Why I’m Taking a Step Back – Training Summary: 7/13/2014

Bear with me on this post – lots of words, not many pictures.


So my training this past week was pretty much non-existent. I told you last Sunday that I had decided to take a step back in my training and that has continued through this week. And since I got a text from a good friend the other day asking me if the step back was because I was pregnant let me just start by saying that that is NOT the reason! (there are still a few years before that will be the case 😉 )

I have been trying to put my thoughts about this topic to paper (or I guess keyboard) for a few days but words have been failing me. It’s hard to admit, to yourself most of all, when something that you’ve made your goal for the past few years isn’t what you really want, or maybe isn’t the best thing for you.

In college I ran steeplechase – not because it was the best event for my body – hello stress fractures – but because I thought that I had a higher chance of succeeding. I loved the 5K but if I ran steeple, where the talent pool was much smaller, I had a better chance of qualifying for Regionals. So I ran steeple. I got hurt.  And I spent the next year kicking myself in the behind because I had let the desire to be good (at whatever) win over my passion (for the 5k). I thought I had learned from this experience. I was never going to let the same thing happen again, but a few years later here I am. In what feels like a very similar situation.

In 2012 I ran the LA marathon. Going into the race I had every intention of getting back into 5Ks after LA but…… I had BQ’d. I ran well and all of a sudden it was “I could be good at the marathon”, “I can break 3-hours for sure”, “Maybe one day I’ll run in the Olympic Trials marathon!”. I immediately signed up for a fall marathon and planned to sign up for Boston AS SOON AS registration opened. I had lost sight of my passion again. And again I got “hurt” – no stress fractures this time, but anemia is no joke. I pulled out of the fall marathon telling myself I’d get that sub-3 at Boston. Well, we all know how that went. After Boston I hit training hard (probably a little too soon), hired a coach, and set my sights on Chicago for that sub-3 that I wanted so badly. It wasn’t until a few weeks ago that I came to a crazy realization. Are you ready for this? Don’t hate me…

The marathon isn’t what I want right now.

It took running the 5K in June for me to finally sort out my feelings and realize this. I was somewhat surprised but the truth is my inner dialogue was more or less “no duh”, because if I’m honest the main reason that I wanted that sub-3 marathon so badly was because I made it a goal at the beginning of the year and I didn’t want to feel like I had “failed”! The 5K has always had my heart. I love that the distance is challenging but that you need some speed, I love 13-15 mile long runs, I love intervals on the track and weight training, and hard hill repeats. I love everything about the 5K but I’ve forgotten about the past few years. And that’s about to change.

If you are observant you may have noticed that the “USMT Project” button in my sidebar disappeared a few days ago. This is because I made the difficult decision to stop working with that coach. It is nothing against him at all, his training was great but his main focus is on the marathon.

Since it is hard to train for competitive track races all alone I looked around at a few running clubs in the area and last week made the decision to join up with NB Boston. I went to one of their practices last week and I absolutely love the runners, coach, and can’t wait to be a part of a team again! They run the three seasons – XC, indoor track and outdoor track starting September 1st and ending sometime around the start of summer.

So this little reprieve I’m taking from running is two fold – part physical and part mental. Physically, I jumped back into training too hard, too soon after Boston and I need to refresh and recharge my legs. I also think that my iron levels are too low and taking a little bit of a physical break in addition to adding more red meat and liquid iron supplements helps to jump start that whole healing process. Mentally, it’s a big shift to transition from marathon goals back to the more traditional XC/indoor/outdoor track seasons. It’s a change I’m excited about but I also think it will be good to take a bit of a break so that I’m rearing to go by the time labor day rolls around and XC season starts!

So what have I been up to during this time of rest. Well, not much this past week… just lots of sleep, light yoga/stretching, walks with the dogs, and quite a bit of pool floating.photo 2 (18)

Training Summary (as of 7/13)

Monday – 30 mins of yoga/stretching

Tuesday – AM: 30 mins of yoga/stretching PM: 9 mile run with NB Boston to meet the team and chat with the coach about joining!

Wednesday – 2 mile walk with the pups

photo (7) Thursday – 30 mins of yoga/stretching

Friday – 30 mins of yoga/stretching

Saturday – 3 mile hike with the pupsIMG_0602Sunday – Rest – coffee and farmer’s market with a high school friend

photo 1 (21)

Iced Latte!

Total Mileage: 9   Average Weekly Pace: 7:30   Total 2014 miles: 1,494.58/3,000

I have no doubt that someday, a few years down the road I’ll be all about the marathon, but for now it’s back to my first love – 5k! 🙂


What is your favorite distance to train for/race?

When you take a break from running what do you do with your extra time?

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23 thoughts on “Why I’m Taking a Step Back – Training Summary: 7/13/2014

  1. That New Balance team looks great. Looking forward to hearing how it all unfolds! I really like the half marathon distance to race, but it’s been a while since I’ve done anything else. I’m hoping to run a 10k in October, and hopefully PR!

  2. I do miss the running and just have to take it a bit easy with my self diagnosed PF. I’ve been doing some spin classes but if I were at home I would be walking with my mom/sister and dog for sure!

  3. Good for you for recognizing what you want before you drive yourself crazy training for marathon after marathon! I think that if you take some time away from it you will miss it and want it more again. It sounds like in HS you never really chased your 5K goals too seriously so maybe this is your chance! The marathon will always be an option when you are ready to get back to it!

