along at this running thing, this is the time where I should be fit and fast
and to be honest...I’m struggling. I want to be a whine baby and feel sorry for
myself for ever agreeing to this madness of running another marathon. I’m tired
of it all, tired of seeing all of the runners on Washington Street who used to
make me so happy. Now they just make me feel inadequate and slow. And underprepared.And tired.I’m so tired.And I want to curl
up on the couch and NOT RUN EVER.
brighter note there is a 17 mile run coming up on Saturday.
I could not be more excited
to say that I am finally entering my taper in advance of this Marathon which,
incredibly, is now just a few weeks away. I was on call for my practice this
weekend, which made the logistics of a 20 mile run difficult; however I was
able to devise repeatable loops that would tally 20 miles while never being
more than two miles away from my house in case I received a call from a
patient. Needless to say it was not my most picturesque nor exhilarating
run, however I felt great throughout and was able to complete it averaging
8:07/ mile. With this being my eighth marathon, I’ve done around 15 20 mile
runs over the course of my life, and have never done one at this pace making me
hopeful that I might put up a time I would be proud of come April 18. My
only concern is that my feet were generally tender last night in a way I don’t
often experience, and I’m concerned that my Saucony Iso 2’s (which are a
departure from my usual Asics) may not be up for Marathon Monday. Time will
The next step is allowing my
body to heal through a gradual taper, and I consulted Hal Hidgon’s website (http://www.halhigdon.com/) this
morning to devise a program for this. I used Mr. Hidgon’s plans for my first
few marathons and would strongly recommend one of his novice plans for anyone
that is thinking about running their first half- or full-marathon. It looks
like a light week this week, and while he recommends eight miles the weekend
before the marathon, I have traditionally done six before marathons and felt
good so I believe I will do that.
When I went
out at lunch today for a three mile run in the sunny 70 degree weather it
served as a brutally effective antidote for the running doldrums with which I
have been afflicted. I would say that I’m right where I should be, which is to
say that I have been consistently doing 20 midweek miles every week with a
progressively longer long runs on the weekends, culminating with a 20 mile run
a few weeks ago that in hindsight I recall as being a breeze (though I may have
had a different opinion of it that day.) I also say that I’m right where I
should be because, having run something like 300 miles so far in training, I
absolutely abhor running. It’s normal for this point of training, kind of like
the dog days of summer in the baseball season, where I have come a long way in
my training but still have a considerable amount of time before my goal is
accomplished. If this is spring, and it certainly seems to be the season’s
initial volley, the easy joy of temperate outdoor runs is something that I can
look forward to freeing me from these dog days of my marathon training.
Question: I am facing a rest vs training moment myself. Maybe they could address how to assess if you ought to push it when feeling fatigued or rest instead and have a better next run.
‘Less is More’
With six short weeks until the big day, the final stretch is coming! As some of you have mentioned in earlier posts, you’re in the midst of incorporating longer runs and increasing mileage. With this in mind, preparation and staying healthy is key in setting yourself up for success at the starting line. Just as important as it is to get in the long runs, your body also needs time to rest. Rest allows your body to adapt to the longer miles, heal and recover to ultimately become stronger and faster throughout your training. Recovery also gives your body the opportunity to restock glycogen stores, build strength, reduce fatigue and also provide you a little mental break from all the running you’ve been doing. Sticking to your training plan can certainly help with this but how do you decide if it’s better to rest or try pushing through fatigue?
There are a few signs/markers that may suggest overtraining and indicate that you may benefit from a day off or substituting some runs for cross training sessions:
• Elevated Resting Heart Rate
An elevated resting heart is a good indicator of stress – both physical and psychological (both hard days of running and at work call for recovery!). Try to take your pulse before you get out of bed and monitor any changes or fluctuations throughout your training regimen.
• Sleep and Energy Levels
Sleep pattern and energy level changes may be other signs of overtraining. Sleep is very important particularly after exercise when the body can metabolize glucose that muscles need for recovery. Furthermore, sleep plays a big part in immune, motor and cognitive functions that influence energy levels. Feeling run down may be a sign you need a bit of break. This may even affect your mood as well – irritability and anxiety are common signs of a stress hormone, cortisol that the body releases when we feel overwhelmed.
• Not Feeling Well
As mentioned earlier, inadequate sleep/rest can affect immune responses and may put you at greater risk for illness. Whether you’re fighting a cold or simply not feeling well, your body needs to work overtime to refuel your immune system. This means fewer resources to help you recover from training.
• Ongoing aches or pains
No doubt, there will be muscle soreness and aches after workouts. However, if this persists, you may benefit from resting overworked joints and muscles. Again, your body will need more energy to allocate for repair that could lengthen recovery time.
