Around this time every year, I find myself in the same position:
I’m out of shape and/or recovering from a goal race (or two), which means I’m wheezing like a chain smoker, struggling to keep up with the group on the easiest of runs;
Springtime allergies add a snotty element to said wheezing;
Warmer temps that leave me a tomato-red, sweaty (literally) hot mess;
A metabolism that hasn’t quite gotten the signal that I’m running less that normal, so I’m still eating like a garbage disposal to the point where I feel like Jabba the Hutt — without running any of it off…blergh;
And frankly, I’ve got a sh***y attitude about it all.
I find it incredible that I can go from such a glorious high to God-I-actually-hate-running in the span of a month. But it happens…every year…without fail. I get frustrated, almost to the point of tears, after regular runs. Motivation is nonexistent because my training cycle for my next race hasn’t started yet. I loathe running in the heat. But what I hate even more is that I let myself fall into this pit of pissed off unhappiness. Every single year.
So during my run yesterday, I decided to — as cliché as it sounds — find the silver linings so I can start climbing out of this pit. What with my running has felt good during this recovery phase? What can I learn this time around to help make next year suck a little less?
Here’s what I came up with:
- Running alone Lately, running with the group at lunch as been demoralizing because I haven’t been able to keep up. But ditching the guys for a few solo, watch-free runs has been incredible. I can run as slow as I want and not care for a second what my pace is. The silence allows me to focus of the feeling of running and how beautiful the green trees are now that spring has finally sprung.
- Running in the rain Last week, we ran eight miles though a torrential downpour. I finished, soaked to the bone, feeling refreshed and fabulous. Just what the doctor ordered. No matter what pace or distance you’re running, you feel like a badass running through rivers of water. Not to mention rainy days are cooler. Gotta take advantage of that while the getting’s good!
- Taking the weekends off That means no running at all. Long runs have been replaced with sleeping late and making myself pancakes with strawberries, two things that rejuvenate me both mentally and physically.
- Reminding myself that I’m in recovery mode And that it’s OK to take it easy. It’s totally normal to feel like crap after a marathon, or in my case, two marathons. In one week. An occupational hazard working at RW is that almost everyone does crazy, extraordinary things with their running. Doing Boston to Big Sur is “no big deal.” But I have to tell myself that my body ran more mileage in two days that it normally does it a week and that I need to cut myself some slack. Our staff coach says that you need one day of recovery for every mile you raced. In my case, that means 54.2 days. No wonder I still feel cruddy.
- Remembering that it does get better Yes, I will get used to the heat and humidity. Yes, the pep will return to my step. And yes, I’ll likely be back on the bandwagon in exactly one month from now when Wineglass Marathon training starts.
There’s no science to prove the theory just yet, but for the past two years, my best marathons have been my fall marathons. Is it because summer running made me tough and fast? I’d like to think so. At the end of last summer, I wrote a note to my future self, saying: “This is your mantra: Summer marathon training IS worth it!”
I need to write this on, like, a million sticky notes at put it everywhere so I don’t forget it.
QUOTE OF THE POST: “Nothing is more certain than the defeat of a man who gives up.” – George Sheehan