Notes From a Hired Pen

Week 8: When do you not run?

3.01 miles, 29:04, 2.01 miles done at marathon pace

“I don’t want to run.”

This flashed across my brain as I walked to the post office this monring, right before I was to go home, change, and do a seven mile run with five of those miles done at marathon pace.

I’m now eight weeks into marathon training, and the only surprising thing about this is that it hasn’t come sooner. Sure, there are days that I’d rather sit on my couch with a giant mug of coffee and read, but this is the first time of this cycle that the thought rang so clear and true.

So what do you do? I take three steps to figure out whether something is tell me not to run, or if this thought is something I need to push aside and just do the damn thing.

1. Put on your running clothes. Half the time, just getting into my gear signals my body that it’s ready and time to go, and that “I don’t want to run feeling” disappears.

2. Start running. Try to push everything else aside and get going. Usually, by mile one, whatever doubts I had about running that day are gone, and I move ahead.

3. Why don’t I want to run? After I hit mile one, I still didn’t want to run, so I asked myself a series of question to figure out what might be pulling me back. Was I getting enough sleep? A solid eight hours a night, but I had been skipping my afternoon nap, which I know is essential when I’m running a lot. Still, that might not be enough of a reason to cut a run short. Was I stressed? Not at the moment, but I had been dealing with a stressful work situation for the first half of the week that involved a non-paying client to the point I got a lawyer involved. This morning, I had the very late check FedExed to me, but I know that stress doesn’t just disappear. Was I bored with running? Not really. Was I hurt? My hip’s a little tight, but nothing out of the ordinary. How have workouts been going? Well, but in not great conditions. This past weekend, I ran in temperatures that didn’t make it out of the teens. On Monday, I ran in the snow. On Tuesday, the weather flipped to warm and muggy and I had to do my speedwork on a sometimes flooded pathway with half the speed sessions done into a 30mph headwind. So I knew it was possible that because I had to work so much harder to get in my workouts for the last few days, I may be more drained that unusual now.  And the most important question: how did I feel? Beat. Tired. Drained.

I hit my first tempo mile right at my goal. On the second mile, I missed by 10 seconds. That might not sound like a lot, but I was laboring hard to even get to that point when, recently, workouts have been coming easily and I’d been running much faster than my goals provided I put in the effort.

So I stopped.

This is the first workout I haven’t completed so far in this training cycle, but I don’t feel bad about it because I tried to do it, and three miles in, shut it down because I knew, after all that, that I didn’t feel right.

Most likely I’ll bounce back tomorrow and be fine. Here’s hoping.

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