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!