Cross training is a great way to maintain the great aerobic conditioning that you’ve accomplished thus far without overworking some of the same muscles used during running. The elliptical, rowing machine, biking and swimming are great ways to exercise your aerobic symptom and using other muscles to promote overall fitness.
Bottom Line? If you’re feeling any of the signs of overtraining, you may benefit from rest or incorporating a few cross training sessions throughout the week. The goal is to continue the progress you’ve made while keeping yourself healthy for the starting line – sometimes, less is more!
As part of our ongoing training and in an effort to get more miles in (there *may* have been an incident last week where I bailed on Erin and there was pizza and a couch involved). Erin and I decided to head to Hyannis for the half marathon this past weekend. The weather was sunny and bright and temperatures were mild. We made the port-a-potty line with minutes to spare before the race start. The race felt great and I was surprised at the kick I had for the last few miles. Neither of us had problems with injuries!
It feels good to be getting in the zone where runs mostly feel good and to have done a race where I am reminded anybody can run- old, young, big or small. It is in this zone where the work gets done and the miles get logged and the routine and habit of running come before all of life’s other distractions – which are plenty. It is in this zone that I pay attention to how my breathing feels and how my body feels. It is usually good. Unusually good. Way better than the creaking stooped old lady that gets out of my bed every morning.
Training has been a lot of fun the past few weeks. We have been getting very lucky with the weather. I love the snow but this certainly works out for my training! I did get the chance to go for some beautiful snowy trail runs, one during the storm and one the next day when the sun was shining on the fresh snow on the trails. It was truly beautiful. My longest run has been 14.25 and that felt great! With only 7.5 weeks left until the big day, I have to work on getting my long runs longer. Next week, 16 miles! Getting the long runs in has been a matter of time as much as endurance. Overall I am feeling good. Yoga and HIIT training are keeping me feeling flexible and strong. My friends and family who are coming along with me and encouraging me are keeping me motivated. I am really enjoying this. I'm looking forward to the race but trying to remember to savor it all as I go along.
There are many aspects of distance training that are challenging, but perhaps the most significant hurdle to overcome is distracting one’s self from the tedium of running. I have probably run somewhere around 200 miles so far in training and I am pretty much flush out of original thoughts with which to distract myself. I find myself hoarding media to consume while running, whether it’s tackling a series on Netflix while on the treadmill or podcasts to listen to while running outside, however I have yet to find anything that is sufficiently engrossing to allow me to completely remove myself from the myriad steps of running. On President’s Day, following three days of skiing at Killington, I loaded up a couple hours of podcasts and embarked upon what was sure to be 18 jelly-legged miles.
Leaving from my house in Southborough, I decided to head north towards Marlborough with no particular route in mind, intending to rely on small loops and my GPS watch to accomplish the mileage. The first couple miles had rolling hills until I got to the Southborough city center (a generous description to say the least), at which point I realized that I had never run to Marlborough and decided to run north for a mile and a half just to cross over into Marlborough simply as a means of passing the time. Once I got to Marlborough at mile 5, I started thinking about the most towns I had ever passed through on a run and arrived at three. I figured that if I retraced my steps heading south I could pass through Ashland and dip into Hopkinton, thus making this a run that spanned four separate towns. While mulling this over and before heading back south I took a picture of the “Southborough/Marlborough” border sign for absolutely no reason except that running 18 miles is, logically speaking, quite a stupid thing to do and can lead to a chain reaction of other stupid behaviors. Running back south through Southborough I started noticing a change in the street signs around mile 10, which upon closer inspection revealed that I was in Ashland. I stopped to take a picture of a street sign, which again was an action without logical motivation. I drive through Ashland on my way home daily and never once have I ever felt whatsoever compelled to photo document the towns street signs, but I digress. I know from experience that the border between Hopkinton and Ashland is somewhere within Hopkinton State Park so through backroads I ran into the park. I happened to look backwards after a couple of miles at mile 12 and saw a sign that said “Town of Ashland Mandatory Water Ban” behind me that told me I was in Hopkinton. I ran a couple hundred yards extra to be sure, and on my way back I took a picture of the “Mandatory Water Ban” sign.From there I worked my way back to Southborough and did loops around my neighborhood until I hit mile 18.
I often have thought that while the 20 mile run gets all the fanfare, the 18 mile run is often the more difficult run if only because of the absence of that fanfare. It’s hard to get revved up for the penultimate run relative to the way an impending 20 mile run dominates your psyche in the days leading up to it. You don’t tend to hydrate as well leading up to the 18 mile run, your organization is less prepared, and on and on. Having said that, when you see your watch click over to 18 miles and you don’t have to run any further, it’s hard to argue that 18 miles isn’t the easier run.Either way, the 18 mile run is a tremendous step along the way and having completed it I feel ready to tackle 20 miles of solitude and podcasts this weekend.