Not Talking About Running Means Not Running
This week I realized a hard truth: that when I stop talking about running, when I stop reading about running, I also stop doing the whole running thing. And that gets me mad. Not the fact that if I stop reading and writing, I stop running; just the stopping running part. I like running. A lot. When I stop running, even if it’s just for a few days, it becomes hard. And of course, that’s not fun. Hard running isn’t what we run for; we run for the days that our legs fly along and we see low numbers on our Garmins. These are not those days.
Of course, spending the better part of a week locked in a training facility in Dallas didn’t help, and neither did coming back to work and trying to frantically catch up on work, and neither does the almost constant sense of exhaustion that I’m feeling these days as I spend more time in front of screens and less time sweating in luon.
But that’s not really it, is it? Because, truth be told, I’ve been busier than this. I’ve pushed myself harder. I’ve wanted to run more. Last month I was probably at least as busy, but I managed my first century month since last October. But as soon as I remove my running stimulus – my checking of my twitter feed, my reading other running blogs, my own accountability through writing here – then the drive and the urge to run ebbs away. It’s a great example of how amazing social media is in giving me a whole support / guilt outlet that keeps me moving, but how weak my will can be when left to my own devices.
Here’s my confession: marathon training is not going so hot. This time last year I had run my first 18 mile run, and was seeing regular improvements in both speed and distance. At the moment, I swear I’m getting slower, I have limited motivation, my tempo runs fill me with fear, my speed workouts are almost non-existent, and almost all my long runs have been cut short by a mile or two. This is not a winning training cycle. This is a whining training cycle.
So, what gives? The first is that I simply do not have the same level of fear of the marathon that I had last year. This is bad. Because, rationally, the marathon is a scary beast. However, it doesn’t seem to be able to scare my 5.30am ass in the same way it did last year.
The second is that my lack of improvement leads to a cycle of on motivation killing. Every missed goal doesn’t drive me to try harder; instead it makes me fear missing my goals even more. I was terrified going for my attempted 18 miles on Sunday. I didn’t make it to 18. I actually made it to 15m, and there were tears about how hard it was. It was only when I got home did I realize that 18 on Sunday with the crazy temperature and humidity that 15 was actually a decent amount. But at the end of the day, I didn’t run 18 miles, and next time I try to run 18 miles I’m going to have that cycle of doubt running through my mind all the way until I get to 18.1 miles.
The third thing that I can’t help but think that I can’t find the paper print out of my marathon training schedule, and have been working off my excel. It means that after every run I am no longer scribbling in pen and ink my times; my accountability and reward is lost.
Ok, problems identified. This week I’ll be trying to get my head back in the game and getting my run back on. Help me out with any tips you have.