I haven’t been secretive in my struggles getting back into the swing of things. It sucks to not feel driven enough to push through when you’re fatigued or eager to wake up for those weekend long runs. I’ve been trying to pinpoint why everything seems so much more difficult this time than any other time I’ve resumed running after a hiatus, or anytime I’ve trained for a race. First and foremost, I’m not motivated to run the Buffalo Half Marathon.
There. I said it. Training for this race does not motivate me. At all. I’m enjoying leisurely running whenever I want, but I’m not thriving on the idea of working towards a time goal at all. I know I’m not in shape for a PR, which is completely okay, but I’m not even excited to finish it with a strong time. Running 10 miles right now because I want to run 10 miles sounds fabulous, but running 10 miles because I need to for race preparation sounds horrendous. It’s entirely mental and my mental game is weak.
Second of all, I feel exhausted as soon as I come home. There are a lot of factors in here, including my diet. It’s not easy to get out for a run when I’m driving home for 15 minutes willing my eyes to stay open.
Third, planning my workouts with my life is complicated. I can’t run three days in a row each week successfully at this point, which limits my training. CrossFit generally leaves me a little too sore to head out for a good run the following day, so it’s usually a rest day. Trying to add in a “glute exhaustion” workout at home each week requires a day off (or CrossFit, potentially if I’m not too tired) afterwards, but then that’s 2-3 days in a row without running, which ties back to the whole issue of running 3 days in a row.
Workouts aside, I also want to spend time with J. Yes, we work together, so I see him daily for lunch, but I don’t want to hang out at 9pm for an hour watching TV before bed. I like being able to take a day or two during the week to make dinner together or you know, date each other. We may have been together for two and a half years so far, but it’s important to us that we actually spend time together. That’s a big struggle for me – he understands that running and working out is important to me (and will do these things with me when it’s nice outside!) and I’m so thankful he’s supportive of this – but I really enjoy our time together and I’m not willing to sacrifice that.
And then there’s that whole thing with cooking, cleaning, laundry, etc. I’ve learned that I can’t really do any of this during the week and that’s okay — but it means I need to be more diligent with my weekend hours. J and I are working on budgeting together by each making part of a lunch for the week for each other. Since I have somebody else holding me accountable, I have to cook some food and if I’m already cooking lunches, I might as well prepare some dinners for myself, too!
I’m not disappointed in the slightest that my training hasn’t gone the way I planned. I signed up for the Buffalo Half Marathon because that was my last focus before getting injured and it seemed like a good goal race. I wanted to continue to PR and then just keep running longer and longer distances to prepare for a marathon. But that was two years ago. Right now my heart isn’t there.
Instead of focusing on the Buffalo Half Marathon as a “goal” with a taper, I’m just going to run for fun and try to maintain 15-18 miles per week. It seems that this is a good mileage for me to hover at before increasing into 20+ territory. Staying at a similar mile point each week can also help while I figure out a solid training frequency.
With figuring out a solid training frequency, that means looking at my training cycle. I don’t think a 7-day cycle is for me right now. I need more recovery than I can fit in if I’m sticking to a 7-day cycle, but I need to do a little more research on what could work for me. As of right now, my long runs aren’t long enough to cause problems during the week if my schedule required me to do them during the work-week.
As far as a goal to work towards — I do have a couple in mind. Since starting back up with my running love after high school, I’ve been working towards half marathons — I’m ready to change that up!
I want to focus on my 5k PR over the summer and finally break 22 minutes. There is also a mile challenge sponsored by one of the local running stores this summer which sounds really awesome. I haven’t raced a mile outside of track season in high school (which was just 1500m) so I’m looking forward to trying something different. I don’t think I’ll be winning any mile races at all, but it’s a nice challenge for myself.
I’m not totally giving up on the half marathon distance, though. I am considering a fall half marathon that is within driving distance so I can stay overnight but leave after the race… so 3-4 miles from Buffalo. I don’t want to commit to anything at this point, but the idea is there.
We’ll see what happens. Maybe everything I’ve said seems like I’m giving excuses for not training hard enough and having “bad” weeks. Some people might use these excuses for their training and think that’s what I’m doing. Regardless if anyone believes me or not, these aren’t excuses for a lack of training. I’m not an elite athlete, I never will be… but I love to run and lately training for the “goal” I had isn’t making me passionate for running! If that means re-evaluating everything I’ve done and making “excuses”, so be it. So Buffalo Half Marathon, I’m coming for you in a different light… but summer of 5k’s, you’re on deck.