These past few weeks have been somewhat of a set-back on the quest to half-marathon glory. The first two weeks of training with my new coach had gone really well – nailed the workouts, was really into it, all was good.
Week commencing 30th January. (Wk 3)
The previous week had been pretty solid, with high mileage and some decent workouts. And the week of the 30th started out really well.
Monday: 6 miles with 3 at tempo.
- The tempo goal pace was 8.45 which I thought was do-able. In the end, I hit them at 8.36, 8.50 (hill) and 8.32 so I was really happy about that.
- In the evening, I went to Improvers Group and we did fartleks so I got another 3 miles in with a few bursts of speed.
Wednesday: Run Club
- This was my first inkling that something was wrong. The 6.5 miles we ran saw me getting increasingly grumpy. I was sick of running the dark, the cold, the rain and the wind. I was fed up with running. I felt like I was getting slower and I ran myself into the doldrums. I recovered and finished the run feeling good, but I was surprised at how much I hated running that night.
Thursday: Long run
I had company for 10 miles of today’s long run so I got out early and fitted in the additional 3 that I needed for my goal of 13 miles. And then my lovely new running buddy Nicola planned us a fantastic trail 10-miler up the Ridgeway and back through Temple Farm. It was the second time we’d run together and we really hit it off, sharing personal stories and deep conversations that I’d really missed since we moved back. It was such a beautiful day, the views were gorgeous and the company was really top-notch.
When I got home, I felt exhausted, much more than usual. My knees ached, my legs ached. I was shivery, cold and felt lethargic. So I went back to bed and barely got up for two days. My throat swelled up with a tonsil infection and I felt foul. I remained foul for days. We did manage a surprisingly lovely weekend in the Forest of Dean, featuring a gentle walk and a gentle bike-ride, and I hoped the worst was done and I could start training again.
Week commencing 5th Feb (supposedly wk 4)
Nope. I was still feeling rough. My health was improving every day but I felt SO lethargic and totally didn’t want to run, I didn’t want to blog, I didn’t want to see anything running-related on social media. I had no desire to be a runner. I decided to take a break from my training plan – I’d run easy for the week and then start my plan again the following Monday. My coach was on board with this.
Tuesday: Easy 5
- Tuesday was my birthday so I tested out my legs with a gentle 5 miles. The weather was gorgeous – cold but sparkling. My legs felt awkward and ungainly and the run was not particularly pleasant. I had to keep refocussing my thoughts on the beauty of the day and how lucky and grateful I was to be running healthy on my birthday – they kept veering off thinking about how slow I was, how I’d never be fast again, how uncomfortable running was and how much I wanted the run to be over. Not like me at all.
Wednesday: Easy 3
- I went out for a gentle run with the husband. Still wasn’t pleasant running but I’m always glad to run with him.
Thursday: Easy 5
- I met up with Nicola again for an easy 5 miles on trails around her village. I thoroughly enjoyed running with her and running those lovely trails but still found myself not enjoying the actual running, if that made sense.
Saturday: Easy 3
- So I was signed up for a 10 mile race on the Sunday and I had no idea whether or not I’d do it. I went out for an easy 3 miles to see how I felt…and something felt different. My legs still felt sluggish and awkward, I still didn’t love the running…but as I got home, I realised I’d enjoyed this run. And the endorphins afterwards were amazing. Like I’d crushed a track workout o I’d PR’d a 5k. Seriously…I felt like I was on fire again. NO idea where that came from (3 10-minute-miles does not make for endorphin rushes) but all of a sudden, a fire was relit to train and to run hard and to run that Annecy Half-Marathon like a boss lady.
Sunday: Wiltshire 10-miler
I’ll recap this in the next few days but basically it went well. I set myself a realistic goal, given my current levels of fitness – 9 minute miles. I ran it on feel, only checking my watch once at the half-way mark and just did what I could on the day. I was almost delighted with 1.30.47 – just 47 pesky seconds off my goal-time! The bigger news was that I felt decent throughout and came home feeling really good about running and training again. The Running Blues were over.
It has been a very odd fortnight as regards running. I have to assume that it was my intense germiness that caused the lack of desire to run and the lack of enjoyment in running. Several times I considered whether or not ‘training’ was taking the joy out of running and I genuinely didn’t feel it was. Yes, ‘training’ adds an element of pressure but I had been enjoying the purpose and the focus it also adds. I considered whether or not I REALLY want a 1.49 HM and I decided that yes, I genuinely do. I want to continue training for this big goal.
One thing that definitely has bugged me is that I feel like I’m not getting any faster. I’d been training for three weeks and although in my head I knew it was too soon to see improvements, I still wanted to see something magical happening. I feel like I’m slower than I was, and that’s still bugging me. I have to train my brain to be patient, to put the work in and to wait for results.
I have dropped out of Instagram and Twitter until Easter. I love IG particularly but since we’ve moved back, it’s been making me ungrateful and dissatisfied as oposed to inspired and I don’t need that, so I’m giving it up until Lent. Twitter has also been making me angsty so I’ve quit that too. So far, it’s not been too bad although I miss Twitter for the Olympics!
This week’s plans
I have three weeks left on my coaching trial and my goals are:
- To do every single one of those workouts
- To hit all the prescribed times
- To get excited about running again.
Okay. I’m back. Let’s do this.