Marathon Reflection Monday

Well, HELLO Monday.  It’s a hot one down in these parts!

So, three weeks down, 15 left to go.

If I can please be a bit whiny for a minute, things aren’t falling into place quite where I was hoping they would (as in, I’m not hitting paces that I hit as recently as March and April).  I realize that it is hotter outside, and that heat is a huge factor in performance.  Running at 7 p.m. still means running in 90+ temperatures.  I also realize that I have 15 full weeks to get there.  But man oh man did I think I would be doing better at this point.

I’ve also gained 4 pounds since March, so I imagine that isn’t helping me go any faster.  Thanks, doctor, for pointing it out at my appointment on Friday.  (“So, what’s going on? You’ve gained 4 pounds since last year?”…well, last year I was fresh off a beach vacation.  It makes a difference!).

I WAS pleasantly surprised when he (my doctor) was supportive of my marathon.  Usually I get a lecture about how walking is so much better (in the most simplistic terms, your body is much more efficient per calorie burned when walking than running), but he even offered me some tips (all of which I  already knew), and was excited about it.  Probably cheaper to have a marathon training patient than an overweight smoker patient?

What went well:

Booze and Food: Still not perfect, but I’m making better choices.  The other day I actually ordered half a sandwich and salad at a restaurant where I normally eat cheese fries.  Even this weekend, my beverage consumption was lower than normal.  Maybe there is hope for me to become a healthy person yet!

Keeping to the Plan: Three weeks in, we haven’t missed a workout.  I’ve woken up way earlier than I’ve wanted to get my miles in, and we’ve had to run in ridiculous hotness, but we’re keeping to it.  We’ve been tired, we’ve had other things to do, but we’ve made this a priority, and I’m proud of us so far!

Hydration: I’m finally feeling like I’m getting my proper water intake.  We also tried Nuun this weekend.  It tastes really good! I have no idea if it is helping or not, but it does make for a tasty treat.

What needs Improvement:

Recovery: I started actually backing off on this a little bit this week, and I can feel the difference.  Doing good with the post running protein, but not rolling out as much. I’ve been neglecting my Stick and Foam Roller, and I’m paying the consequences.  My recovery runs are going well however.  Nice, slow, and easy.

Cross training: It has yet to happen.  Even the weight lifting I had been doing has started to fall by the wayside.  While I’m squeezing in runs, I’m having a harder time scheduling any other types of workouts.  We need some yoga in our life badly.

Pushing myself just a bit harder:  I’ve realized that a few months ago when I was doing really well with races, I was pushing myself harder.  But right now, mentally I feel like I’m holding back during every run.  Maybe trying to conserve energy for later?  Great for marathons, not so effective for 10 minutes in my tempo run.  Being uncomfortable for 10 minutes is not going to kill me.  I need to remember that.

Not being so hard on myself:  It is my nature to find fault with everything I’m doing (I think this is the case for most people).  For example, I ran a 10-K yesterday that was far slower than I wanted (more on that tomorrow).  I’m trying not to be bothered by it, but of course I’m bothered by it.  I’m trying not to feel like a failure when I don’t reach my pace goals, but I’m still feeling slower than I want to.  I know I’m not supposed to peak yet, and I still have 15 weeks, and it is hot, and a litany of other excuses. But I’m not where I want to be three weeks in, and that is hard to take.  Aaron keeps me from going completely insane with his encouragement as do all of you (thank you!), but this is a battle I’m fighting with myself, and it is hard not to beat myself up over it.

But I need to get over it.  I need to stop whining and channel that energy into something more productive.  There are bigger problems in the world than my inability to hold a half marathon pace for 3 miles.

Thank for letting me vent.  I try and keep the whiny (NOT wine-y) to a minimum, but I’m just in a mood. Could also be a case of the Mondays.  I’ll work on the positivity!

So much easier said than done…

Have a wonderful week!

23 thoughts on “Marathon Reflection Monday

  1. You are definitely allowed to whine when you’re attempting marathon training in the summer! I just had a very similar conversation with a running buddy on Sat, who is about to start her training and is feeling really sluggish and bummed about her paces right now. I really think the heat has so much to do with it… not only does it slow you down, it takes a lot out of your body and can make your recovery harder, too. I like your last few paragraphs- don’t be too hard on yourself!

    • Thanks! I really love the summer and warm weather, but I wish I could turn down the heater while I run! I think I also have a hard time blaming other factors for not reaching my goals (e.g. hot weather), but even just laying in the hot sun will drain me, so I need to accept that I’m not exempt from being affected by the heat. Thank you for always being so encouraging!

  2. I love the saying on your blog photo. Sooner is definitely better. I live in Atlanta, and I am training for a fall marathon as well. The hardest part of summer running is managing your expectations. It is unrealistic to think that we will hit the same paces at 85-90 degrees as we do when it 60-70 degrees, but I absolutely believe that the effort running in the heat of the summer will pay off in that fall when the cooler weather returns. I have made my focus to run my track repeats on pace once a week. It means that I have to get out earlier to do it, but the speedwork is helping me to run my tempo and long runs at less effort and still get close to my desired paces. Good luck!

