Training and Anxiety.

September 9, 2010 at 1:21 pm | Posted in And I ran (I ran so far away) | 6 Comments

One of the things I think I’ve really been working on with my half marathon training is getting better at listening to my body.

The last time I just pushed and pushed and pushed, without really understanding that every run serves a purpose – and it’s okay to change things from the training schedule because you need to.

Sometimes runs HURT. Pushing the pace hurts. Long slow runs hurt. Hills and speedwork hurts. Upping your weekly mileage hurts until you get used to it.

I’ve been very cognizant of making sure that it’s my MUSCLES that hurt and not joints. And I do confess that my knees are sensitive lately, especially with the long slow double-digit mileage runs.

But mostly it’s muscle soreness. Which I’ve been handling by just riding it out. Wearing ballet flats instead of heels at work. Stretching more often. Adjusting my training schedule so that my legs have a chance to recover with a slower run instead of the harder pacing run that was scheduled.

I admit I’m struggling with motivation to get out for my weekday morning runs. It’s DARK at 5:30am right now. I haven’t been sleeping well lately either, so I’m usually tired.

95% of the time, I get out of bed and do my run anyway. And by mile 2 I feel better, and am happy when it’s done.

Today, though?

I couldn’t do it.

I woke up tired and achy and sore. And I thought about doing my scheduled 5 mile speedwork and balked.

Then I thought about doing a nice long relaxed run and balked.

Then I thought about doing a short fast run and balked.

I ended up deciding to stay in bed and rest. I thought maybe the rest day would be good for me, given that I have a 12 miler on Saturday and I want to finish that strong.

I told myself that this was best for me, that it was GOOD that I was listening to my body.

But now, 7 hours later, I’m struggling with guilt. My legs STILL ache – it’s possible that a run would have helped lessen the lactic acid in my legs. And it’s not like I got THAT much more sleep. And I’m having some anxiety about the fact that I skipped a run.

Honestly, it’s sort of ridiculous. It’s just one run. Resting today isn’t going to kill me or my goal of finishing a half marathon near the two hour mark*.

Doesn’t mean I don’t feel some measure of guilt about it.

So I think I might just get out and do something tonight. Maybe a 3-4 miler at a good comfortable pace will help the achy legs AND my racing brain.

Or maybe I just need a good therapist.

* My initial goal was finishing the half UNDER or AT the two hour mark. I’ve made some really good strides on my pace to that end, but currently I’m comfortable at a 9:15-9:30 minute mile pace, which really isn’t fast enough to come in under two hours.

And more important to me than the TIME I finish in is that I: a) run the whole thing, and b) finish the race STRONG. So to that end, my goal has changed. Realistically I’m aiming at 2:05, but as long as I do a) and b) above, I’ll be happy with my performance.



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  1. As the obsessive crazy runner, I would say that you did the SMART thing. Sometims, your body just needs a day off to recover. You have to remember that you have been training more in the recent weeks and that if you push it when you are feeling tired, you risk injuring yourself (which I have done many, many times) and then you wouldn’t be able to run at all. Take a rest, wait until the legs feel a little better. It is a delicate balance between doing too much and doing too little. One day off is not going to kill you. I took two weeks off running before my marathon PR last year (due to overuse injury). Pat yourself on the back, you were a smart runner. Let go of the guilt. One day doesn’t matter.

  2. BTW–have you been doing any gu or gels on your longer runs? That might help with the fatigue. Our body store enough glycogen for 45 min of exercise. If you are going to be going longer than that, I would try a gu for one of your longer runs. Personally, I hate gu gels. I use Gu Chomps or jellybeans to fuel me on my 1/2 marathons. 1 pack of Gu Chomps (~200 calories) or 2 bags of sports bean (~100 cal/each) should be appropriate for that distance. Sorry about the unsolicited fueling advice.

  3. PS–you want to try this stuff out on one of your longer runs b/f race day to see how your body reacts. Some people get upset stomach. That’s why I do the Chomps or Jelly Beans. Easier for my stomach to handle.

  4. God, my grammar and spelling is horrible.

  5. God, my grammar and spelling ARE horrible. I need more caffeine.

  6. The absolute last thing you want to do right now, given how close you are, and how hard you have trained, is hurt yourself due to overtraining. Listening to your body was the RIGHT decision. I made all kinds of adjustments to the training schedule I was on last year- about the only thing I didn’t change was the long, slow distance runs on Sundays. But I would ease on distance, or cut out speedwork, whatever I felt was needed. And I still finished in 2:02:42, even with the huge blowout at km 14 when I ran out of gas (I should have packed gels or something- I learned my lesson).

    You are going to kick ass. Small changes now to the schedule are not going to make any difference to the run- unless you push too hard and end up injured. So stop beating yourself up about it. 🙂

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