Saturday, January 7, 2012

Time to admit that I was wrong...I hate this part

As I boldly stated in my last posting, one of my goals for 2012 is to be more forthright in admitting when I am wrong. I am terrible at this, and it is quite possibly my greatest flaw. It's not so much the part of being wrong, it's more so when I have to verbally acknowledge it to another and say the two most difficult words of the English language for me...

"I'm sorry"

Yes I had a truly successful 2011 in regards to running, but I made mistakes...a lot of mistakes. There were times when I allowed myself to become so fixated on my goals that I lost focus and common sense that resulted in plenty of novice moves that I know better then. Instead of fessing up to myself and gaining control of the situation, I instead kept my logic tucked away and continued on in blissful ignorance tra-la-la-ing through Brittland where there is never the need to admit wrong doings.

Don't let this sweet prematurely wrinkled face fool you.
I'm brash and stubborn, and hate admitting so.

So body, I'm sorry. I put you through a lot of hell last year and there were times when I wasn't really listening to your needs. I was selfish, and 90% of the time I was most likely wrong and blinded by my own desires. We have big plans for 2012, and the only way we can get there is together. I love you and I need you, Could you find the will to forgive me?

Okay wonderful.

Thursday night I had a dream that brought a rush of adrenaline through my body the instant I woke. In this dream I crossed the finish line for my spring marathon in 2:55. What an awesome way to start my day.

Truth is that I have a insanely aggressive goal pertaining to my future in the marathon that I've only yet to share with my husband. While I'm not going to share it today, I will say that it's big. Like REAL BIG. But if I ever want to get anywhere near this dream, I have to start being more conscious about the decisions I'm making with my training. And folks lets face it, I'm not so great at the marathon training thing and haven't quite figured out what works best for me at this distance yet.

But the good news is that after the marathon tragedy of 2011, I learned quite a bit about my body and more about what it needs to conquer this distance successfully. There is a severe disconnect in my head where my training isn't always the same for my brain as it is for my body and the revelation of this in past months has caused me to reconsider the way I train myself. I always will learn more from my mistakes then from my successes, but the tricky part is taking those lessons and turning them into something useful. 

Things I'm going to do differently this time around:

Recovery. I messed this up big time last year. I am a rock star at reminding others to take the easy days as easy as possible in order to take the hard days like a champ, but I'm terrible at taking my own advice. Last year I made an epic fail allowing myself to be a slave to my GPS where the pace often dictated how I felt.

Right now for what I'm trying to accomplish in 2012 recovery runs have to be 100% about reality and actual active recovery for me. Honestly, these days I'm counting my blessing that things didn't turn out worse for me in the late stages of 2011 and that I was able to slap some sense into myself before my body completely gave out due to my constant desire for progress.

Recovery is just as important as progress. Recovery is just as important as progress. Recovery is just as important as progress.

Things like this should not be happening on an almost daily basis

Bumping up the speed sessions. I've always been a once-a-weeker in the speed work category, which has worked fine for me in the past. But with the aggressive goals I have for this year, I'm not going to get anywhere near them if I stick to what I know. If I want to gain speed this year, I'm going to have to put in a few more quality workouts and challenge myself to do things that put me outside of my comfort zone and routine.

The body needs constant change in stimulus to gain strength. I need to stop doing the same tempo run that I love every week because it is comfortable. I'm sure that Paula Radcliffe didn't do the same workout nearly every week when she chased down the marathon world know because we are so similar...

Taking the long runs differently. I love a good progressive run. Love. Love. Love. But I think that this is an area where I have allowed myself in the past to get a bit too aggressive and carried away. I often found myself saying:

"Sure crazy lady, finish the last 6-8 miles of your 22 miler at 6:45 pace even though you know that 6:45 is going to be nowhere near your marathon pace."

22 mile runs should never turn into an unexpected tempo just for shits and giggles.
Whoops, learned that one the hard way.

It's time that I start being more realistic about my training and not just always dangle the idea of running fast in front of my eyes. Speed cannot be beaten out of me, and wearing the hell out of my body day in and day out will never have a decent outcome and will end up looking something like this:

Can we say ew...

That ain't cute, ain't cute at all

It is okay to take a long run slow, tragic world events will not occur because of it and the sun will still shine just the same at a 7:45 pace as it will at an 8:45 pace.

I'm sure most of you are sick of hearing about goals and how to go about achieving them after being saturated with this information for the past several weeks, but I think there is only one thing you do need to know about your goals...

