I've spent the past three weeks feeling a bit off with my training. All of my workouts since this race have been a little extra challenging and haven't always gone as planned. There have been quite a few tempos that have felt less then comfortable, there have been repeats where my splits have been slow, and there have been moments that I've allowed myself to become overly frustrated with the space between where I was and where I wanted to be.
Then Monday's Boston Marathon happened.
No I wasn't there, but as I watched the series of events play out the way they did that day from my home as most runners were forced to abandon any sort of expectation, I was offered a little bit of perspective whose remnants have now managed to deeply attach themselves to my heart.
In the heat of the moment sometimes it can be difficult for me to recognize my own small steps of growth and progression.
I often neglect the fact that if I wanted to I could run 2+ hours a day without any problems.
I forget that I have a healthy body that has great strength.
I lust after where I want to go.
Sometimes I need a gentle reminder that just because progress isn't always tangible and easily noticeable doesn't mean that it's not there.
Tuesday I ventured out for a half marathon goal pace threshold workout with low expectations. Wasn't anticipating to fly through this workout because I have been struggling with workouts that are anywhere near my tempo pace lately. But I lowered by expectation, stopped over thinking the pace, and just headed out the door knowing that I was going to just press hard without regard to what pace that should or shouldn't be.
The moment I start to over think things is the moment I begin to struggle. Sometimes it's best to not think and just do. This workout wasn't easy, but it gave me a sense of peace that I am making progress and I just have to be patient. Rome wasn't built in a day.
Thursday I headed out for my favorite benchmark speed workout
3 Sets of 1x1600/2x400 @ 5k pace or quicker (6:15ish pace)
6:09, 1:28, 1:27
6:05, 1:28, 1:31 (turned into a strong headwind on the last 400)
6:13, 1:31, 1:31 (all into the wind)
Quantifying my speed was just what I needed this day to get my mind back on track. It wasn't until I went into my training log to record my splits that this workout begun to sink in. 5 weeks ago I did this same workout, but my splits were vastly different.
3 Sets of 1x1600/2x400 on 3/16/12
6:17, 1:34, 1:32
6:16, 1:32, 1:33
6:10, 1:32, 1:33
It may not be a grave difference, but it's something. And I'll take it.
Especially after battling the wind.
Progress comes in itty-bitty doses that can be difficult to notice at times. But it's there, you just have to trust yourself and the hard work that you've put in. Just have to work hard, have fun, and not take it too seriously.
Yesterday I tried to top off my week of hard work with a well deserved recovery run. What I didn't anticipate was that the 20+ mph winds blowing off of the lake would turn my run into the recovery run from hell. On the way out I couldn't maintain any sort of control over my body as the wind forcefully pushed me and half of the beach somehow made it's way into my shoes and socks, and on the way back I felt like I was running in place as my body attempted to make forward progress with little luck. It was terrible.
There was no recovery to be had, and today I'm left with an incredibly achy left knee (the opposite knee from last week) that is begging me for a bit of rest. As much as it pains my get-up-and-go attitude, I'm going to politely oblige to my bodies request. This morning should have been an 18 miler with a few uphill climbs, but I think I'm just going to have to let this workout go. While the knee is just a bit achy at this point and may not be anything too serious, I don't want to be heading towards injury just for the sake of hitting my 79 mile goal for the week. Letting a few miles go never hurts the bigger picture of things, and in this case those extra few miles might actually make things worse.
If I want to get anywhere near that sub 1:25 finish in 4 weeks, I need to pay attention to what my body is telling me and respond appropriately when it requests a bit of extra self care.
Sadly, there will be no 18 miler this weekend.
Hill climbs are 100% out of the picture until my knee feels like it's usual self.
A self prescribed dose of 3 running free days hopefully will heal whatever is going on.