Tuesday, June 22, 2010

18 Weeks

As I am sure you guys all remember reading, I did not feel like I had the best training cycle for Boston and Big Sur, nor did I have the races I had hoped for.  Between hectic work due to tax season and then catching the most horrific flu just 4 days out from Boston, I was so disappointed by how it all turned out.  When I got back from Big Sur I wanted my revenge.  I wanted to get that race that I was hoping for but slipped away from me.  I even toyed with jumping right back into training and making the SF Marathon my "A" race for another Boston Qualifier.  But in my heart, I knew I needed a break and settled on Long Beach in October.

I am a person who needs a training cycle.  I don't do well with out that nice little training scheduled pinned up on my fridge.  I like crossing the days off and the feeling I get of completing a planned workout.  When I don't have something to tell me what to do I feel lost and confused and often over do it.  So when I decided on Long Beach I wanted to give myself the best possible training I could.  I have used the Pfitz plan for my last 4 marathons and each time I usually did between 12 and 14 week training cycles.  But this time was different.  I didn't want to possibly set myself up for failure by not giving myself enough time so I went with the 18 week schedule.  I'm about a month into it almost and I'm done. 

I know I just said I love checking off a completed workout, but looking ahead all the way to October I feel like I may have started too early.  In fact, I know I did.  I love running, I love training, but I think I went out a little fast - a little too early (kind of like how I run a 10K!).  This past couple of weeks I have not enjoyed my running.  And I should be.  Yes, the weather is warm and making me be creative with my time.  But I just can't get out of this funk.  Every run has felt like a chore and my goal race seems so far away.  I realize now, 18 weeks is too long for me.  18 weeks is just too far off to be able to see the big picture.  Last Friday I got off early from work and was excited to run.  By the time I laced up my shoes and headed out the door it became a chore.  I hated my running routes, I didn't want to run 7 miles.  I didn't want to do strides in between.  I just didn't want to run - classic burn out.

I've been training for so long that I have lost focused.  Yes, I can see October 17 way out in the distance and I want that BQ again so badly I can taste it - hell, we have all been there in some way, shape or form.  But I've lost the luster of training and I have to change it up.  More than anything, I think my running routes are the real cause.  I've been running the same routes, roads and trails for years and try as I might to "switch" them up - there is no magical cure for feeling like I've been here - done that.  I've tried all the usual tricks - run them backwards, drive to new(er), less frequented spots, meet up with people - and all still feel like a chore.  I know I set myself up for this - I went out too early, too fast.

Yes, I know I'm whining.  It seems like lots of us have been having some sort of June-glum with our training.  It's as if there is a giant black cloud is hanging over many of us when we set out for our runs.  And I'm sure you haven't notice, but there has been a significant lack of posts on my part.  Yes, my life is going pretty dang OK right now - nothing to complain about.  Right now though, my running has no sparkle, it has no drive - and I miss that.

So, this weekend I decided that I would take the next week or so and just run.  I'm scrapping this week's training schedule and just going out by feel - taking a cue from Denise who just had this same thing happen to her.   Saturday I felt like running 6 would work, so I went out and ran just six.  Sunday I had no time to fit in a run and I didn't beat myself up - I just took a rest day.  And yesterday, my stomach was hating me for some reason, so rest day number 2!  Today, my legs feel like speed work so after work the track and I have a date.  I'll figure it out when I get there.  I don't have the training monkey on my back right and it feels pretty good.  Tonight the hubbs and I are headed up to Lake Tahoe for a couple of days to play.  I can't wait to get a nice long run in there.  And maybe even some mountain biking.  I do know that next week though, if training is still looking less than appealing, then I will give myself more time.  October is  a long ways a way still and I'm strong runner - missing a couple of weeks of hard core training this early won't set me back.  My mind needs to be as strong as my legs if I am going to be able to cross that finish line with a BQ on October 17.

What is the typical training cycle do you use?  Do you vary it?  Is 18 weeks just the right amount of time? Or is closer to 12 or 14 usually do the trick?  Let me know, I'm curious to see what you all do when you hit a rough patch or start planning out your cycles.  I've been running for so long that I take for granted what I know to be the basics.  I take for granted all my running in the sense that I don't think all the old rules always have to apply.  But they do.  There is a reason why it worked in the past! 

Happy Tuesday and Happy Running Peeps!

15 comments:

Jamoosh said...

