With the completion of this week, it marks the halfway point in my training. I have 9 more weeks until my first marathon! I’m really getting excited! I sat down this weekend to reflect on my training so far and look at what I can improve on for this second half. I had to be very honest with myself, and focus on what I knew I needed to work on.
So far, I feel as if I’ve been all over the place in terms of emotions and quality of runs. I’ve had awesome runs, really bad runs, and everything in between. I’ve felt very confident in my training, but I’ve also had many doubts. I feel like I’ve done good with following my training plan and completing my runs. But, I feel like I have had a ton of obstacles stacked against me. The strong winds and the pollen count have made it impossible to breathe, and I find myself planning my outdoor runs around those factors now. Being sick for three weeks really threw me off. But, even with all of these obstacles, I know that I can do so much better. I just feel like I don’t train hard enough.
I started this training after being hurt and sidelined for six months. When I started, I was being extremely careful not to over train or overexert myself so that I would be able to complete the training without injury. However, I have not yet gotten out of that “careful” mindset. I’ve been taking it easy because I’ve been so afraid of getting hurt again. I haven’t pushed myself at all and at any sign of discomfort in my leg, I slow way down or walk. I am really beginning to be able to tell how that is affecting me. As my mileage increases, I feel as if I’m not in shape, or at least not in good shape. I wear out very quickly, and I always seem to be tired. I seem to struggle more on my long runs than I have in the past. But I know it’s because I have been in the wrong mindset.
So, for the next half of my training, I am going to work harder to improve on some things. The first is sleep. I don’t get near enough sleep. This affects my body and I hate it when I feel like I completely weighed down when I try to run. This is probably going to be the hardest one for me because Jeremy and I have very different work schedules, so it makes it hard for me to go to bed early when he’s just going to come in and wake me up. (I’m a light sleeper, I hear everything.)
The next thing I’m going to work on is my endurance. I usually run the same route, and it’s relatively flat. As much as I hate hills, I know they really help. I am going to start running harder routes, and pushing myself harder. I will still be careful to pay attention to any discomforts in my leg, but I’m not going to take it easy anymore. I’m also going to focus on doing more strength training and cross training. The only cross training that I have been doing is taking a long walk on Sundays. That’s not enough! I know the stronger I get, the better I will run.
The last thing I’m going to work on is my diet and fueling for my runs. I try to eat healthy, and watch what I eat so I don’t gain weight. But, I think this and my sleep habits go hand and hand. If I don’t eat enough, I am super tired when I run. I don’t have enough energy to last the entire run, and then I’m struggling to get it finished. I am going to make sure to meal prep for the week from now on, so that way I’m not having to grab a granola bar at lunch. I will eat better and work on fueling my body for my runs, especially the long ones. So far, I’ve been really watching what I eat all week, and then trying to eat a bigger meal the night before a long run, but that hasn’t been working. I will do better at this!
For the next half of training, I’m going to push myself harder and get stronger. I’m going to train on hilly routes and build endurance. I’m going to do this, and I want to go into that race feeling confident, not feeling that it’s going to be a battle because I struggled through most of my training runs. I think by improving on all of this, my emotions won’t be so up and down.
So, those are my reflections on how I’ve done so far. I pretty good this week with adding in some extra workouts. Here’s what my week looked like:
Monday – Rest day
Tuesday – I was supposed to run 3 miles today but I knew I would be short on time later in the week. So, I wanted to get in one of my longer runs. I had 7 scheduled for Wednesday and 4 scheduled for Thursday. I started out with the goal of doing 7, but at least had to do 4. For this run, I went to a local park. The entire course is pretty much uphill, so I knew it was going to be difficult. And, the pollen count was a little elevated, so I knew that might be a problem. Also, I hadn’t eaten much that day. I was running late and didn’t have time to pack a lunch and Jeremy got tied up and couldn’t bring me one. So, I had only eaten some toast and a granola bar and I didn’t know how long that would last.
This run was more difficult than what I have been doing. I went a lot slower so I wouldn’t get tired quickly. I really hate running hills! But, I know they help a lot, so I am going to continue doing some of my shorter runs on that course. I ended up quitting at 4.5 miles. I was out of energy, and felt really tired. I know that was from not eating enough. But I was happy with that many miles. After I got home and stretched, I did a Be Fit workout video. I did the Relax & Restore Yoga Workout.
Wednesday – I had 7 miles scheduled for today. I was excited about it all day about it because the weather was so nice. It was sunny and 68, and the wind wasn’t blowing much. But, the pollen count was really high, and I had a hard time breathing outside just walking to my car. So, this put me inside on the treadmill. I made sure to eat more today. I had a Cliff protein bar for lunch, and then before my run I ate a half of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I turned on some music and hopped on the treadmill. I was pretty bored during this run! But I got it done!
After my run, I stretched for a long time and used my foam roller. Then I did a Be Fit Pilates video and an Abs Blast video.
Thursday – I had 4 miles scheduled for today, but I had known all week that I wasn’t going to have much time, so that’s why I did them on Tuesday. Today I had about an hour once I got home from work to run and shower before I went with Jeremy to his ball games. The pollen count was still high, so I ran on the treadmill. I ran a fast 3 miles – 26:47. I have been really stressed all week, so I just zoned out and ran. It felt good to just check out from everything for a little bit, and I was really surprised at my time! Jeremy had games, and I was going so faster time gave me a few extra minutes to get ready!
Friday – Rest day – I had planned on doing a Be Fit workout video when I got home from work. But, I didn’t get off work until an hour after I was supposed to. By the time I got home, I had 15 minutes to get changed and ready to leave for Jeremy’s games.
Saturday – Today I had 10 miles scheduled. Unfortunately, my dad was sick, so I was on my own for these. But, that ended up working out for me because I probably would have had to have my mom come pick me up if I ran with him. The wind was blowing hard, and the pollen count was really high. But, I was tired of the treadmill and didn’t want to waste the sun and 70 degree weather. So, I headed out with my inhaler, but I stayed close to home just in case. I wasn’t gone for more than a couple of minutes when my chest started getting tight. I slowed down, and tried to slow my breathing, but I could not catch my breath. I made it a mile and half and had to stop and use my inhaler. Once I felt like I could breathe normally, I started again. I couldn’t breathe at all, and I struggled through 4 miles outside. I finally decided to forget that, and go in and finish on the treadmill. It took me 50 minutes to do 4 miles, that’s how bad it was! I could not breathe, and I kept having to stop or walk. So, instead of struggling through that and possibly getting sick, I went inside.
I finished up 6 miles on the treadmill pretty quickly. Once I was out of the wind, I could breathe just fine. The pollen count is supposed to go down this next week, so I will be back outside and training on hills!
Sunday – Today I some strength training, and a Be Fit workout video.
I am glad I sat down and really thought about how my training has been going so far. I know I can always improve, and I am going to do the best that I can to finish out this training strong. That way when I am at the start line, I can be confident that I did my very best and am ready for that race!