Welp, I can honestly say I have never had a more discouraging week of training. Ever.
After having multiple really good training weeks (see here and here), this week came as a surprise. I thought, following a rest week, I would have a great week for both a lot of miles and a lot of speed. Instead, I could barely muster any miles, and they were anything but speedy.
I did my scheduled run Monday at a 8:40 average pace — right on target. I threw in some hills for good measure, so the run overall felt harder than usual... but I just blamed it on the hills. When Wednesday came, time to do my tempo run, I couldn't even get myself out the door. My body was tired. My brain was tired. It just wasn't gonna happen. Thursday came too quickly, and I spent half of the day trying to convince myself to get out the door, then being paralyzed with guilt because I knew I didn't want to, but HAD to.
I headed out after telling myself I didn't have to do the tempo part, just get the miles in. After 3.5 slow miles, I knew nothing good was going to happen. I walked/jogged home, totally 4.5 miles running and .5 miles walking... and really started to worry. What in the world was/is wrong with me? Why can't I just DO IT? I am learning more about paying attention to my body and knowing when I can push through any fatigue: this was not one of those times. I knew I really shouldn't keep going.
Saturday came, 20 miles on the docket, and I again had the "I know I have to do this" feeling. I made a plan, hoping to feel great after a semi-restful week, and wanted to do a fast finish — at least the last 8 miles at race pace. Faster if I felt up to it. In reality, I struggled from mile 1. I ran a route I can usually keep a 8:50 pace with ease for the 8 miles out — which is slightly uphill. I was struggling to run 9:15 pace, and honestly had a few almost-10-minute miles. I considered quitting after 8, calling Derek and having him come pick me up. It was not a pretty scene, and I had to do a LOT of mental yelling/persuading to get myself to keep running.
Long story short, I did all 20 miles, averaging 9:19 pace overall. Much slower than the 8:30 I usually average on fast-finish long runs. It's pretty discouraging, especially as we're nearing the marathon. I've had two easy week, I should be rested: I should be able to run these miles no problem. Instead, I found myself walking multiple times, cursing my aching feet, and feeling the burn like never before.
We've decided that this week (and the rest of my training) will be less about mileage, since I've proven to have a stable aerobic base, and more about speed. That, and super-star resting. I need to be eating like a champ, which is something I often struggle with — despite the abundance of good food in the house. I was also having a rough week personally last week; I anticipate this week being much brighter and cheerier — hopefully to be reflected in my running. This week will look like this:
That's 14 miles less than what was scheduled, and a lot more race pace running. I am a bit nervous about not having another LONG long (read: 20 mile) run before the race, but I'm also sure my legs know how to do it. I think.
Hopefully my legs will re-gain their gusto in these four weeks before the race. I have been feeling so confident, especially after three weeks in a row of successful/fast 18-mile runs. This week has definitely given a blow to my ego, and therefore my motivation. I need a break. I'm really wondering if I have any chance of meeting my goal now — I know I shouldn't give up this easily, but it kind of seems like a pipe dream now.
Next week I'll try to have a not-so-downer post for you — I'm gonna try to get these legs back in line!