  4. I’m truly speechless. I have a very similar experience with racing and it’s a big part of why I quit swimming and then track. I wasn’t running events I really loved because my coach wanted me to score (so I focused on the 10k instead of the 5k). I was increasingly frustrated with myself, I kept getting hurt, and my self-confidence was plummeting. It wasn’t until I let go, let myself heal, and took a break from running that I began to realize what I loved. I, too, have fallen into that trap of doing something because I didn’t want to feel like I failed. You are NOT a failure just because you don’t want to focus on the marathon right now. If anything, it gives me the inspiration I need to quit things I don’t really care about doing. I don’t need to rush to do a marathon. I don’t need to run races just because I said I was going to. If I want to run, I will. If I want to race, I will. If I don’t want to do either, I won’t. You are amazing and so inspiring and I’m proud of you for making this decision ❤

  5. Love it lolo! I am right there with you. And realizing just how much I need this rest and time to really think about what I want. I love that you are going back to your passion with the 5k. Keep following your heart. Love your blog and really loved this post today.

  6. So glad to hear that you’ve made some changes so that you can truly enjoy what you love to do! I’m looking forward to reading about your fast(er) training :). I’m always so inspired by people with super speedy 5k times. Personally, that is probably my least favorite distance (besides anything less, which I usually don’t race all that often) so I love reading all about other people’s training so that I can continue to improve upon it still. I absolutely loved the 10k in college and then when I ran my first half marathon last November I fell in love with that distance. I was about to try the marathon in January before I got injured so I’m looking to try it in 2015 assuming I can get to the line healthy. I say that I think want to and think it would be so cool to make the trials, but I haven’t even ran one yet, so I’m realizing that I need to take it slow and just take everything one step at a time. Honestly, I think the fact that so many people are trying to make the 2016 marathon trials, specifically, is what I’ve felt pressure about, so I’ve completely thrown a date out the window and have felt so much better since! I hope you enjoy your some good R & R and congrats on your decision to join your new team!! Exciting things ahead for you 🙂

  7. Kudos to you for following your passion for the 5k and putting that first! As a goal setter, I identify readily with your need to meet everything you set out do in the time you specify. Lately, I have been learning to just put off, delay, or back-out if I am not healthy, properly trained, or “ready” to make the goal I set. It is going to be so fun hearing about your training and watching your times with the 5k get faster!

    When I am not training, I end up reading and knitting more along with my usual activities. So far, the 10k is my favorite distance to race.

  8. I think it’s great that you are getting back to the distance you really want to do.
    I think I like training for the 1/2 the best…never gets too life consuming 🙂

  9. So much respect for you right now!! That’s amazing that you’re really thinking about what YOU want to do. I find that I do that too; do what I have a better chance of doing better rather than what I really like. And no matter whatever you end up doing I know you’ll be amazing!!

  10. Awesome to read this! It home with me because right now I am struggling with not being able to train for a scheduled marathon. Darn running injuries will getya. But this article reminded me to put running into perspective. I honestly haven’t missed running too much because I can’t remember the last time I had an enjoyable run – I have been running in pain for so long. I look forward to getting 110% better and enjoying running again!

    Half marathon training is looking more and more appealing to me. Still get the long distance aspect of it but you can add some speed. I think my new goal might be to step back from marathon training and focus on being faster in the half.

  11. I have seen it a lot in the last year that I’ve been blogging that there is a view of the marathon as some ‘ultimate goal’. I have seen people who are excellent 1:40 half marathoners who cannot break 4 hours in the marathon and end up sick and occasionally injured and burned out … yet keep coming back.

    I look at it this way – maybe you will run more marathons, maybe not. And who really cares – it is about running the race you want, staying healthy and being able to run and be active for as long as you can. As I have noted on my blog, I have 25 years uninjured running under my belt since I started for weight loss a year out of college – and for me no goal surpasses the ability to get up and run tomorrow.

    So stick with your amazing 5K … and be the best you can be at the distance you love.

    • Love your comment on this topic. I’m feeling pressure from people to race just because I love running. I’m finally doing a half in a couple weeks. Now I’m telling myself I must do a marathon to prove I’m a runner. What? That’s crazy talk. I’ve been running for 18 years. Why am I not a runner until I do a marathon? It was nice reading your comment.

  12. That is awesome that you can be honest with yourself about what’s important to you and then take action accordingly…and thank you for writing about it because it’s a great example for everyone, I know for me it is! Once you are committed to something it’s hard to step back without feeling like you’ve “quit” but that’s ridiculous! These are personal goals and should be for our enjoyment and fulfillment t not to hurt us! Very happy for you 🙂

  13. Good for you for recognizing your true desire and not pushing yourself to marathoning for external reasons.

    5ks are hard! I haven’t got the hang of “running in the edge of vomiting for 3.1 miles” aspect of it. I think my favorite distance is the 10k. I’m hoping to BQ this fall, but I’ve decided that I’ll run Boston for charity either way. I feel like the marathon distance is a little too hard on my body to keep pursuing it. But I love the half marathon distamce after I’ve done Boston.

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  15. I think this is great! It’s so easy to get caught up in what we should do vs. what we actually want to do. You love 5Ks – so race the! Like others said – the marathon will always be there if/when you want to go back. Plus, your new team looks really fun. Enjoy the downtime and I look forward to watching you smash your 5K PR.

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  17. I backed out of races last fall because my heart wasn’t into racing. I just wanted to run to run and that is what I did. I love the half marathon distance and don’t have the desire to train for a marathon or even sign up to run short distance races. I think we all have to do what we feel.

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  20. I’m late to the game, but I liked this post of yours. I’ve been feeling the same lately. Finally doing my first half in two weeks and now thinking I must do a marathon. Although honestly, I don’t really want to. I like speed work and feeling like I’ve given everything after those workouts. I also like long runs, but I think I top out at about 2hours. Plus being a mom with 3 small children I don’t want to deny my family from valuable time with us all together. It’s comforting to know that I’m not the only one feeling this way. Good luck with all your new adventures!

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