During the "off-Season" (assuming I am healthy) I run quite a bit with a group (we affectionately call ourselves "the knuckleheads) every Saturday. We typically set up routes of 6-8-10 miles (with an occasional 12 miler) which gives everyone an option and enables each runner to maintain their or train for an upcoming race if they have scheduled one.

LPT said...

Ooh, I hear that. I'm afraid of the burnout myself... this weekend is the CCFA half marathon. We set a 16-week training cycle for the participants, and I think it has been a decent amount of time. I start marathon training at the beginning of July for MY 26.2 on Oct 17th! After that marathon? I think I'll officially take a break.

Katie said...

ouch lady, I'm sorry to hear you've got the running blahs. I'm a 12-to-14 week-er myself (even though I usually get hurt in the last 2 weeks ANYWAY). 18 weeks feels like a really long time - especially for someone who is in good strong shape like you!! I think taking a week or two off of the training schedule is a great idea, and hopefully when you start back up again, things will be rockin and rollin!

Denise said...

as i was reading that i thought i was reading my own posts!!! it'll work it's way out and hopefully the running for fun when YOU want to run will help. hang in there or feel free to come be crabby with me! :-)

aron said...

this is EXACTLY what i went through last summer and i learned a lot about myself and training through it. maybe you can stop your schedule right now and just run for a couple weeks and then jump on a 12 week schedule once it gets there? you went out pretty hard right after that big month of april, i would be burned too! try some tricks to mix it up and maybe just take a week where you just run without looking at the schedule... that does the trick a lot for me. it will get better girlie!

TMB @ RACING WITH BABES said...

I am on week three of a 19 week plan. I usually go with 16 weeks for everything, but G is doing a training group for her race (I join her bandit style) and they have a 23 week plan - which I think is WAY TOO LONG. You'll be awesome and BQ again. Have fun with it. And everything will work out.

Heather said...

I think 18 weeks is too long . . . I usually do 16 weeks and sometimes that seems so long too. I love running "by feel" though - it's definitely a way to change things up and get some workouts you might not normally do. Either way, you are a rock star. :)

runningcommentaries said...

I feel your pain! I like an 18 week cycle because it gives me direction but I think you'd be fine with 12 or 15. Just make sure to keep your base strong

Maybe try something other than Pfitz? Just a thought. That never hurts either.

Amanda - RunToTheFinish said...

You know me I really like to just run however my body feels...so I only follow a plan to the extent that I need a general outline for hill work, speed work and length of my long runs. Even that sometimes feels like too much :)

Jill said...

Hey cutie...
As you know, I'm on the "wake up and see how you feel and run accordingly, but be sure to build your long run weekly" training plan, and it works best for me. I have made plans which I have had to rework a thousand times because this happened or that happened, so for me, right now, I just keep building the long run and pushing the hills and doing some speedwork. And then rest a week and repeat. It works SO much better for me to do this week-by-week instead of 18 weeks down the road. It was so good to talk to you today and get yours (and mine) frustrations out. I'm laying in bed icing my heel ... having GI problems galore (did you give those to me??!!) and so so so unsure what to do for SF! But we'll chat tonight. Hope you're feeling better today...thought about you on my run today and as you know, you're not the only one who is suffering through this. And hey, you got all of blog world on your side, you know...the ones that don't seem to like me ;).
Okay, that was a totally rambling post...but you know me. We need a trip to Mike's Pastry for a red velvet cupcake - yummy. I hope you have a similar place in SF to take me to!! Love ya!

Jess said...

The blahs attack everyone from time to time, espeically if you are training for the same distance over and over. You're wise to take a week to step back from training and mix it up.

Char said...

All the way through your post I was thinking 'Ease back, ease back.' You managed to work that out without any help from me. It won't hurt your training this far out from your event.

Jo Lynn said...

I'm such a horrible friend when it comes to training advice. Sorry!
Good luck with getting the help from your other blogger buddies about it. ;)

Tara said...

I really like 12 week cycles as long as you have a solid base in terms of overall mileage. I have definitely felt the burnout and i find running for pleasure rather than training usually does the trick. Listen to your body, physically and emotionally, can make or break a training cycle, so take the time you need to find your happy place with running :)

MCM Mama said...

I've used an 18 week plan both times I've done a marathon and I'm fine with it at the beginning, but hit a slump usually with a month to go, so maybe I need shorter.

I also took a year off between training plans and just did my own thing, which works for me as long as my races are half marathons and shorter.

hope you get out of the blahs soon!