Thursday, September 8, 2011

Training Rut

There could not possibly be a worse time of day to sit and start a new post.  But Nancy said she is having "Kate's blog withdrawal" this morning and that actually made me smile!  To be honest, I simply haven't had much down time or desire lately.  But Nancy, today you gave me a reason :)

In addition to my love of running, I also love to write.  It provides an awesome outlet for anger and sadness, but also is a great place to display great joy and happiness.  But what do you do when your thoughts and feelings are somewhere in the middle?  How do you blog about a present mundane state of mind?  Training continues, and like many I know preparing for fall marathons, I am running low on motivation and pep.  I see it in some of the runners I am coaching.... these high mileage weeks before the taper are taking their toll physically and emotionally.  Some of them are first timers and I have said "stay strong... the end is near and crossing the finish line will make all the challenges worth it...."  Taking my own advice has proven a bit harder than I expected.  I began training at the same time and have a month longer to go.  Suddenly the drive to run 50 miles is slowly dwindling.  Because I'm tired.  I want to stay in bed longer on the weekends and drink coffee.  I want to go out on Saturday night and not worry about getting up the next morning at the ass-crack of dawn to run.  I wonder if some of my runners (I'm calling them "my runners" because I have controlled their running schedules for 15 weeks... they really aren't "mine", I know) realize that their coach is right there with them.  I debated on whether or not to blog this.  After all, what happens when the motivator loses motivation?  When people say "How do you stay so positive and motivated about running?", I want to look them in the eye and say "Honestly, right now, I am not!"  No one is doing what I'm doing or even can understand the why I'm doing it.  I get a lot of "Oh you are running 50 miles?  Hmmm...sounds a little stupid if you ask me."  I have no one to commiserate with about my insecurities over whether I can do it.  I want to race one of my marathons, not just run it as a training run.  I don't even want to sign up for a gd 5k because I have no idea what kind of pace I can sustain.  I am constantly preaching the necessity of rest and recovery.  Meanwhile, my job is to learn to run on tired legs... labeling me a hypocrite.  This also makes for less than ideal feeling runs, no matter how slow the pace... which also can be a mood killer when compared to the paces I used to train at (the same paces that led me to injury.... I try to remember that too).  This type of training has no doubt, been an incredible mental challenge for me.  No one knows that (well I suppose now they do :).  I'm not after a BQ this year, but find myself beginning to fight the familiar feeling of anxiety.  This time it is over distance, rather than pace.  I pray that I can keep it in check for the duration of training and through the race.

Now the good news.... I know that these feelings are a normal part of training for a distance race.  The excitement wears thin as exhaustion and anxiety creep in.  The weeks and weeks of being slave to a training schedule get old, no matter how excited we are to begin.  The stars in our eyes envisioning what we can do become quite faded and we find ourselves questioning why in the hell we ever thought this was a good idea.  Family members get restless and feel neglected and we are in turn a bit resentful since we are actually doing all the running.  What is wrong with them?  It's not like they are getting up before Jesus and logging a ridiculous amount of miles, then going to TRX and then, for the love, going to work!  What's their problem?  They should be proud.  Instead they are as pissy and grouchy as we are.  It's all normal.  And for someone experiencing it for the first time, it's scary because you don't know how it will play out.  Well I will tell you how it plays out.  Race day comes and you run as you were trained to do.  You finish your race and you are beyond happy (at least I think that is how it's supposed to go... still hoping!).  Your family and friends shower you with congratulations.  You are amazed at what you've just done... even if it isn't the outcome you had hoped for.   The days pass and there is this warm glow and you begin to think that training wasn't so bad after all.  Then you get a little restless without a goal.  And you sign up for another race.

And the cycle continues.

Knowing all this keeps me in check when I'm feeling as I do now.  I will be fine.  And "my" runners will be too!

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