The answers to your dreams and successes lies in your failures


  1. Hi!! first off thank you for the great comment on my post, I agree with 100% of the advice/words you shared...
    you wrote this post very well..I connect with everything you said! I often lose sight of the big picture and zero-in so deeply into my training that I often won't come up for air the entire 3-month training cycle!
    This time around I am keeping a daily-log book...and really reflecting on each day, so far it is helping!
    I can't wait to follow your post and cheer for you this year, I know it will be your best yet!

  2. I learned #1 the hard way with a fall injury.

    EASY days need to be EASY. Stop looking at your freakin' Garmin on EASY days, Allison. Who cares when it says 9 something?!?!

  3. I know you have struggled with the marathon in the past but I think this is going to be the year you nail it! You are so inspiring!

  4. Nothing like a bad race to get you motivated and thinking about how to do it all the right way...I know all about this one!

    You are VERY correct about the recovery part. I am starting to see what a huge role it plays in day-to-day training, which of course, has everything to do with the outcome of a race.

    Great 15+ miler, BTW :)

    Looking forward to how things go this time around for you! I'm thinking that shoot-for-the-moon goal will be yours.

  5. During a marathon, if it is not going the way I planned (I believe this happens to most marathoners), I focus on soaking up the race atmosphere. High-five the kids (and adults) and commiserate with other struggling runners. Suffering from leg cramps at mile 23 at Chicago, I had to lay down for 10 minutes. When I got up and started walking again, the crowd roared. I felt like I was leading the race! These are the great memories of slow marathons that have outlasted the memories of the fast ones...

  6. I think recovery made a HUGE difference for me this year. In 2010 when I was first really getting into running, I ramped it up too fast and ran pretty much every day because it felt so great--- until the moment I got that stress fracture in my pelvis...and had to miss 5 months running.

    So in 2011, I tried to be smarter and I always took off at least 2 or 3 days per week and I think it really helped me to remain injury free and meet my goals!

  7. OMG, I am pretty sure I can guess what your goal is...and I'm pretty excited if I'm right! I'll be waiting for the news!!!

  8. "Tra-la-la-ing through Brittland"...ROFL boy have I been there (through Jessland though, of course!)

    I'm only beginning to delve into the type of intense training you do, but already I find myself making some of these mistakes. Especially in turning long runs into tempo runs. It is hard to resist, but my body pays for it. Every time.

    Great post. I definitely think that in running, as with most other things, acknowledging what doesn't work (and then not doing it) is key.

  9. Great post! I make so many of the same mistakes - and just a rooK! :) Good luck to you - can't wait to hear this "big goal!!"

  10. These are some smart concepts! I sometimes struggle with rest days, but I've had a lot of overuse injuries in the past so I try to be smart.

    I am new to speed work training so excited to see how it affects my half marathon time.

    Good luck with your big 2012!

  11. Love this post, and totally hit home with me. I do the same thing with "speed", especially with long runs. why do I have to power through them. You have so much insight, and again I am so looking foward to reading through your posts, past and future. I need more quality workouts. And I can't wait to hear your BIG goals for the year!!!

  12. yes yes yes! Nodding in agreement for all of this. You go girl. Sounds like you are on your way to that big big goal. :)

  13. We're not sick of hearing about your goals :)

    I am happy your body forgave you! Hee hee. You will be smarter this year, I know it!

    I must say, I never did this one "real" rest day thing before you started coaching me, but I am starting to really love it. A day just to chill... no biking, running, yoga... it's awesome. Recovery works, right?

  14. Love this post! So honest. It is definitely hard to take rest days at times but they can be so rewarding!!

  15. It is always so much easier to give advice than to follow it! I love the dream you had and I loved this post.

    Can't wait to see what the year has in store for you.

  16. go get em girl!! i think it's totally fair to have goals so big u're too shy to share them (got a few myself) and actually scratch 'fair' i think it's awesome. i believe u are capable of big things and i've only been blog-stalking u for a short bit of time. :) the plan u have outlined is SMART and will get u there...just have patience as u've already proven u have the tenacity and commitment.

    also, don't beat urself up cuz all of those lessons i think we've had to learn on our own the hard way. actually i just wrote on a post that sometimes it's the only way we learn things...trial by fire. but so long as u learn them and make good on the lesson u're golden, and ppssshhh, 2:55 say wat?! u'll be checkin that in ur rear view mirror and looking ahead faster in no time. ;)

  17. Haha, how absolutely true. It's so easy to shout out all your friends and teammates for not taking time off... and then go out to run another 10 miles on a stress fracture.

  18. I think that your dream will be a reality sooner than later. You have a great head on your shoulders and are able to learn from your mistakes. That is one of of the most important routes to success. I think it's much better to have crazy lofty goals than to have attainable ones. The journey for sure would be much more interesting chasing a lofty goal than an easy one. :)