Monday, January 30, 2012

How do you admit when it's not working?

This was one of the many thoughts swirling around in my brain as I completed my 10 miles yesterday. 2 weeks until Mercedes and not at all confident that I will hit my sub-2:15 goal. Feeling that while overall, I know my fitness continues to improve and I am able to withstand tougher and longer workouts, I am still nowhere near where I need to be to hit my goal(s).

It's no secret I have been struggling and struggling with my training plan pretty much since its inception. I used my 5K race time in December (which took place after I had cooled down from the peak of my marathon training benefit and recovery) as a gauge to set my tempos...but holy crap, nearly every single run left me sore, zapped and doubtful.

Workouts that I would normally welcome as a challenge had me physically and mentally defeated. There were a couple of times I skipped running altogether because I was too sore and tired to even attempt what I had put on deck for myself. And I couldn't even get in "junk miles" because I was too sore and tired to even run with proper form. Matt pointed out to me that my phrase of "I'm not usually in so much pain" was becoming almost a daily utterance...thus I was actually walking around in pain for much of the last month. And when he pointed that out, I realized that he might actually be right.

So, FINALLY last Monday I had the courage...yes, admit that this plan was NOT working for me. 3 weeks to go until my "A" race and I was abandoning ship.

No...not giving up my race...not even totally giving up on my time goal...but giving myself permission to stray from this plan that I was imposing on myself. I laced up my shoes, headed out in my neighborhood for a blissful UNTIMED 3.1 mile run (about 3 miles short of "the plan" and who knows how far off on pace) and was the best and most freeing run I had done in weeks.

As "type A" as I am (and I'm sure many of you are the same way), it was really hard to "quit" something or admit "defeat". Though I am trying not to look at it that way...I am trying to tell myself that I am listening to my body and my heart. Burning myself out or getting injured wouldn't be any good and I'm pretty sure I was on the express train with a stop at one of those two destinations.

Bottom line: If a training plan is leaving you unhappy, constantly in pain, dreading your workouts and generally zapping the enjoyment out of the sport, it's probably time to reassess why you're following that plan to begin with. AND...if you change your mind or direction,  it's OK because hopefully there is a lifetime of running (or whatever) ahead of you and you can try again another time.

Now here I am, less than 2 weeks from my goal race...soaking in the energy of my friends who are tackling the distance for the first time...planning fun costumes with my relay team...looking forward to going for a run tonight after work. I know in my heart that I've made the right here's to hoping I'm not going to end up with a PW either ;)

How do you deal with altering goals when you training plan isn't working for you? Or do you just plow through and accept the misery?


  1. Ugh! That plans sounds like it was miserable! I am not even sure we can say you quit - we should not give the plan the credit and say that anyone should have started it!

    I have never had a plan that left me feeling that way. I hope I would stop, like you have.

    I hope you have fun at the HM!!! :)

  2. it's really hard to admit it because we have put in soooo much effort, but what i've often found is backing off and deciding to just enjoy it can lead to a really great race