretty much a recipe for disaster…what could go wrong?
Well… We started out on Saturday morning and it was cold, windy and I was tired. What should have been a comfortable pace for the 10 miler was a struggle, and I’d never really wrapped my head around running the 10K which was an out and back route that I’d already run that morning and previously on Wednesday, and to make matters worse someone started talking about skipping the 10K. Yeah, my own head wasn’t screwed on right so that didn’t help either. We made it back just in time for the start of the 10 K but I knew pretty quickly that this was a lost cause. My form was sloppy at best and my left hid was starting to act up, when my partner mentioned that she was going to drop out once I found my stride, I was toast. I’ve never not finished a race, ever. But there was no way my legs, my heart, and my mind could do it. I don’t know that I’ve ever hit a wall that hard and not pushed through.
Dropping out of the 10K was the right decision. I was not running smart and I was risking injury. There are times in your running life when you have to listen to your body and mine was very clearly saying stop. So I did, I spent the rest of the day being incredibly lazy (but I am caught up on Grey’s Anatomy now!) and then decided to take Sunday morning off. I was really disappointed in myself for dropping the race, but when I looked at my training log I’d still managed a 30 mile week even without the 10k or running any miles on Sunday morning.
It is really hard to accept when something you love doing so much just doesn’t work. But that’s what makes those days when everything goes right and running feels so good that much better. I know that I need to get my diet back on track, add some cross training into my schedule, and work on getting more sleep. I also know I need to pay more attention to my target pace for my work outs, slow easy runs do in fact have their place in a smart training plan. So I’ll be back at it on Monday morning and this week I plan to be smart about my training and ready to make Saturday’s 18 miler my b$tch!
Have you ever crashed and burned and had to re-evaluate your training? What adjustments did you make? What lessons did you learn?