I’m just going to come right out and say it: I pretty much let this week go down the toilet. Now, a lot happened that was beyond my control (I was sick Monday, Tuesday, and yesterday), but I didn’t do a great job pulling things together during the week’s remaining four days. I ran on Thursday, and attempted a run yesterday but didn’t get all that far. I had planned on doing a long run today but let myself get carried away with all-or-nothing thinking, and decided it wasn’t worth the effort since I’d already blown it for the week. Oh well.
This is the point where people usually start to say, “It sounds like you should take a break from running.” There may be some truth to that. Maybe. I think the problem is less the running and more the way I approach it (and, one could argue, many other things in my life). I’m always far too invested with the accomplishment, and it seems that because I get so focused on the end product I lose the enjoyment of the process that gets me there. Whether I keep running or stop for a while, that’s not going to change, so as far as I’m concerned I might as well keep running. While I keep running, though, I’m going to work on addressing this attitude–and by that I mean doing more than just saying, “Oh, yeah, that’s happening”, which is how I’ve been dealing with it up until now.
The first step in this endeavor is going to be dialing things back a little bit. I’m training for a marathon, and that’s not going to change until October 30th when I cross the finish line at the Marine Corps Marathon. But for the past six weeks I’ve been following a plan that I know I could downgrade from. It’s the plan I wanted to follow, and not necessarily the plan I should have followed. So from this point forward, I’m going to follow Hal Higdon‘s Novice 2 plan (previously I’d been following Intermediate 1). The next six weeks of training will look like this:
Instead of running 5 days a week, I’ll get an additional day of rest and a designated day for cross-training. Hopefully this will help me feel a little more energized, since I’ve been walking around lately feeling a little bit like a zombie.
The hardest part of taking this step down is that it hurts my pride. It’s silly, I know, but every year I set my sights on a training plan that is just slightly out of my reach, and every year I get frustrated by the fact that it ends up being a bit too much. In my weaker moments, I just want to throw my hands up, acknowledge that I’ll never improve, and give up. The rest of the time, though, I am much more in touch with why I’m running–it’s not so I can win, or even have bragging rights. I run because I enjoy it, and that’s going to be the case regardless of whether I’m running 15 miles a week or 50. And if I want to continue running, and continue enjoying it, then I’m going to have to recognize when it’s time to step back a bit. This is one of those times, and I’d rather call myself a novice than risk pushing myself too hard and resenting running as a result. So a downgrade it is.
Have you ever been in a situation like this, where you had to scale back a little bit? How did you deal with it?