Happy New Year Everyone! Of course I have some 2013 fitness goals and I’ll be sharing those in a post soon. I’m having a great time reading every one’s 2012 recaps and 2013 goals.
I follow Gibson’s Daily Running Quotes on Facebook. Originally I did it so that I could provide some good quotes for marathon-finder.com‘s twitter and Facebook pages, but now I find myself enjoying the quotes. There was one posted recently that was quite relevant to my current training state:
“Runners are like any other dream seekers. They have their sights set on a high and lofty goal, and they want to achieve it. Sometimes you get discouraged, though, because the dream seems so far away and so impossibly hard to achieve… But if you’re discouraged, it may be because you’re looking too far ahead. You need to quit judging yourself by where you’re going and the fact that you haven’t yet achieved it. Instead, look at how far you’ve come and appreciate what it’s taken to get there. Progress is being made. It may seem slow and incremental at times, but you are gaining ground. Refuse to be discouraged by your seeming lack of progress. That’s only your perception in the moment; that’s not necessarily the reality. You can get better. You will get better. You are getting better. And you will get to the top of that mountain.”
-Kevin Nelson, The Runner’s Book of Daily Inspiration
This training cycle has had a lot of ups and downs. Pftizinger’s plans are NOT easy. After training 12-20 hours a week for Ironman, I figured a 55 mile running week would be cake, but it wasn’t (in fact, I never even actually ran 55 miles in one week!). I got knocked on my ass during the first few weeks and my pace was no where near what it should be. I had to do some readjusting of expectations and goal paces and it was discouraging at times. Sometimes during runs I would wonder why I was doing it and whether or not I even have what it takes to run fast. I wondered if I should just give up on my goal to run the Boston Marathon.
But then there are the days where you feel like you’ve come so far. The great runs. I started seeing progress in my runs in mid-November, especially during my longer tempo runs. I started having enough energy for finish my medium-long tempo runs with a mile in the high 7s, which used to be my pace for Yasso 800’s speed work. Right before Belize, I had the “best run ever”, which was 14 miles with 7 at marathon goal pace. I felt GREAT on this run and the low 8 min/miles I ran felt dare I say it, easy.
Since then, I’ve been having at least one absolutely great run a week. The kind of run where I burst through the door with excitement to tell Mike about it. These runs have been confidence boosters and are proving to me that I CAN do it. I AM getting faster. I may not be quite fast enough for a BQ yet, but what I’m doing is working. I am itching so bad for a race to really prove it, but I’ll have to wait until race day (Surf City is still not going to be my BQ attempt as of now – more on that later).
Last week, after skipping my long run due to stomach issues the week before, I had TWO amazing runs. Actually, three. The first was my first run post-stomach ache and it was just a 5.5 mile run around my grandma’s house the day after Christmas. My legs felt light and my high 8 min/miles felt easy. The next day I ran 9.5 miles with 7 Yasso 800s. My 7 min/mile goal interval pace didn’t feel wicked fast and I was able to get all 7 in with an average time of 3:31. After the intervals were over, I felt so good that I cruised home in the high 8 min/miles for an average of 8:35 for the whole run. Then after a 12 mile mid week long run Friday and a rest day Saturday, I had an incredible 18 mile long run, completely by myself (this is the longest I’ve ever run alone). After a 4 mile warm-up I picked up the pace and tried to get all miles between 8:15-8:30 for the remainder of the run, including 4 miles of torrential downpour. I even had the energy to run a 7:49 min/mile for the last mile! My average pace for 18 miles was 8:46 and it didn’t feel like I was overreaching. My legs weren’t as fatigued as they normally are after a long run.
These are the runs I love about training. They make all the bad runs worth it. This morning I had a hard run that brought back those feelings of doubt – I went back out for 8 Yasso 800s but this time I was running on an empty stomach at 5:45 a.m. My 7 min/mile pace seemed impossibly hard to maintain and I ended up averaging 3:42 for all 8 intervals (running up hill on some of them did NOT help). I know Yassos are supposed to be done on a flat track so this isn’t 100% accurate but I just didn’t feel fabulous and it was disappointing. I just kept reminding myself during them that it didn’t matter what pace was I going – as long as I was pushing hard I was making progress.
Boston qualifying races don’t happen because of one good training run just like they don’t NOT happen because of a few skipped or crappy training runs. It’s all about consistency and I know that I’ve been consistently working hard toward my goal and I know that it will happen for me! Each day I’m getting one step closer.
I’ll leave you with one more good one:
“We live in an ‘instant’ society, with instant fast food, instant diets (to lose the weight gained from the instant food), instant Internet, instant cell phones, pagers, email, and 24-hour news. That outlook sometimes filters down to running. There are, however, no instant results in running. Seeking instant success typically leads to disaster. Better to steadily put in your long runs and look for far-off improvement. In fact, if you did nothing but long runs you would improve and be more likely to stay injury free. Our sport is a patient, long, and drawn-out affair that requires, above all – more than talent, altitude, or a new pair of shoes – determination, dedication, and discipline.”
-Michael Sandrock, Running Tough
Do you tend to remember the bad runs or the good runs? What motivation do you use when you feel like you may not be making the progress you want?