Any runner will tell you that not every run is a great one.
As much as I love running (and the fact that I’ve been on nearly 300 runs in the past 18 months suggests I am probably beyond the flirting stage at this point), I have to be honest and say there are those times when it just isn’t that great. There are times when it is an effort to get out of the door, your legs feel a little heavy, and frankly, you just drag yourself around the neighborhood because it is a means to an end, be that fulfilling an important building block in your race training plan, keeping the middle aged spread at bay, or simply helping to clear your mind of your daily travails.
There is an easy fix for that. Stop. For a couple of days, maybe a week. Give yourself a break. Do something else – go for a swim, cross
train or, heaven forbid, go cycling if you really must. If absence makes the heart grow fonder, then you will soon be back on track.
I am actually struggling with what seems to me to be a much bigger issue, one that I can only describe as ‘blowing up’ on long runs. When I
say ‘blowing up’, I clearly don’t mean spontaneously self-combusting, but I do mean (I think) essentially hitting a, or ‘the’, wall.
It has happened twice now in this particular training cycle, and I have to say, I am not amused. The first time, a few weeks ago, I was on an
out and back hilly 18 miler, and I put my problems squarely in the camp of not respecting the distance. It was hot, I didn’t manage my nutrition leading up to the run, or my hydration during the run, with an end result that I had to run / walk the last 4 miles, got home and promptly puked my guts up.
18 miles in most people’s money is a long way, and it takes a little preparation and thought before going out and doing it (at least it does for me). The stupid thing was, I could feel myself going south fairly early on in the run, and I should have listened to my body at mile seven, turned around, and been happy with a decent 14 miles and lived to fight another day. However, I’m nothing if not pig-headed, and I ended up at home, feeling sorry for myself on my couch, downing bottles of Vitamin Water (Zero – Lemon Flavor is my fave by the way) wondering where it all went wrong.
My second catastrophe, and to be clear, having to call in a ride home having not completed a run, can only be described as a catastrophe
with a humiliation chaser, happened this past Saturday. The distance was (supposed to be) 22 miles, following an exact course I had run just one week previously. The pace was slow – I was running with my dear friend and running partner Yoko, who has been taking a slightly gentler path this time out as she manages a niggling injury – and while hot outside, the weather was not entirely unbearable – at least at the outset.
Long story short – I just ran out of juice. Like a battery powered torch losing power, my light just faded to the point where even taking another step was an effort, and at 18.5 miles, having had to run / walk about a mile, I had to literally phone it in.
I have less than 4 weeks to the Victoria Marathon. Confidence is low, and I’m trying to take some of my own advice and take a couple of days
off. I start back up again tomorrow, having had a 3 day break, and I’ll probably hit a gentle 5 or 6 miles, and take it from there, limiting my long run at the weekend to maybe 15 miles tops and see where we go from there. Not long now before I start my taper to the event itself…I think this run, more than any of my other ones to date, is going to be a real battle. Any experienced runners out there reading this, your advice on this topic would be greatly appreciated.
That said, and in the words of the genius Saucony ads… “Strong is just what you have left when you’ve used up all your weak.”
I’m going to find my strong.