Thursday, August 13, 2009

Quality Session FAIL

These longer runs in the evenings are killing me folks!

On the schedule yesterday was a 12 mile run - 5 miles easy followed by 7 miles at half marathon pace. Everything started out fine. I was back to my old trick of having to slow down during my first five miles. Nothing out of the normal there. I had a long way to go at a tough pace to follow. I hit mile 5 and stepped up the pace into the 9:30 range. Mile 6 check. Mile 7 check. Hmm. Breathing awfully hard. Slow down. Heart rate at 175. Slow down more. Mile 9 check. And then the wheels fell off the bus. All of a sudden my legs didn't want to work anymore. Shit - how am going to run a marathon if I can't even make it half way at a reasonable pace!?!?!? Final stats - 12 miles total. Last 7 at marathon pace. But that's misleading -I was fading rapidly at the end. My last mile was a swift 12:50.

I'm a little dejected today. My head is filled with doubts about a marathon. The miles and hours are turning in to drudgery. I find myself wondering if I should cut back a few miles here or a few minutes there. Sounds like it's burnout time. I'm trying my best to keep my head down and feet moving.

Then to be sure - there were several tactical mistakes made yesterday. First off, for some reason I thought that my HM pace was 9:15. Whoops! Only 30 seconds off! So, I went out too hot considering the conditions (10 mph headwind). Second were the headwinds. I really needed to ratchet things down a notch to compensate. And I can't help but think that diet (or lack thereof) is a factor here. I'm putting in a lot of miles late in the day. My diet has left a lot to be desired lately - both in quality and quantity. I've become an Otter Pop (yeah - that's right) freak lately. Hey- at 25 calories a pop they are yummy. And cold! Then, when I start thinking about quantity - I've been ravenously hungry the past few days, but I would bet that prior to my run, I may have had 1200 calories. And most of those were rice cakes with almond butter. Hardly enough to fuel my daily activity and a hard 12 mile run. And I'm definitely short in the protein department. I think I'll dust off Sparkpeople again and get back to some calorie tracking.

Enough of my rambling. What have I learned? Marathon training involves a lot more than just putting in some miles. To do this right I need to watch all my systems. Sleep. Diet. Rest.

On the plan today - 12 miles. I'm going to take it *way easy* and do a round the bay run tonight. If you see a blog entry tomorrow you'll know I finished!


  1. Just one of those runs man. It happens to ALL of us. Learn from your mistakes and keep going. Don't be so hard on yourself, that's why these are training runs.

    You WILL be doing that marathon. And you CAN do it! I got faith in you.

  2. I agree with B.o.B. This stuff happens, and it's natural to feel a little dejected at this point.

    You know the fuel is an issue -- protein is so crucial. Some quick ideas: peanut/almond butter with bananas (instead of the rice cakes), string cheese, Trader Joe's has great chicken sausages (that even I can eat) that warm up quickly. Hard-boiled eggs are also convenient and a great protein source. (I don't know if you have any food restrictions.)

  3. What is doing a Marathon right? John Wooden would say don't let the things you cannot do well, keep you from doing the things you can do well. If at this time in your life finishing 26.2 miles is a 5-6 hour event - go with it. This might being doing it right for your body a this time. For 99.9% of the world - just finishing is huge. I have a sister who runs 4-5 marathons a year. Most all finishes are around 5:40-5:50 hours. She is 53. Ten years ago she was crossing the line in 3:45 - 4:00 hour times when she first started doing them. If you enjoy running for runnings sake - who cares what the time is? Relax, and enjoy the event. Enjoy the people you meet along the way. Enjoy the example you are setting for family and friends. Enjoy the fact your body and mind are doing something amazing no matter the pace. Running is something to enjoy and savor. Relax, and just do the best you can at this time. That is doing it right.

  4. I am sorry to have been writing about Baklava. You definitely need the Kcals for those epic runs.

    Take it easy on the coming run. I have no doubt that you will rock the marathon.

    Thanks for the tip on the Garmin software.
    I definitely will check it out.

  5. Believe me I TOTALLY know what you mean, I felt the same exact way before San Diego. Hope things lighten up for you soon,just remember there is a light at the end of the tunnel. :) Hang tough, training is tough and the marathon is tough, but it's worth it! And even I thought I would never say that!

  6. Remember: they can't all be great runs and, yes, what you use for fuel and how well you sleep influence performance. If you find you can't sleep well over time, you might not just be burnt out but overtraining. Otter Pops -- haven't thought of one of those for years.

  7. My long training runs, leading up to the Jungle Run with other tweeps in July, were terrible. But I did the half in 2:07. Not stellar, but not a disaster. I wouldn't worry about it. Try to go with your body's flow.

  8. this is seriously how my runs have been lately, easy or quality. shake it off and get out there again tomorrow. some days those goal paces are seemingly impossible to hit, but don't let it get you too down. you know the next time around you'll feel better and find the splits much more friendly!

    perhaps all that quality eating (cheesesteaks, funnel cakes) has caught up to you... ;)

  9. Aw, I'm sorry you had a rough run.

  10. Hmmm....was thinking of what I could say to encourage you. You're in the middle of the race and it's always a hard place to be in you know? The beginning of anything is always fresh and exciting. Whether it's our job, marriage, parenthood, or in this case training for the marathon you've been dreaming of. So here is my motivational quote to (hopefully) inspire you...

    My motto was always to keep swinging. Whether I was in a slump or feeling badly or having trouble off the field, the only thing to do was keep swinging
    -Hank Aaron

    Keep swinging (aka running and training) Glenn. You ARE going to be crossing that finish line and I'll be cheering you on in spirit on the day that you do! Christine

  11. Glenn-

    I think you are right-- It is TOTALLY the diet in my opinion.

    I have had similar failed runs and each one is a direct result of being calorie deficient. It's all a mental thing here. You know you need to eat less calories to lose weight-- and it's beaten into your brain. Even with the running you feel the more you decrease in your diet the faster the weight will come off-- which maybe true-- but at the expense of speed and endurance on your runs.

    It all evens out-- You either eat less calories and run shorter distances (burning LESS calories) or consume more calories and run faster, harder, and longer (burning MORE calories).. IN the end you get the same result right?
    But you're training to be faster-- therefore choose the latter.

  12. Glenn- check out this guys blog "Runner Dude". It's a great blog and he talks about the same topic today on his blog in regards to eating/nutrition.

  13. Tomorrow is a new day - just keep your head up and I am sure you will have some great runs! You will run the marathon and it will be amazing!