    • I actually read about your track repeats the other day. You are doing great! I’m also hoping that training in harder conditions will help make things easier when it cools down a bit! Good luck to you too. Atlanta is another hot place!

  3. Wow — super impressive that you haven’t missed a workout! And everything else sounds like it’s actually going really well 🙂 Like you said, there are 15 more weeks to go so you have time to perfect things!

  4. Don’t worry about your paces right now. Adapting to a training plan and ramping up the mileage in the heat is not a recipe for instant speed. You’ll struggle all summer and feel like you’re breaking down and getting slower at times, and then you’ll taper and go out and run that marathon with rocket legs you never knew you had. Been there, done that. And Nuun is awesome. Easy on the stomach, helps delay electrolyte depletion. You’re not going to notice a turbo boost from it, but it’s the cramping you won’t notice because you don’t have it that will be the big plus.

    Now go crush week 4!

    • Haha. Thanks Sam 🙂 I’m trying very hard to calm down (and even now, I want to go back and give Monday Morning Amy a hug and some more coffee because she was very grumpy). But I also turn a little neurotic when I feel like I’m not reaching goals. I’m trying to get over it!

      And yeah, we ran a 10-K yesterday, and most runners are in agreement that it was close to 100 degrees at the start, and even though I was hot and dry, I didn’t have the dehydration cramps, perhaps thanks to Nuun!

  5. Way to not miss a workout! My first thought is always to bail when I’ve had a long day or the weather is less than ideal. You guys are doing awesome!

    I just tried Nuun for the first time a couple weekends ago. It took a little getting used to, but I’m hooked now! I’m hoping to stock up next weekend so I can start rotating through different flavors.

    Keep up the great work–reading your training updates has me **considering** a full in the near future. 😉

    • I kind of think reading blogs is what convinced me to actually do a full marathon. I used to think it was crazy and kind of unattainable, but then I kept seeing all of these normal people going for it (on multiple occasions), and I kind of got swept up in their excitement! And since you’re married to a crazier ultra crazy, I would not be surprised at all if you decided to do a full!

      And my thought is always to bail on workouts too (much more the norm than not for me), so that’s why I’m amazed that we’re actually keeping to it!

  6. Ugh. I’m going to have to start the early morning runs so I can fit in my evening weights. Even thinking about it sucks, so well done on sticking to your schedule so far!

    • Haha, yeah. I haven’t quite mastered trying to get everything in yet. At least early morning runs for me doesn’t mean freezing cold! Stay warm over there.

  7. Waaaahhhh…what a cry baby…quit blogging and hit the track!

    Can you imagine if someone actually posted that??? What a jerk that guy would be! I completely understand what you are talking about and I think about the days when I hate running and feel slow the most when I finish a good run. They can’t all be good but beating yourself up every now and then will motivate you to keep pushing, nothing wrong with that! May the pace be with you in week 4.

    • SUCH a jerk! (though I wouldn’t blame someone for thinking that). And now that I’ve thoroughly beat myself up, I’m ready to get back in the game. Thanks, coach! May the pace be also with you!

  8. Way to keep up with the training! And I’m so glad I have someone to relate to as far as the beverages are concerned. Maybe we can have a challenge where we stay away from adult beverages for one week =) What do you think?

    And If I could offer two pieces of advice from many hard lessons learned throughout my years of running:

    Don’t neglect the strength training, and not just the legs. Upper body strength is just as important. Since I have started focusing more on weights, my running form feels so right and so easy. And I can tell how my upper body is able to propel me forward, especially uphills since I’ve started working on my back and shoulders. It really helps.

    No matter how much you think you don’t have time for it, use the foam roller and the stick. And just like you mentioned, find time for yoga. It will help your running so much.

    15 weeks will go by so fast! I hope you are enjoying your training. Can’t wait to read next Monday!!

    • Thanks for all of the encouragement! I’d be up for a challenge, especially in the last few weeks before the race! It is such a part of our routine to come home from work and go straight for a glass of wine, so it is a hard transition to not have that. I imagine as a teacher, it pretty much a requirement for you! And weekends are hard because we usually go to…a winery or a brewery, so we’re having to find other things to do.

      I’ve already seen how big of a difference NOT rolling out is making. I let it go for a couple of days, and my legs are back to being stiff. And I’m not sure what switches in my brain when I start training, but I’ve always been good at strength training, but for some reason it just falls to the back burner when I start running more (kind of when I need it the most). This happened last year when I started training for my half too. I just need to get it done!

      Thanks for the advice!

    • Thank you! I’m working on it…I’d much rather be positive! My doctor also said I should be wearing one of those hats with a little cape on the back when I’m running to prevent sun exposure, but I probably won’t be heeding that advice!

  9. Don’t apologize for whining, it’s how you feel, let it out, you’re going to feel better after! Don’t stress about your pace in the heat, it’s too hot out for that! Four pounds is like, nothing, you’ll probably lose that in your next long run!

    • Thank you! I already feel much better actually! And when my doctor brought up the weight gain, I was like, REALLY? You’re giving me a hard time over 4 pounds??? Oh well.

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