Saturday, April 21, 2012

A little unexpected rest

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.


  1. I love the relationship you have with your body. I know it's been hard fought, but it's really inpiring to see you let an 18 miler go, when so many of us would do it anyway because it's "on the plan."

    I'm also having one of those weeks where I didn't get all my miles in, and everything is starting to "yell" at me. Here's to a good weekend off for both of us :)

    1. Amen to that Bobbi! It's hard to let the miles go, but when I think about where I want to be 4 weeks from now this 18 miler doesn't seem too important. Bigger picture ideas right?

  2. Couple are so smart to skip the long run this morning. If the knee is asking for a little extra rest, you are completely right to listen to it because the long run (with some hill action mixed in there) would have just made it more angry and you could have possibly thrown away all your half marathon training.

    And I know how frustrating it is to not to a long run...last week I was going to try to do one during the weekend and I wasn't able to because of my work schedule and the weather and it put me in a bad mood and I had a tough time mentally dealing with it, which was RIDICULOUS. I finally relaxed about it and have been having smooth runs since. But yeah, it's tough to mentally accept post-poning a long run, I hear you.

    And oh my goodness, you have sub 1:25 in the bag, no question (as long as the weather is not insane of course...)

    Enjoy the rest of your weekend!!

  3. You are so smart. I applaud you resting, and also appreciate that you are so aware of the privilege of just being able to run (speaking from my place firmly on the injured bench). Also, way to go on your benchmark workout this week! I know that must have been so encouraging.

  4. Listening to our bodies is usually the best but hardest thing to do. Enjoy your rest day and know that you are doing what your body is needing! Enjoy your weekend!

  5. Amazing progress, girl! and totally listen to your body and let the run go and DON'T THINK ABOUT IT AGAIN:) You have done all the work you need to do to get your half marathon goal - be confident. you are super strong and superfast and will do great. enjoy the rest:)

  6. RUN SMART & CELEBRATE SMALL VICTORIES (they are victories still). I am training for my first half and find your words inspiring. I skipped a Thursday 7-mile run because my hip flexors felt too sore. Smartest decision of 2 days rest - today's run came with no shooting pain.

    Sometimes I think we all need to turn that damn GPS off and get back to the basics of why we run. Have a good weekend!

  7. Thanks for the reminder that progress doesn't happen right away... it's gradual...
    My knee has been hurting as well and I tried taking 2 weeks off of running with just biking and weights, but I had to get back to running as I have a half mary in 2 weeks... stupid knee :(
    I hope yours starts feeling better quickly
    BTW, you are one speedy gal! :)

  8. Forever runner all the way! And you live that and inspire others to listen to their bodies to know that bailing on a few days of workouts is essential for progress- as opposed to logging the miles and ending with a terrible injury. Quality over quantity is so important. Reading your blog has really helped me not feel guilty if I need to take some rest days if my body is begging for it.

    I hope you are rejuvenated and healed for next week.

  9. Good job on your workout on Thursday. Your training is smart and consistent. It will pay off.

  10. great post and perspective; it's a common problem for us type A'ers to focus only on the negative and overlook anything positive we've done or tiny steps forward. and it's hilarious because i'm the same way about certain workouts; i 'try too hard' and want to force myself to do better when i need to relax, stop over-stressing and *gee golly gee* i end up running faster than when i try to force it. self imposed stress is a big weight vest. :P great job out there! as for ur knee, u kno ur bod, girl, and now u're smart enough to listen to it. ;)

  11. I have to tell you, as much as I hate that you are hurting, I love that you are respecting that and backing off. It's so hard to do, but you know that pushing through it would only lead to a real layoff, and that's not what you need. Great maturity!

    And nice splits on that track work.

  12. I hope your knee is already starting to feel better! I am telling you, this wind is demoralizing. I only ran 5 today and most of it was in to the wind (how does THAT work?) and I felt so annoyed. I hope the three days off give you the recovery you wanted and didn't get!